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amadeus

From time to time, classical music gets an injection of publicity that places it in the mainstream.

The 1984 film ‘Amadeus’ dominated the Oscars thanks to excellent lead performances – F.Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce – Peter Shaffer’s screenplay of his original stage work, and the direction of Milos Forman.

So the news that Forman is to get a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of America at a ceremony in February 2013 will ensure the film gets a new lease of life via news reports and tv showings.

For reasons I can’t recall, I saw it when it was released one weekday afternoon at a leisure centre in the Manchester suburb of Wythenshawe.

The audience wasn’t large – 3 of us in total plus the resident cat curled up asleep.

But the memory of seeing the film inspired a radio project in 2006 to mark the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth.

With the blessing of Sir Peter Shaffer, I commissioned a new adaptation of his original stage play for radio with F.Murray Abraham reprising his Oscar-winning role as Salieri.

The result was all we hoped it would be, and proved that a classic work can show its qualities in different media.

My favourite marriage of music and words comes in the ‘voice of God’ scene in the film, which I’ve linked to here.

Mozart’s Serenade For Winds was also a new piece to me – one I heard via the soundtrack album featuring Sir Neville Marriner and the Orchestra of St.Martin in the Fields, which is quite superb.

Amadeus – movie trailer

Amadeus – ‘The voice of God’ scene

Mozart – Serenade For Winds – K.361 – 3rd movt

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