2 Scenes from the Amadeus screenplay by Peter Shaffer involving Salieri’s introduction to Mozart. Meanwhile, we are only communicating in opera and ballet around the house and so should you.
Sra-I’m-sick! Sra-I’m sick!
Yes, you are. You’re very sick.
No, no. Say it backwards, shit-wit.
Sra-I’m-sick Say it backwards!
(working it out)
Sra-I’m-sick. Sick – kiss I’m – my
Kiss my! Sra-I’m-sick – Kiss my arse!
Em iram! Em iram!
No, I’m not playing this game.
No, this is serious. Say it backwards.
Just say it – you’ll see. It’s very
serious. Em iram! Em iram!
Iram – marry Em – marry me! No, no!
You’re a fiend. I’m not going to
marry a fiend. A dirty fiend at that.
Tub – but i-tub – but I vol – love
but I love ui – You. I love you!
The mood becomes suddenly softer. She kisses him. They
embrace. Then he spoils it.
Tish-I’m tee. What’s that?
Eat my – ah!
Shocked, she strikes at him. At the same moment the music
starts in the salon next door. We hear the opening of the
Serenade for Thirteen Wind Instruments, K.
My music! They’ve started! They’ve
started without me!
He leaps up, disheveled and rumpled and runs out of the room.
Salieri watches in amazement and disgust.
INT. PALACE GRAND SALON – DAY – 1780’S
Salieri, in this vast room, is standing and looking at the
full score of the Serenade. He turns the pages back to the
slow movement. Instantly, we again hear its lyrical strains.
CU, Salieri, reading the score of the Adagio in helpless
fascination. The music is played against his description of
OLD SALIERI (V.O.)
Extraordinary! On the page it looked
nothing. The beginning simple, almost
comic. Just a pulse – bassoons and
basset horns – like a rusty
squeezebox. Then suddenly – high
above it – an oboe, a single note,
hanging there unwavering, till a
clarinet took over and sweetened it
into a phrase of such delight! This
was no composition by a performing
monkey! This was a music I’d never
heard. Filled with such longing,
such unfulfillable longing, it had
me trembling. It seemed to me that I
was hearing a voice of God.
Suddenly the music snaps off. Mozart stands before him as he
lays down the score.
He takes the score, bows, and struts briskly out of the room.
Salieri stares uncomprehendingly after the jaunty little man.
OLD SALIERI (V.O.)
INT. OLD SALIERI’S HOSPITAL ROOM – NIGHT – 1823
Why? Would God choose an obscene
child to be His instrument? It was
not to be believed! This piece had
to be an accident. It had to be!