Mozart: naughty or nice?

From what we are told about Wolfgang, I don’t expect that Santa was a regular visitor at the Mozart household.

The popular view, reinforced by the movie Amadeus, is of an impetuous child and a rebellious adult who often lost favour with his patrons.  More recently this has been re-examined as genius myth and its also been suggested that his reported behaviour may be evidence of Tourettes or other behavioural disorders.  Either way, perhaps we should be more charitable to his memory – and musical genius he certainly was.

Whatever the reality, we do know that Mozart was struggling with alternate visions of the afterlife in the final days leading up to his death as he wrote the Requiem Mass.

In the Confutatis (which we rehearsed this week) Mozart paints his contrasting pictures of Heaven and Hell.


The furious canon of Tenors and Basses shows just how bad it can get

Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis,
the accused are confounded, and doomed to flames of woe,


In reply, the ever angelic Sopranos and Altos plead for a cherubic heaven

voca me cum benedictus.
call me among the blessed.


And we all join Mozart’s final prayer for salvation

I kneel with submissive heart,
my contrition is like ashes,
help me in my final condition.

The Confutatis is believed to be the last full number which Mozart penned before his death (There is no evidence he got beyond the opening bars of the Lacrimosa).

Naughty or nice? Mozart’s exceptional musical legacy lives on and seems likely to be enjoyed for an eternity.