Saturday, 26 December 2015


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Young Mozart was only sixteen when he completed
Lucio Silla. It received a fair amount of success,
however his opera 'seria', "Mitridate, re di Ponto
which had also premiered in the same Teatro Regio 
Ducal two years earlier, when Mozart was only 
fourteen, was a ravishing triumph for the pubescent 
composer with an impressive twenty one stagings
and continues to see far more modern productions 

than the seldom-staged Lucio Silla.
In keeping with the Month of Mozart theme on
and in celebration of Coloratura diva Edita Gruberová's 69th birthday this past week, I have selected as aria of the month "Ah se il crudel periglio" from Mozart's early opera "Lucio Silla" that first premiered in Milan at the Teatro Regio Ducal exactly 243 years ago today on December 26, 1772.

While Mozart's opera seria Mitridate, re di Ponto had premiered to greater success, also on this 26th day of December, and also at the Teatro Regio Ducal just two years prior to Lucio Silla, this bel-canto styled treatise on the fickle heart and iron fist of Roman Dictator Lucius Cornelius "Sulla" (or "Silla") Felix (c. 138 - 78BC), featured stratospherically acrobatic coloratura arias for soprano that would make Mozart's later infamously trill-infused aria for soprano Martern Aller Arten from his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail look and feel like a walk in the park (and if you are familiar with the piece, that is no mean feat!)

Lucius Sulla ( or "Lucio Silla" [it.] )
In this video's scene (at the beginning of the second act), we hear the character of Giunia, daughter of the murdered Roman hero Gaius Marius and unrequited love interest of dictator "Silla" beg Cinna, the close friend of her inammorata Cecilio (an exiled senator) for protection from the murderous tyranny of the spurned and jealous Silla. Giunia was at a loss as to how to eliminate the romantic protestations of the obsessively enamored dictator and remain loyal in heart to her beloved Cecilio. She had already learned from Cinna of Silla's instance on a marital union between them, in spite of how she felt. Cinna suggests as a solution a devious coup: marry the persistent ruler, and then murder him from the privacy of their wedding bed. Giunia, not wanting to upset the gods, refuses, and appeals to Cinna for his protection instead.

In this video, one can hear the desperation, fear, and justifiable rage of the despaired Giunia through the remarkably agile vocal prowess of "Queen of Bel-Canto" Edita Gruberová:

and just for fun, Gruberová's rendition of "Martern Aller Arten" from Mozart's
Die Entführung aus dem Serail which first premiered in July of 1782 in Vienna:

For more articles on this month's birthday girl, click HERE.

To peruse the Month of Mozart articles, and for more features on other composers, conductors, musicians and related artists of the world of Classical Music and Opera, check out the links, images and lists on the right side panel. (the Month of Mozart posts can be found in the December archives).


Friday, 25 December 2015


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December 1787: Mozart receives the aristocratic privilege of “Court Composer” to Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II: The real story of the Emperor, Salieri and Wolfgang Mozart

Fans of the epic film and writer Peter Shaffer’s masterpiece “Amadeus” will be familiar with the character of Antonio Salieri.

In the film, Salieri is cast as a deeply jealous and envious musical rival of Mozart - possessive character traits that only serve to underscore an incessant need to be the Emperors favorite, a goal he attempts to accomplish (often in vain) through a series of deviously underhanded coups d’etat against a gifted young ‘harpsichordist’ (as Mozart was then known in Vienna), whose talent so obviously superseded his own.

The real Salieri is less devious, the real story less scandalous, and the events that culminated in his appointment as teacher to Princess Elisabeth (and later Conductor to the Italian Opera) the result, not of expertly executed manipulations behind the scenes, but rather of a series of matters of circumstance and noble connections within Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II’s  royal sphere.

