Sunday, December 25, 2011

Amadeus

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Review of Amadeus


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been known as one of the greatest music composer of the history. He was born in 1756 in Salzburg. In early ages, he mastered different kind of musical instruments and even wrote his own music. At the age of four he wrote his first concerto, at the age seven his first symphony, and at the age twelve a full scale opera. His music has remained popular even in these days. Automobile, detergent and many other industries are using Mozart’s music to advertise their products. Many different TV channels are naming their shows on Mozart’s name. Peter Shaffers play Amadeus explores Mozarts eccentric and controversial life through the eyes of Antonio Salieri, a composer to the Austrian court. Based on it, in 184, Milos Forman directed a movie which was too named Amadeus.


The movie starts with Salieri blaming him for killing Mozart in some room. Salieri slashes his throat while confessing (perhaps to the god) in the room like a crazy man, so his servants send him to a hospital and later he is sent to asylum where he confesses to a priest who had came to help him, and tells him about Mozart. Salieri starts by playing one of the melodies he wrote earlier in his life, asking the priest to recognize it, but the priest fails. He even plays one of his favorite opera music written by him on a piano, which is very sweet but priest still fails to recognize it. He then plays Mozart’s “A Little Night Music.” The priest recognizes that melody. Salieri suffers from the fact that people are forgetting his music.


Salieri has known Mozart since he was a kid. He always prayed god to make him a great composer just like Mozart. He offered god his life in return if god fulfilled his wish. Salieri’s wish comes true when he moves to Vienna and become a court composer of the musical king Joseph II. While Salieri is enjoying his life, Mozart decides to go to Vienna and give his concerts. He comes to the resident of Archbishop of Salzburg, where Salieri goes to listen to Mozart’s music. After listening Mozart’s music, Salieri realizes that God had tricked him. Mozart was the person God chose to compose divine music of him (god). In his music Mozart chooses Cello, Baritone Saxophone, French horn, Basset horns, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon. It looked very simple in the beginning to Salieri, but it got very extra ordinary in the end. The orchestra music was named Idomeneo King of Crete. Some other people from the court room of Emperor Joseph II also heard that music, and they praised Mozart in front of Joseph II, so he invites Mozart to perform an opera in national theatre of Vienna.


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Mozart rebels against his domineering, puritanical father by leaving the service of his patron, the Archbishop of Salzburg. He takes commission to write an opera for Emperor Joseph II. The opera is set in Harem in Turkey. In the first part a lady sings a solo melody with supportive background music mostly of violins, bassoon, timpani, trumpet and trombone. The solo song is about a woman in Harem who wants to be free. She believes the only way for freedom is death. Then in the last part, many men and women sing song about Pasha Salem. They hope for glory and joy to his name. Though movie doesn’t show the entire opera, whatever is shown makes sense. The music is quiet amusing. In the end, Emperor Joseph II praises Mozart’s opera. Emperor also tries to make suggestion to “cut a few notes” and he gets confuse when Mozart asks, “which notes should I cut” that shows emperor didn’t have any sense in music.


Mozart prefers to continue staying in the Vienna, the city of music afterwards, and marries Constance, an uneducated woman. He doesn’t teach musical instruments to anybody. He only likes to write down opera and music on big basis, so he runs out of money soon. In one occasion, he was chose to teach piano to the niece of the Emperor, but he was asked to submit some of his music sample to royal music committee. Mozart refuses to do that because he felt that the people on the committee where too dumb to evaluate his music. Knowing that his husband is not practical, Constance takes some of Mozart’s music to Salieri asking him to favor Mozart to Emperor for a job to teach his niece, but the original copy of truly beautiful music without any corrections makes Salieri jealous of Mozart, and he becomes enemy of Mozart. Wolfgang’s financial condition keeps getting worse. His father, Leopold, suddenly visits Wolfgang’s place and asks him to go with him back to Salzburg, but he refuses, so Leopold leaves without him.


Wolfgang next composes an opera based on The Marriage of Figaro. The act was forbidden in Vienna, but he convinces the Emperor that it was different. The act was shown from the third part that started with ballet. Ballet performers were wearing yellow cloths, and the music sounded very much a like normal ballet music that I am familiar with. In almost all part the melody was based on violins with little support from Brass instruments. The forth play was a story about a husband and wife where wife disguises herself as a maid. Husband offer her most tender words because he is unaware that the woman he is talking to is her wife. The back ground music was quiet low. Very softly some woodwind instruments were playing background music. It sounded comforting music.


After some time, Wolfgang’s father dies. Following the death of his father, Mozart is haunted by images of him � one of which appears in his next opera Don Giovanni. He summons his own father from dead who accuses him in front of all people. The music makes us feel the trouble Mozart was in because of the quarrel with his father. After listening to Don Giovanni, Salieri, wearing costume similar to Wolfgang’s father, goes to Wolfgang’s place and offers him a commission to write The Mass for the Dead. Wolfgang does not work on it for a long time. He starts working for private play houses. During this time, his health keeps getting worst. At the end, he takes Salieri’s help to finish The Mass for the Dead, when Salieri offers him one hundred ducats, but by the time he finishes the fourth play he feels too weak and prefers to take a nape and dies in his sleep, so he never finishes The Mass for the Dead.


According to Salieri’s point of view, God didn’t give him a chance to kill Mozart, as the way Salieri originally planed. Salieri wanted to get The Mass for the Dead from Mozart and then kill him, so he can compose that music on his funeral, but God didn’t give Salieri a change to fulfill his desire, and he took Mozart’s life before Mozart can finish The Mass for the Dead.


Even though the movie Amadeus is a nice try to describe the life of the great musician, it is very dramatic and doesn’t sound real. In the beginning Mozart leaves Archbishop of Salzburg because he doesn’t appreciate Mozart’s talent very well, but the Vienna’s Emperor Joseph II also suggests him to “cut of few notes” out of his opera, which is very insulting too, but mozart doesn’t leave Vienna.


In the play based on The Marriage of Figaro, during the forth play, Emperor Joseph II is shown yawning and because of that the opera fails after ninth playing. According to Salieri the play was astounding. From what the history says Emperor Joseph II wasn’t stupid; in the music himself, he too played very difficult pieces and wrote some melodies in his time. If the king had musical sense then there was no way he could have yawned during that play if it was as good as Salieri said. The play looked good to me as well, in fact I used to believe that I will fall asleep if I see any opera at all, but this play was amazing, and I liked it.


Over all, if the person is watching the movie without knowing anything about Mozart, Joseph II and Salieri, he or she would find the movie very interesting. The different piano concerto, symphony and opera played in the movie makes it clear that Mozart’s music was extraordinary, and that is why it has survived and remained popular for two centuries.








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