Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Born Today January 27 (Not So Silent Edition): Mozart


That's right:  the composer.  We all know him as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; he was actually baptised (the day after his birth is Salzburg--as 5 of his seven siblings had died very early in infancy) as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart (that's a mouth full!).  During his short life time, he personally went by the name "Wolfgang Amade' Mozart."  As with any great composer, especially those who lived a died long before the invention of photography, not to mention film; there is no reason to parse through their lives--there are plenty of online resources for that (not to mention print and video medium)!  I think most people are aware that Mozart was a child prodigy.  That he is one the most well known of composers today.  That he composed a large volume of work (apparently over 600 works are credited to him); and that he died young.  His death has always been a mystery.  The only symptoms that any modern physician has to go on is a rash he developed that resembled millet seeds.  Indeed, in the official records, his death is listed as "severe miliary fever" (translated into English from the German)--merely referring to the rash's appearance.  Clearly this rash had a serious underlying cause--many have speculated everything from streptococcal infection to a rare underlying kidney ailment that may have been inherited.  No one ever seems to suspect a venereal disease, which I find a bit strange.  Of course, the popular notion that he was poisoned by fellow composer Salieri due to jealousy still persists, in no small part because of film!  [See, of course, Amadeus (1984)--which was based on a very, very successful play that had a long run on Broadway.] Of course, it doesn't help that Salieri confessed to this in real a mental institution many years later--most likely the product of his mind.  Mozart died in a state of severe illness when he was only 35 years of age on 5 December in Vienna; he was buried in what was known then as a "common grave," which meant that it could be reused in 10 years, which it never was.  It remains to the this day in St. Marx (Marks) Cemetery in Vienna; making his the most visited grave in the resting place.  As to film; the very first time Mozart's music was used in film came in a mono filmed performance entitled Charles Hackett Singing "Il Mio Tesoro Intanto", "O Paradiso", with sound by Vitaphone; produced by Warner Bros.  However, there was a very, very interesting silent biopic dating from 1921.  Mozarts Leben, Lieben und Leiben.  I find this film fascinating.  It only survives in a partial form, with some degree of restoration; it was produced in Austria and filmed on location in Mozart's birthplace of Salzburg.  Mozart is portrayed by Josef Zetenius as an adult (young actor Senta Stillmark portrays him as a "kind" or child).  It's original run time was around 90 minutes.  Apparently, and I haven't seen, it is quite breathtaking--and that is even with most of the last portion missing.  

Probably the most famous portrait of Mozart, it was actually painted posthumously.

For More See:

Wikipedia (with tons of extra links for information!)

For full list of Soundtrack use:  see Internet Movie Database.

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