Although Shaffer’s original play makes it clear
that Salieri did not murder Mozart, director Miloš
Foreman wanted to go in a different direction with
the script, drawing on ‘confessions’ (later recanted
and proven false) by an elderly and insane Salieri,
who claimed to have poisoned the composer, from
inside of his cell in an ‘Insane Asylum’ in 1823.
Even after this was dismissed both by witness
accounts and by Salieri himself, the idea of a jealousy
inspired kill proved so salaciously popular even
Alexender Pushkin wrote a play using this theme
which he had published in 1830.
(..and for the record, Salieri not only had nothing to do with the death of Mozart, the then-middle-aged composer was nowhere near the ailing Wolfgang in his final hours: the illustrious Requiem Mass in D minor was in part dictated to, and later finished by an altogether different composer: one Franz Xaver Süssmayr). It was he who was at the dying composer's bedside. 

In “Amadeus”, we see a frustrated Mozart being used as a pawn through a series of angst-fuelled orchestrations devised by Salieri to thwart the young composer from receiving several critical appointments of note - in one instance, blocking the efforts of Constanze, Mozart’s wife, who is sexually manipulated by the scandalous Salieri - from influencing the Emperor’s decision to cast the best available vocal coach for his visiting niece, Princess Elisabeth. Constanze had Mozart in mind for the post, as did Mozart himself.

After Mrs. Mozart arrives with several works-in-progress of her husband Mozart, the envious and devious minded Salieri immediately brews up a series of defamatory incriminations so foul the Emperor would not only see fit to secure for the post an inadequate vocal coach in the form of one Herr Zimmer, Salieri chose to go the full nine yards, and attempted to discredit the person and character of Mozart himself, accusing him
before the Emperor of having molested one of his own pupils (a Maria Theresa Paradis).

As it was portrayed in the film, it was in fact Salieri, not Wolfgang, who was mixed up in such carnal sin: overcome by the sheer beauty of the Kyrie from Mozart's Mass in C Minor,* Salieri, brewing over the unfinished compositions - all originals - provided to him by a desperate Constanze, is shown in a state of mixed reverie and primitive outrage at the "God"-like talent of his musical nemesis, that he immediately proceeds to extort the young bride Mozart by ensuring her husband the post in exchange for carnal delights. 

In reality, the prospect of the Royal post was first brought to the attention of Mozart by one Maximilian Francis, Archduke of Austria (younger brother of Emperor Joseph II), who had arrived at the Imperial Court in the late fall of 1781 alongside Princess Elizabeth, wife of Duke Karl Eugen of Württemberg, both of whom had been on a visit to the Court since mid-November of that year to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Archduke Francis and his intended bride-to-be).

Archduke Maximilian Francis tried hard to gain
Mozart an appointment with Princess Elisabeth.
The Archduke Francis (“Franz”) had fully expected to become Elector of Cologne, and had promised the position of Kapellmeister to an ever hopeful Mozart, even going as far to give the stalwart composer a notice of confirmation: a consent from the Princess herself, when the Emperor unexpectedly appointed Salieri to the position instead. The reasons for this turn-around were less than back-biting: even at this stage of Mozart’s career as a gifted composer who had already taken Italy by storm, most of the Imperial household, and indeed Vienna itself, knew of Wolfgang only as a virtuosic prodigy on the harpsichord,** who could outwit, and out play even the best contenders on the keyboard, and a former child prodigy whose compositions for the instrument and variations on the works of other prolific musicians left all of Salzburg riveted..but he was not known to Vienna or the Emperor as a vocal composer. Mozart had wished to establish himself not only as the keyboard prodigy Vienna knew him to be, but also as a fully capable and irrepressible mentor and vocal coach to the young Princess. This was not to be for the hopeful musician.

**(this would, however, begin to change following the premiere of Wolfgang Mozart’s opera ‘singspiel’ Die Entführung aus dem Serail in mid-July the following year in 1782. The opera was a success with the Viennese public from a critical perspective, however it’s contract did not not allow for any form of residuals from further performances, and as such, did not bring Mozart the financial return he had so hoped for in the long run. It was during this period in which Mozart would succumb to gambling and entertaining excess in a desperate attempt to secure for his budding family financial stability, and likely, as a means to an outlet in which he could work off the frustrations of not being recognized by Joseph II with a nomination for a musical position within the Imperial Court itself. 

