[Pt. IV – Proj. 2] – Exercise – Mozart as court musician /Amadeus

Exercise – Mozart as court musician /amadeus

If you haven’t already seen Peter Shaffer’s 1984 film Amadeus – or if you enjoyed it and would like to see it again – take a break and watch it now. The DVD is available very cheaply from Amazon and other suppliers. The main focus of the film is the supposed rivalry between Mozart and Antonio Salieri. Much of this is pure fiction, but there’s some wonderful music – including excerpts from The Magic Flute and Mozart’s Requiem – and an interesting insight into the restrictive nature of court patronage. (There’s more about this in the next project.)

Simply watch, enjoy and make some notes on the music you hear in your listening log.

Papageno the Bird-Catcher, from ‘The Magic Flute’ Carl Offterdinger


My previous knowledge of Western Art music was rudimentary and strictly limited to music written from the late Romantic period onwards. I really had not listened to a lot of music from the Classical Era save for some Opera. I had also heard some classical music in passing and in films like Amadeus. I was therefore very happy to see Amadeus as one of the exercises. I greatly enjoyed this film. I watched it in the cinema when it was first released and was overwhelmed by the music. Watching the lasts scenes, depicting Mozart composing/dictating ‘Requiem Confutatis Maledictis’ inter cut with a racing carriage and culminating in his death, is on of the experiences which made me want to pursue writing film music. the magic fluteMore recently I went to see Ingmar Bergman’s film of the Magic Flute. I am from Sweden so I have seen a great many of Bergman’s films, but never this one. It depicts the staging of the Opera with such warmth and humour. It starts with a lengthy opening shot of the audience, zooming in on different faces, recording their reaction to the music. There are also ‘behind the scenes’ shots of the opera singers and what they do backstage. This peculiar and cheeky depiction of the Opera production gives it an impish quality which is very much in keeping with ‘The Magic Flute’ itself. I also found it both funny and odd hearing Mozart in Swedish. I wonder if my experience of the film would have been different if I’d had to read the subtitles?