One always just assumed that Peter Shaffer’s version of Mozart in Amadeus was a flight of fancy, that the composer’s grating puerile laugh was meant as a device to annoy Salieri and the audience. But a new letter posted on the archival blog Letters of Note indicates Shaffer may have been spot on.
Entitled “Oh my ass burns like fire,” good ol’ Wolfie aged twenty-one wrote a letter to his nineteen-year-old cousin, Marianne, full of scatological references and general weirdness. This love of the fecal was apparently typical of the musical genius. We quote:
Oui, by the love of my skin, I shit on your nose, so it runs down your chin…. I now wish you a good night, shit in your bed with all your might, sleep with peace on your mind, and try to kiss your own behind; I now go off to never-never land and sleep as much as I can stand. Tomorrow we’ll speak freak sensubly (sic) with each other.
What is most interesting, and the best support for Shaffer’s characterization of Mozart as a man-child with extra emphasis on child, is his relentless use of rhyming duplication, which is like something out of bad children’s book. Perhaps Tom Hulce, who played Amadeus in the film, should have won the Oscar instead of F. Murray Abraham after all; his impersonation may have been more spot-on than Meryl Streep’s was of Margaret Thatcher. (Hard to believe “Tommy” Hulce is now sixty years old!)
Read the full letter HERE. Great fun.