Wolfgang fully expected to see substantial monetary gain as his fame began to grow within Viennese musical circles, however this was not happening at the rate he had envisioned - and in 18th Century Vienna, it was almost impossible for a musician to make for himself a comfortable living without securing a steady court post. Mozart would not premiere another major operatic work in Vienna until four years later, with the 1786 production of Le Nozze di Figaro). 

Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II would finally
relent to Mozart, nominating him Court 

Composer following the death of Gluck in 1787
In reality, Wolfgang’s abilities in all arenas, astonishingly, would not be recognized in the way Mozart felt they should be received amongst the Imperial court until much later, in December of 1787, when Mozart finally obtained a steady post as ‘chamber composer’ under the aristocratic patronage of Emperor Joseph II, following the death of Wolfgang’s predecessor to the post, early-classical composer Christoph Gluck. There was a bit of deviousness in play here - but it’s antagonist was not that of Antonio Salieri, but rather of the Emperor himself, who was later proved through court documents to have relented to Mozart his wish for court appointment only to keep the young composer contractually bound to him and to Vienna. It seems Joseph II had royal coffers to fill at the expense of the then flourishing composer.

Salieri’s role in the events of 1781, by all accounts, was at best marginal, and in fairness, that of the politics and slower pace of the era and Imperial Court itself. The passing over of Mozart for Salieri in the role of royal maestro can arguably be viewed as the common sense of the reigning Holy Roman Emperor. Joseph II had known Salieri since his pubescent years, when he had first arrived to the royal court at the tender age of 15 alongside Bohemian opera composer (and teacher to Antonio) Florian Gassman in 1766, who would introduce the budding musician to Christoph Willibald Gluck, who was later to become Salieri’s mentor.

It was through the death of Gluck
that Mozart would receive the
former's post as 'Court Composer'
to Joseph II. Both Salieri and
Mozart were much influenced
by this early-classical period
composer and tutor.
During his stay at the Imperial Court, Salieri accepted invitations to perform in chamber music sessions with Joseph II himself, leading to an eventual appointment as court composer and later Conductor to the Italian Opera in 1774. Mozart may have been recommended by the genial Archduke, but Salieri had been recommended by Gassmann, a noted composer and long-time friend of Joseph, and much respected by the Emperor. There could be no accusations of nepotism at play here: it seems the Emperor preferred the opinion of his confidante over that of his younger brother.

It was these factors, and not a devious coup, that ultimately culminated in the 'logical choice' of selecting as maestro to the young Princess Elisabeth, the composer with the most intimately known compositional and vocal coaching history available to the Emperor - and that man, at that time - was Antonio Salieri.

The accreditation Mozart so much sought in Salzburg moved at a snail’s pace, and was a far cry from the response he had experienced during his time in Italy. Despite the slower transmission of gossip in Vienna, however, it would soon be almost impossible to ignore the events that had already commenced in Italy in 1771, when a young Mozart, alongside his father Leopold, began a tour of Il Pease that would take the country by storm and would reverberate throughout Europe and secure for himself the post of chamber composer to Joseph II. No matter what the Emperor’s motives, it was inevitable that Mozart would finally receive his dues back in Salzburg as the "Logical Choice”.

It certainly took Joseph II long enough!

The famous "Miraculous" Scene from director Milos Foreman's "Amadeus":

In this scene, a pensive Antonio Salieri thumbs through several incomplete Mozart compositions, overcome by a state of intoxicating reverie. He (rightfully so) crumbles like a leaf when he happens upon the Kyrie

*(In reality, the Mass in C Minor, K. 427 to which the Kyrie belongs was not composed until one year after Mozart applied 
for the post of Vocal coach to the Princess, in 1782, and the Kyrie itself was not completed until two years post-application, 
in 1783). There is evidence to this effect in the form of letters that survive, written by Wolfgang to his father in early January of 1783, in which he describes the state of the composition "...the score of half a mass which is still lying here waiting to be finished..." It would not premiere until late October of 1783 at St. Peter's Church in Salzburg. It was during this period when Mozart would wed Constanze, in August of 1782 - she would celebrate her newfound status as Mrs. Mozart by appearing as a guest soprano for the Mass.


