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Happy Birthday Wolfie!

Today marks the 263rd birthday of the one, the only Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, aka Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart aka Wolfie.


Happy Birthday, Wolfie!

It’s been a few years since we’ve celebrated dear Wolfie’s* Geburtstag and we’re definitely overdue!

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing the Colorado Symphony celebrating the big day with a performance of Amadeus with live orchestra and chorus.  It was so much fun!  I hadn’t watched the movie in several years and had forgotten exactly how awesome it is.  Yes, it does play fast and lose with history but it is a brilliant film with one of the best soundtracks EVER.  I’m still confused on how Tom Hulce didn’t win any of the awards he was up for?!  Maybe I’m just biased toward Mozart over Salieri, no offense to F. Murray Abraham or the composer himself.

Side shout out to Brett Mitchell and the CSO.  My seat gave me a view of the podium and the video Brett was watching to keep everything perfectly in time.  It was literally counting the seconds and had indicators for tempo and a heads up for when they were going to play again.  It went off without a hitch—not an easy thing to accomplish.  Well done sir!

amadeus movie poster
One of the many moments that I think of often is the “too many notes” scene.  It applies to many things.  Those conversations with management where they pretend they know what they are talking about.  Moments when your co-workers don’t have your back.  Songs that really do have too many notes.  We’ve all been there.

The interwebs provide us with video of the scene (this occurs after the opening of the opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail [The Abduction from the Seraglio]):

To keep the birthday magic going, here are some of the pieces that appear on the incredible soundtrack:

The film starts with my favorite Mozart symphony, #25 in g minor (K 183, 1st movement).  It’s so dark for a Mozart symphony!  I fell in love with it the first time I heard it, which was incidentally the first time I saw the movie back in my 7th grade orchestra class.  Never fear parents, it was edited for content…

The gorgeous “Queen of the Night” aria from Die Zauberflöte [The Magic Flute].  This may sound familiar—Volvo used it recently in an SUV ad.  I did ask my cat, “I wonder how Wolfie feels about this?”. 😉

The Piano Concerto in d minor, 2nd movement.  This appears in the film and runs poignantly over the credits.  It alternates between sweet and bittersweet, happiness and longing.  It’s 10 minutes but worth it!

Lastly, something from the infamous Requiem (K 626):  the “Confutatis” that plays out so prominently at the end of the film.  The juxtaposition of the heavy tenor and bass with the light-as-air alto and soprano sections is devine:

Love what you heard?  How could you not? 😀  Check out the soundtrack from the amazing Academy of St. Martin in the Fields on Spotify here.  For more Mozart (you know you want it), go here.  And for more from the Academy (now with the one and only Joshua Bell at the helm) head here.

Wolfie’s been on my mind a lot lately, stay tuned for more Mozart love!

* It’s unclear how thrilled Mozart would be with Wolfie.  But it’s how I think of him, no doubt thanks to Amadeus, so we’re rolling with it.

Mozart Image:  Detail from Mozart Family portrait Johann Nepomuk della Croce, from Wikimedia Commons.