AT THE VERY MENTION OF READING PETER SHAFFER'S PLAY "AMADEUS"
A Theater Piece In the Form of An Epistle

by Christopher Fulkerson

CF's Composition Desk

CF In His Studio
About the Time of Work on THE RECOGNITIONS

To be spoken by an individual in XVIIIth C. costume, as if reading an announcement from a bulletin. Further suggestions for staging are below.

Not to be understood as an act of Mozartolotry, only an appeal for courtesy to historical fact, and the memory of the deceased.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Members of the Playreading Group,

To Whomsoever of You May Grant Me th'Appearance of Courtesy, Which I Promise to Attempt with Every Effort Dutifully to Maintain, Tho' Truth Herself Cries to Heaven; Asking You to Address Your Replies to Me and Not to Our Charming Hostess, Whose Charity at Permitting Me Here I Sincerely Hope I Do Not Betray; Remembering That I Have Done My Readers the Courtesy of Carefully Composing My Remarks, and Not Delivering Them In a Personal Manner, Leastwise In the Form of a POPULAR ENTERTAINMENT,

Ahem, then, trying to be as urbane and polite as circumstances may permit, please allow me to say,

The play AMADEUS is an affront to all composers everywhere, and should NEVER be presented in public in any way, nor even read or discussed, except as an example of horrid and unfair propaganda, and a sign of these dreadful times. It does gross disservice to artists of any kind and to the possibility of reasonableness in historical fiction. It is the worst example of public and perpetual character assassination in music of which I know, and I am a Doctor of the subject of Music. It is too much of a courtesy to call it fiction, it is pure disinformation, also known as LIES.

It is a matter of public record, since the renouned scholar Charles Rosen pointed it out decades ago in the New York Review of Books and the point was not disputed by the experts, that there is not one single fact in the entire play. If you know who is who and what is what that remark alone deprives the play of any claim to being "historical fiction." It exists purely to give artists, certainly composers, a bad reputation, by encouraging the popular notion that artists, especially musicians, are lunatic and irresponsible, and puts Mozart's last years in a completely fictitious and lurid light.

Even the name of the play is wrong. Wolfgang Mozart never called himself "Amadeus" unless he was speaking Latin. The Latin form "Amadeus" was and remains never properly combined with the German form "Wolfgang," and the Latin was never used at all except when signing Church contracts in Latin. Only such everyday conversation that was conducted in Latin AND involved using a person's full name would have employed the name "Amadeus." "Wolfgang Gottlieb" is correct; "Wolfgangus Amadeus" can be correct; but never "Wolfgang Amadeus." So the presumption that "Amadeus" is suitable for a title is consistent with the brutal fact-ignoring nature of the purely marketplace treatment Classical music currently gets in our atrocious so-called "culture." Everybody, including the Emperor (with whom he was on a first-name basis, though Shaffer makes him seem as though he were several courts away from Mozart), as I say, everybody called Wolfgang Mozart "Wolf." NEVER did they call him "Amadeus."

Archbishop Colloredo might condone that play, and think its title appropriate, but NO REASONABLE PERSON OUGHT TO!

ARRRGH!!! but

THANKING YOU for such courtesy as you may generously deem appropriate, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Christopher Fulkerson, Ph.D., Composer and Colleague of Mozart


P.S. If you've made it this far I might as well add that the movie IMMORTAL BELOVED is another gross violation of the facts known about a composer's life, again creating character assassination of a helpless dead composer, in the interests of maintaining for ignorant people the meanest understanding of Classical music and what kind of person it takes to create it. The "Immortal Beloved" was demonstrated in 1977 to have been Bettina Brentano, NOT Beethoven's sister-in-law, whom he detested and was never involved with. The 1994 movie ignores what was, by then, established fact in the musicological community.

P.P.S. If there is any point upon which further elucidation may be desired, please do not reply in this forum, rather to my email at:
Christopher@ChristopherFulkerson.com

P.P.P.S. To My Sincerest Correspondents: I have done all I can to prevent my Expression from being too Dramatic. I apologize if it has caused any Distress, greater than that the spirits of Mozart, and Beethoven, and all their proper colleagues, myself I humbly hope included, may suffer, as the result of the aforementioned Churlish Entertainments.

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Here is the correspondence trail of the above e-epistle, for purposes of the understanding of anyone who would care to stage it as a brief theater piece:

(Sent to the Group Leader)

Hi XXXXX,

The link to my reply to the VERY IDEA of the play "Amadeus" is [above].

It is meant as a colorful way to address an I think adequately described issue. Fortunately the site formatting saved me from sending it to the group. Since I am not sure anybody in the group will read it, I thought I might be wasting my time, but the idea was pretty clear in my mind, so I decided to go through with it as a posting to my site, as part of the lighter darkside of my online Music Appreciation effort, which does, in fact, get some readers.

I can vividly see an XVIIIth Century person in a red coat like the one David Hume famously wore. I imagine John Gielgud's voice, chez the Preacher in "A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man," but he's too great to be concerned with the kind of subterranean anger I think is in this piece. I imagine the speaker to be barely able to control his normally serene temper. Maybe I will do it at a Music Appreciation class sometime. You know how much I love to take center stage. Restraining myself is the better part of my worldly effort.

Whether or not it's any good, in any case (if you don't think it better to disavow it) you may now say that the play reading group has resulted in at least one "theater piece."

Always my best wishes to you and XXXX,

Christopher

http://www.christopherfulkerson.com/amadeusnot.html

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The topmost reply above was in response to the suggestion below, innocently made by one of the members of a playreading group of which the author is, or was at the time of writing it, a member in good standing. The names and links have been deleted in order to give as little reason as possible for irritation to anyone involved.

On Mon, July 26, 2010 10:26 am, XXXX wrote:
> XXXX's idea:
>
> ""Amadeus" by Peter Shaffer"
> What I love most about the play is its statement about envy's
> self-destructive power (makes me think of Brian Wilson and
> Anton Newcombe).  A great play as well as a great movie.
>
>
> To vote for this idea, follow the link below:
> http://www.XXXX


> To stop receiving this email, click here:
> http://www.XXXX
>
> --
> Add info@XXXX.com to your address book to receive all XXXX
> emails
>
> To manage your email settings for this group, go to:
> http://www.XXXX

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Copyright 2010 by Christopher Fulkerson

Posted 7/26/2010.

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