Tuesday, 15 December 2015


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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
On December 12, 1769, a pubescent Wolfgang Mozart, accompanied by his father, Leopold, would begin the virtuoso’s - no longer a wunderkind but soon to be made a Knight - premier tour of Italy, in a series of concert excursions that would not consummate until fifteen months later, in late March of 1771.

It would be a time of high praise and both personal and professional achievement for the young composer extraordinaire - one that would see him lauded as a “True Orpheus” in Verona, a “Little Maestro” in Milan; made an exclusive member of the Magestri Compositores of the highly prized Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, and, most impressively, presented with an Order of Knight of the Golden Spur by Pope Clement XIV himself - all of this, at the age of fourteen!

This would also mark the period in which Mozart first heard composer Gregorio Allegri’s Magnum Opus, 'Miserere Mei Deus' -  a highly ornamented setting to voce of the 51st Psalm and one which would go on to mark the commencement of Ash Wednesday. In fact, had it not been for the intuitive skill of this musical savant, the world may never have come to know the exquisite high C’s* and sublime crescendos and diminuendos employed by this choral masterpiece as we know it today.

Gregorio Allegri's transplendent "Miserere Mei Deus" featuring the celebrated "Top C" sung here by treble Ian Barter. Director
Stephen Cleobury leads King's College Chapel Choir, Cambridge. *The Top C was actually a deliciously fruitful error made by
a copyist in the late nineteenth century.  It is said to have been in G minor
in the original transcription, although even this has 
been widely debated.

It was at a Wednesday Tenebrae Service at the Sistine Chapel in Italy when fourteen year old Wolfgang first heard the highly cryptic and ornamentally-lush choral work (whilst visiting the St. Peter's Basilica with his father Leopold in Rome)**. Immediately succumbing to it’s enrapturing beauty, the young composer rushed home to pen the entire piece wholly from memory. He would return to the chapel for an encore performance two days later (on Good Friday) with his score tucked underneath his hat, whereupon he made what are believed to be only minor corrections to his transcription. So near-exact was his dictation, Mozart would find himself both honored and immortalized for his efforts.

This is of special significance, since it can be argued that the young Mozart penned the master work in spite of the secrecy surrounding the abellimenti of the piece and it's exclusivity only to the Catholic Church - and perhaps, even in a boastful and self-congratulatory spirit.

A young Mozart plays the harpsichord, age 14. 1770, Verona,
Italy by Saverio Dalla Rosa.
Three months after transcribing the Miserere, Wolfgang Mozart found himself being summoned before the Pope. Fearing excommunication for exposing such a highly guarded secret of the Church, Mozart was astonished when exhalations of praise were heaped upon him by Pope Clement XIV, and dumbfounded when he was awarded Knighthood by the Same. Mozart’s transcription would later be obtained by a publisher in London during the course of his tour of the Italian states, finding further distinction in many later composers of note (Mendelssohn, Liszt, among others), who would also transcribe the piece in the following century, effectively lifting for good the ban on the work, allowing it to prosper it’s way to infamy. It is considered today to be one of the finest biblical psalms ever set to music, and for that, we have Mozart to thank, regardless of his motivating factors surrounding the piece.

