Serenade in B Flat Major, K. 361/370a, ‘Gran Partita,’ III: Adagio

The film Amadeus was released in 1984 and, though a period piece which might have limited appeal, it took the world by storm. This was not only because of the portrayal of the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart but also the impeccable casting of newcomer Tom Hulce as the main character: he plays an incredibly talented but also playful, impudent and boisterous, self-indulgent character. He perfectly contrasted the staid character of Antonio Salieri (played by F. Murray Abram who, among many other roles over the years, played a devious and double-crossing swine of a counter-terrorism intelligence leader in the more recent TV series Homeland).

My life was in flux at the time Amadeus came out; single and not wanting to be, unsure of my life direction and occupied with having a “good time.” Amadeus was a distraction at the time but has remained with me because of how it shows the music of the master composer, and the intriguing way in which the film interpreted his story.

I haven’t seen the movie in many, many years and really would like to see it again, after thinking about it today. Even without seeing it again, I remember a scene where Salieri, speaking early on about Mozart’s music, with Serenade No. 10 for Strings, Gran Partita, Movement No. 3, the Adagio, playing as the soundtrack, expressing a mix of reverence and envy at the musical genius of young Mozart. If you haven’t seen the film, it may be a “spoiler alert,” but his jealousy gradually turns toxic and the remainder of the movie chronicles Salieri’s obsession with destroying Mozart play out.

Thinking to the Salieri character’s narration on the beauty of the piece though, I can hear his words in my mind as the movement begins and each of the wind instruments joins in.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s a video for the piece being performed by the London Symphony Orchestra Wind Ensemble from the London Symphony Orchestra’s official YouTube channel (I couldn’t find a link to the exact version from the soundtrack, with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Neville Marriner, but this one is rather wonderful, and it’s always lovely to see the musicians at their artistry): 

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