Confutatis Maledictis

Mozart is sitting up in his bed with his back resting against the pillows. Candles are burning bright in the necks of bottles. The gold coins lie on his coverlet. Antonio Salieri, is seated at an work table placed at the foot of Mozart’s bed. On the work table are blank sheets of music paper, quills, and ink. Also on the table is the score of Requiem Mass, half composed. They’ve reached the end of the Recordare – Statuens in parte dextra. Salieri is possessed with an obviously feverish desire to put down the notes as quickly as Mozart can dictate them. Mozart is bright-eyed with a kind of fever. His face has turned white and pale. He is almost about to drop, but yet held by the passion to chalk up this seminal work.

Mozart enquires where they have reached and says “So now the Confutatis. Confutatis Maledictis. When the wicked are confounded. Flammis acribus addictis. How would you translate that?”. Salieri retorts “Consigned to flames of woe”. Mozart says “Do you beleive in it?” to which Salieri wonders what. Mozart explains “A fire which never dies. Burning one forever?”, and Salieri responds with a glint in his eye, “Oh yes!”

Salieri’s motive is explained well through the narrative of the now old Salieri, who is now in a hospital ward recuperating after his attempted suicide. He narrates his treacherous tale to Father Vogler.

Salieri: My plan was so simple. It terrified me. First I must get the death mass and then, I must achieve his death.

Father Vogler: What?

Salieri: His funeral! Imagine it, the cathedral, all Vienna sitting there, his coffin, Mozart’s little coffin in the middle, and then, in that silence, music! A divine music bursts out over them all. A great mass of death! Requiem mass for Wolfgang Mozart, composed by his devoted friend, Antonio Salieri! Oh what sublimity, what depth, what passion in the music! Salieri has been touched by God at last. And God is forced to listen! Powerless, powerless to stop it! I, for once in the end, laughing at him! The only thing that worried me was the actual killing. How does one do that? Hmmm? How does one kill a man? It’s one thing to dream about it; very different when, when you, when you have to do it with your own hands.

Salieri’s envy has made him an enemy of the very same angel whose greatness was evident in Mozart. He set out to take revenge. An unusual revenge to bring to an end the life of an unusual genius. While Mozart’s coffin is placed in a shoddy manner in his grave, Dona Eis Pacem blares in the background bringing the movie back to the old Salieri, who in his bliss after acheiving the ‘mass of death’, absolves the loonies around him of their mediocrities. Fade out.


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