** This event was later duly recorded by Mozart Patriarch, Leopold, in the form of a letter written in April of 1770 to his wife during his stay with his prodigal son in Rome:

"…You have often heard of the famous Miserere in Rome, which is so greatly prized that the performers are forbidden on pain of excommunication to take away a single part of it, copy it or to give it to anyone. But we have it already. Wolfgang has written it down and we would have sent it to Salzburg in this letter, if it were not necessary for us to be there to perform it. But the manner of performance contributes more to its effect than the composition itself. Moreover, as it is one of the secrets of Rome, we do not wish to let it fall into other hands…"  - Leopold Mozart

During this period of both concert performances and composition (Mozart would compose the opera, 'Mitridate, re di Ponto' while in Milan where it was well received, and he would later re-visit the city following his return to Salzburg in late March of 1771, composing the solo motet ‘Exultate, Jubilate’ while in the capital of Lombardy attending the Milanese premieres of his operas 'Lucio Silla' and, formerly, 'Ascanio in Alba'), Wolfgang's time with his father in Il Bel Pease would see Mozart making connections with many noble houses of Italy, visiting with his father some forty towns including Mantua, Milan, Florence and Naples.

This was to be only the beginning for this ingenious and enigmatic Classical Icon.

Mozart's motet 'Exultate, Jubilate' as sung by Māori Soprano Dame Kiri te Kanawa, and Mozart's aria for
soprano 'Al destin, che la Minaccia' from the epic 'Mitridate, Re di Ponto', as sung here by soprano
Arleen Auger, whose virtuosic use of coloratura is especially thrilling.

Read More on Mozart in my December Archives: December is the Month of Mozart!

 I created this timeline to showcase highlights from this period (click to enlarge).
 Mozart took a brief hiatus to Salzburg from March 28th - August 13th. *A note on
1770/71 are combined, as most pivotal events occurred in that yearspan.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015


This is partly true, but must be placed into context as to the role of a musician at the time Mozart lived. The age of glorification of the musical artist, unfortunately, had not yet dawned in Europe. Musicians, in this case, Composers - were seen not so much as entertainers of luxury, but rather as servants. It was remarkably difficult to secure a steady income or wealth as a composer, even in the 18th century, without securing an appointment, preferably a court appointment,** and even then, it had to promise a salary, a pension - in addition to fulfilling private commissions, subscriptions, and concerts the composer could only hope would yield a healthy lot of performances.

Mozart, all too aware of his genius, suffered the unfortunate syndrome of egoistic-driven self sustainability - a determined desire to go it alone, aspiring to create for himself an ‘empire’ of wealth built on the latter, ensuring the bulk of the proceeds drawn from subscriptions went directly to him in lieu of his publisher. While this strategy may make sense to us today, 18th century Europe was not quite ready for such a deviation from the status quo.  

**Compare the composers Georg Friedrich Händel, who secured for himself Court appointment, and at the time of death in April of 1759 was estimated to have been worth £20, 000 (a sizable sum for that period) with the also noted and esteemed Composer W.F. Bach, who died in abject poverty in July of 1784.

Critically, Mozart enjoyed periods of great esteem and praise. In Vienna (July, 1782), the composer launched his first production of Die Entführung aus Dem Serail* - it was a ravishing triumph, and went on to become the greatest success of the young composer’s career. (Despite what the film “Amadeus” would have us believe).  

*This Opera Singspiel would later attract the praise of the literary elite in Goethe.

Italy was also a great time of flourishment and accreditation for Mozart, who, within in two years earned himself an elected spot at the Accedemia Filharmonica of Bologna; was nominated an honorary director to the Accedemia of Verona; commissioned to write another opera for Milan (Lucio Silla); his serenata Ascanio in Alba commissioned for the wedding of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria to Princess Maria Beatrice D’Este of Modeana in Milan; and the distinction of Knight of the Golden Spur, bestowed upon him by Cardinal Pallavicini - a distinction of particular note, as no other but one (a musician, Orlando di Lasso) had previously received the order in such a high grade. This distinction brought Mozart a meeting before, and esteem from, the Pope.

