Sunday, 7 April 2013

Amadeus

Peter Shaffer is a genius who wrote about another genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which was made into film by Miloš Forman, Amadeus (1984).

I'm watching the film right now (I've seen it a couple of times). What dialogue, what music, what story-telling, what acting. It is told from the point of view of the court composer, Antonio Salieri, who sees in Mozart divine inspiration, true genius, but is struggling with his own issues of pride, envy and perplexity why God (and his Signore (Jesus)) would choose such a vulgar and boisterous vessel who, in his view, is unbecoming of such a supernal talent and blessedness. He has Jesus on the cross on his wall and thanks Him after he composes music, and at some point in the movie, in the heat of the moment, says he no longer believes and throws the cross in the fire.

The film starts out with Salieri confessing to a young priest who asks if it's really true that he (Salieri) killed Mozart (I won't spoil it for anyone). The dialogues that speak of the music are a pure delight and make the music come even more alive, exquisite, just like what Gould does in his CBC broadcasts when he talks about and explains what he's playing. This may not sound like much but for someone as obsessed as I am about structural dynamics and first principles it is pure heaven.

There is a scene in which Mozart's wife brings Salieri Mozart's music in an attempt to convince the court composer that Mozart deserves the post to teach the princess music. There is an imparting of something august, sublime in what Salieri is holding in his hands made the more impactful in contrast to the demeanor of the young wife who seems only to know there is something special about Mozart because people say he is. Overcome by the music that he hears in his head, Salieri lets slip the sheets.

You know when you see architecture, art, hear music, see a masterpiece, you just know...it's like that.

Jay

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