Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in fiction


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in fiction

The celebrated composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) led a life that was dramatic in many respects, including his extraordinary career as a child prodigy, his struggles to achieve personal independence and establish a career, his brushes with financial disaster, and his somewhat mysterious death in the course of attempting to complete his Requiem. Authors of fictional works have found his life a compelling source of raw material. Such works have included novels, plays, operas, and films.

Contents

Fiction

  • The first major works of literature inspired by Mozart were by the German writers E. T. A. Hoffmann and Eduard Mörike. Hoffmann published his Don Juan in 1812,[1] Mörike his Mozart's Journey to Prague in 1856.[2] Mozart also appears in Hermann Hesse's novel Der Steppenwolf.[3]
  • In 1968, David Weiss published Sacred and profane: a novel of the life and times of Mozart,[4] a narrative account on the composer's life drawing heavily on the documented historical record, but with invented conversations and other details. It is in the same style as Naked Came I, the same author's bestselling 1963 historical novel based on the life of sculptor Auguste Rodin.
  • In modern fiction, the mystery surrounding the composer's death is explored within a popular thriller context in the 2008 novel The Mozart Conspiracy by British writer Scott Mariani,[5] who departs from the established Salieri-poisoning theory to suggest a deeper political motive behind his death.
  • Mozart has also featured as a sleuth in detective fiction, in Dead, Mister Mozart[6] and Too many notes, Mr. Mozart,[7] both by Bernard Bastable (who also writes as Robert Barnard). Bastable's stories involve the conceit of an alternate history scenario in which the young Mozart remained on in London at the time of his childhood visit to England, where he has lived a long - though not very prosperous - life as a hack musician, rather than returning to his native Salzburg or Vienna to die young and celebrated.
  • Charles Neider's Mozart and the Archbooby[8] is an epistolary novel wherein the young Mozart writes to his father about his new life in Vienna and his new problem, the Archbishop of Salzburg. Stephanie Cowell's Marrying Mozart: A Novel[9] provides a fictionalised account of Mozart's relationship with Aloysia Weber before his marriage to her sister, Constanze.
  • Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology (1986) is a defining cyberpunk short story collection, edited by Bruce Sterling. It contains a story, the "Mozart in Mirrorshades" by Bruce Sterling an Lewis Shiner,[10] in which Mozart appears as a DJ wannabe instead of being the real Mozart after he met the people and culture of his future.

Drama

  • Aleksandr Pushkin's play Mozart and Salieri[11] is based on the supposed rivalry between Mozart and Antonio Salieri, particularly the idea that it was poison received from the latter that caused Mozart's death. This idea is not supported by modern scholarship.[12]
  • Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus[13] focuses on the difference between true and sublime genius (Mozart) and mere high-quality craftsmanship (Salieri). Shaffer seems to have been especially taken by the contrast between Mozart's enjoyment of vulgarity (for which historical evidence exists, in the form of his letters to his cousin) and the sublime character of his music.
  • In 2007, he was portrayed by John Sessions in the Doctor Who audio adventure 100 in a story that explored the ramifications of Mozart being granted immortality.[14]

Film

  • Shaffer's play was subsequently made into a film, Amadeus. The scene where Mozart dictates music to Salieri on his deathbead is entirely an author's fancy, created especially for the film; for the question of whether Mozart did any dictation on his deathbed at all see: "Death of Mozart"

Opera

Children's literature

  • Children's author Daniel Pinkwater has Mozart appear as a character in several of his books, including The Muffin Fiend,[15] in which Mozart helps solve a crime involving an extraterrestrial creature who steals muffins from Vienna's bakeries.
  • Little Amadeus, television show produced in Germany in 2006, focuses on Mozart's life as a child in Salzburg. It has aired in English in Australia (ABC) and North America (KQED Kids).
  • Mozart (as well as his sister Nannerl) are a major component in the second "39 Clues" book, One False Note.[16]

Video games

Notes

References

Biographic

Mozart in fiction


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