Mozart’s time in Italy also marked the period behind the infamous Sistine Chapel anecdote of a young Wolfgang, who, overcome with a state of prodigal reverie upon hearing Composer Gregorio Allegri’s exquisite “Miserere Mei Deus” (a composition whose ornaments were notoriously kept a guarded secret among the Catholic Church), rushed home to pen the choral masterpiece from memory.

Mozart wears the Insignia of a Knight of the Golden Spur.

The years prior to Mozart’s death were arguably some of the most productive years of the composers’ short life. They also brought with them much critical acclaim. One of Mozart’s last Operas, Le Nozze de Figaro, was noted for it’s splendor:

“ contains so many beautiful things, and such a wealth of ideas, as can only be drawn from the source of inherent genius.” - Wiener Realzeitung, 1786

Publicly praised by esteemed composers (the likes of Franz Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven) and their teachers alike, Mozart was anything but ordinary.

“Salieri listened and watched with great attention, from the overture all the way through to the final chorus, there was not a single number that did not elicit from him a “bravo” or “bello...” - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in his last letter to his wife, Vienna, Oct 14, 1791 .****


****A note on suggested reading:

I have studied and own quite a few biographies on Herr Mozart and will be posting the titles in my library on an upcoming Book Review section of this blog. In the interim, for anyone seeking an in depth look into the character of the great Composer, I highly recommend "Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life," as edited by Robert Spaethling as a contemporary/autobiographical account of aspirations, accomplishments and failings both inside and outside of the musical sphere in which Mozart lived. To supplement any Mozart biography, "The Compleat Mozart: A Guide to the Musical Works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart" as edited by Neal Zaslaw is a must have. 

Monday, 7 December 2015


Unfinished Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Joseph Lange, c. 1782
Contemporaries in Mozart's inner circle claim this portrait to
be the closest likeness of the late Composer.
Ah, the ever elusive Requiem. 

It is strongly suggested that Mozart only wrote, at least in his own hand, the first 8 bars of the Lacrimosa. Many scholars of this period note slight variations after this point, and it is believed that Mozart contemporary and fellow composer and pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed it. 

(Conductor Christoph Spering's "original", alleged "unfinished" version of the Requiem, without the Süssmayer additions, can be heard on youtube here.

In a biography sold shortly after his very tender-aged demise by his wife, Constanze Mozart goes as far as to state that the 8 bars of the Lacrimosa were the “last acts” of the dying Virtuoso.* This, however, is to be taken with some circumspection - the Widow Mozart was left largely in debt following the passing of her husband, and needed some means to support her new found status as such. It has been suggested that in order to enjoy fiscal freedom, both the authorship of the Requiem and it’s incomplete status was kept a closely guarded secret, as revealing any hint of inauthenticity or incompletion would drastically effect her from receiving both the commission for the work (believed to be from one Count Walsegg) and from receiving the top dollar from the public and various publishers who believed they were experiencing the rare occasion of immersing themselves in the ethereal sound of a man who was said to occupy a “direct ear to God”. It is also of interest to note that the Widow Mozart did, indeed go on to secure for herself substantial wealth following Mozart’s death, largely attributed to the careful selection and presentation of concerts and published works of her late husband, even earning herself a pension from the Emperor.  

*Contrast this statement with that of her sister, Sofie, who also was at the dying composers’ bedside: “...The last thing he did was to try and mouth the drum passages in the Requiem. I can still hear that.”



 Tom Hulce as Mozart in Milos Foreman's "Amadeus"

