It's worth re-reading Fred Baumann on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was born 259 years ago today:
IN BEYOND Good and Evil, Nietzsche rejoices that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "the last chord of a centuries-old great European taste . . . still speaks to us" and warns that "alas, some day all this will be gone."
Nietzsche was unsure whether the future held the triumph of the despicable, bourgeois "last man" who is no longer even ashamed of himself or, as he hoped, of the newly heroic and disciplined races that the "new philosophers" would mold. Either way, he thought Mozart would become incomprehensible--though probably not to the new philosophers or Overmen themselves.
So, does Mozart still speak to us? The fact that we are celebrating his 250th birthday this month suggests so, and for some fraction of the elite culture, he surely does. Judging by concert halls, it's an old and shrinking fraction, but there are still a fair number of teenagers learning the "Turkish Rondo," so who knows?
Still, I think that what we got in Peter Shaffer's movie Amadeus roughly represents what the culture generally thinks about Mozart. He was a silly man, but a genius, who produced music that is very pleasant to listen to but somewhat lacking in punch. He liked childish things, like that masquerade The Magic Flute, but he was serious about death (who isn't?) so he started on that spooky Requiem, which does get to us, in a churchy kind of way.
Add a bit more--perhaps "who is this woman who does not kiss me?" from Mozart's child-prodigy phase, maybe his hatred for the archbishop of Salzburg, something about childish pranks, billiards, gambling, his wife Constanze's possible infidelity--and it fills out our picture.
Read the rest here.