Aside from the obvious liberties taken in the creating of that otherwise sublime film (Salieri’s involvement with Mozart and his Oeuvre), many viewers ostensibly took issue with writer Peter Shaffer's rather rococo depiction of Mozart’s character - with critics claiming he was inaccurately portrayed as a buffoon with crude humor. In fact, this facet of the Composer’s demeanor was actually true! A not insignificant amount of letters, written by Wolfgang Mozart and by the Mozart family were kept preserved by the composers father, Leopold. Originally published circa 1962 in a whopping seven volumes, they display a humor at best scatological, at worst, inappropriately suggestive and filled to the brim with exquisite word play (word reversals, and my personal favorite (as a budding yet amateur translator of libretti myself) - mixing the romance languages together in one letter). This humor, including, surprisingly, the scatological humor, was shared by other members of the Mozart family, including Wolfgang’s mother!
Take, for example, this excerpt from “Mozart’s Letters, Mozart’s Life”, as translated by Robert Spaethling (written by the composer while in Manheim to his cousin, Maria Anna Thekla Mozart back in Augsburg, dated 5th of November, 1777) - and bear in mind, this is the TAME stuff! (*Note the letters to his mother, and some additional letters written in the same vein to his cousin I have not included here due to their graphic nature. I am quoting this otherwise tame example in the interest of ‘decency’).

...Now I must relate to you a sad story that happened just this minute. As I am in the middle of my best writing, I hear a noise in the street. I start writing - get up, go to the window - and - the noise is gone - I sit down again, start writing once more-I have barely written words when I hear the noise again - I rise - but as I rise, I can hear something but very faint - it smells like something burning - wherever I go it stinks, when I look out the window, the smell goes away, when I turn my head back to the room, the smell comes back - finally, My Mama says to me: I bet you let one go? - I don’t think so, Mama. yes, yes, I’m quite certain. I put it to the test, stick my finger in my *** then put it to my nose, and-Ecce Provatum est! Mama was right! Now farewell, I kiss you 10000 times and I remain as always your
old young Sauschwanz,
Wolfgang Amadé Rosenkranz

From us two Travellers a thousand
Regards to my uncle and aunt.

To every good friend I send
My greet feet; addio nitwit...

For more "Amadeus" myth busting, click here. 

Did you know?

Rock n' roll legend Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones auditioned for the role of Mozart in Miloš Forman's masterpiece Amadeus?*

In an add-on documentary to the DVD release of the film, titled "The Making of Amadeus," the celebrated director admits taking in the rehearsals of several famous applicants (out of some 1400+ total), many of them vying for the coveted role.

In the video's backdrop (seen at 8:56 in the clip below), the film's official shooting log is overlaid onto the screen. Jagger's name appears twice, under “rehearsals” for the role of Mozart – describing the hopeful 'actor' as having read in his audition the character's lines on pages 68-70 of the official transcript.

Mention of the failed audition made the pages of Rolling Stone magazine that same year, shortly after Jagger lost out on the part to American actor Tom Hulce. That interview can be read in its entirety here.

Speaking to the interviewer of the Amadeus documentary, Forman admitted:

 “ I don't want to see known faces - we don't need stars, we don't need big names - we have Mozart and his music." 


*Interestingly enough, the role of Mozart was not Jagger's first associated attempt at realising on the silver screen the life and exploits of a western classical music icon - his name floated among executives filming the 1975 Franz Liszt surrealist/quasi-biopic "Lisztomania," directed by English filmmaker Ken Russell. The role eventually went to vocalist Roger Daltrey of the Who. 

Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine following his rejection for the role of Mozart, Jagger quipped: “You have to have your nose to the ground for what parts are going around the major studios, which are very few. They’re mostly written with some guy in mind, and you only get the part if he gets ill or something." 




1756 - 5th December, 1791, 12.55 AM, Vienna.
December 5, 2015 marks the 224th annual observance of the passing of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In the premature hours of the morning in 1791 Vienna, the world lost a talent never seen before or since - a one time wunderkind-turned-virtuoso who forever changed the course and sound of classical music. He may have existed more often than not, a pauper, but in terms of the legacy he left in the annals of music history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived and died a King.

"I went into the kitchen; the fire had gone out. I had to light a candle and make a fire. I was thinking of Mozart constantly. The coffee was ready and the candle was still burning...I stared right at it and I thought to myself, 'I wonder how Mozart is?' and while I was thinking this and staring at the candle, it went out, as if it had never been alight.."

- Sofie, sister of Mozart's wife, Constanze, in the hours leading up to the composer's impending death.