Today, when people need to affirm a person’s talent, they often only say that he has talent, but rarely say that he is a genius. The likely reason is that people often use the word “genius” with connotations of “inexplicable” or in conjunction with words like “teenager”. For example, we are willing to praise Zhou Zhou, who likes to conduct, as a genius, but we only want to say that composer Tan Dun is talented. If what I say is still true, then this fact just shows people’s understanding of the word “talent”-genius is determined only by “heaven”, it is innate, and Zhouzhou commander The ability of music makes people unable to think of other explanations other than “God-given”. Once the “talent” is an adult who has broken away from the pure foundation, then the mysterious aura of “genius from heaven” will be lost.
But we can immediately give a counterexample. For example, Li Bai is a genius, Cao Xueqin is a genius, Shakespeare is a genius, Da Vinci is a genius, and so on. These ancient people (and they are all adults) can be called geniuses without any sense of dislocation. So, could it be that Tan Dun is not genius enough? Everyone has their own judgment on the issue of talent and achievement, but I think the reason for the different words is not here, but because Tan Dun is a person we are familiar with, and he is a person who has experienced the downgrade with us. , contemporaries who degraded art.
In ancient times, whether in the East or in the West, talent seemed to come not only from individuals for a while, but more from a higher being, such as heaven, Muse, or God. At that time, human beings were still under the favor of God, and had their own unique position in the orderly life chain of all beings, not just a reed in the cold universe. In ancient China, there was a saying that “the celestial beings were exiled” and “the stars of Wenqu came down to earth”, and when the great Homer wanted to sing the wrath of Achilles, he invited the muses to sing. Likewise, when Mozart “transcribed” music from his head to score with incredible talent, Antoine Salieri, his admirer, envy and destroyer, cried out to God: “I hear your Voice—you have only one name in your voice—Mozart!”
The scene above comes from the play “The Death of Mozart” (translated by Ying Ruocheng) by British writer Peter Shaffer. Interestingly speaking, the original name of this play is Amadeus (Amadeus), which is the word in the middle of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s name, which means “God’s Beloved”. This also just proves the above statement: a genius is God’s favorite, and his art and creation are gifts from God.
However, such logic is frustrating, especially for those artists who, like Mozart, had artistic ambitions but were not “favored” enough – such as Salieri. In the play, Salieri loved music since he was a child, and was devout in his heart. He wanted to use music to sing and serve God. At the age of sixteen, God was merciful to him and allowed him to leave his hometown of Lombardy, come to Vienna to study music, and successfully became a court composer. At thirty-one, he was already a prolific and popular musician. In order to repay God’s favor, he abides by moral and religious precepts, redoubles his efforts, and wants to be God’s servant.
However, this year, Mozart came to Vienna. In Peter Shaffer’s pen, he is a freak with low taste, vulgar manner, foul mouth and childish behavior. “The man was restless for a moment, his limbs were constantly moving, his voice was thin and high-pitched, and he had an unforgettable habit of convulsively chirping–a harsh, stately voice. Childish.” However, it was such a person who tied Salieri “with the rope of music”. After hearing Mozart’s music for the first time, Salieri said: “It is the rope of pain that binds me again and pierces my heart. Ah, that pain! It is pain that I have never experienced in my life. I look up for my old acquaintance, my shrewd God. ‘What’s going on?… What’s going on?’…Tell me, my Lord! Where does that pain come from, who needs it This voice, whoever hears it, can fully satisfy. God, is it you who need it? Is it you?… I suddenly feel terrible, I feel as if I heard the voice of God-and it From such a fellow, I heard with my own ears, such an immoral doll!”
For Mozart, however, he seemed not to consider his music the voice of God, but the voice that God should hear. When he described the creative idea of ”The Marriage of Figaro”, he said: “I tell you, I want to write an epilogue that lasts for half an hour! The quartet becomes a quintet, and the quintet becomes a sextet, and more and more. , widening—all voices overlapping, multiplying, rising at once—together to make a whole new sound!… I bet that’s how God hears the world, thousands, up Billions of voices soared to his ears and became music that never ends, music we cannot imagine! (To Salieri) This is our duty! Our composer’s duty! To make him, and him, And he, and thousands of men and women, whose inner worlds merged together – those of a girl, and those of a court composer – so that the audience became God.”
What a shocking statement! Shocked by these words, Salieri became more mediocre and more painful. Compared with Salieri, Mozart seems to be godless-he wanted God to hear the world, and he wanted the audience to become God. However, such a person has become God’s darling and a talented musician. Why? Salieri asked. What is the logic of God’s choice of darling? What makes him more painful is that God opened his ambition for music in him, but did not give him the corresponding talent; he gave him the mind to understand genius, but refused to make him a genius: “That squealing laughing baby, Juggling with that pool cue, absent-minded smears on the sheet music, can turn the music I’ve worked so hard to create into worthless. Thank you, my lord, for giving me the desire to play for you ——Most people don’t have this requirement at all——and then you told me to feel ashamed when I heard what I created, thank you! It’s you who made me understand the incomparable perfection of God’s world——Most people don’t understand at all What is this.—And then you went out of your way to make me understand that I can only be a mediocre all my life!… The only reward you gave me—my god-given privilege—is to make me the only one in this generation who can see clearly who you are Man incarnate!” Then Salieri seemed suddenly to possess the power of Mozart: “Sly God!—you are the enemy! I will name you now—you are the eternal and eternal enemy! I also swear: As long as I’m alive, I’ll do my best to destroy your intentions in the world! (He glares upward at God, then, to the audience) After all, what’s the use of man if he doesn’t teach God a lesson? ”
Where is that God-worshipping, loyal mediocrity? He began to be as godless as Mozart, and even went so far as to become a favorite of Satan. However, despite the constant comparisons between Mozart and Salieri in the play, the author does not try to lead us to contempt for Salieri. Since the power to enshrine geniuses belongs to God, how can mortals have the right to criticize mediocrity? Therefore, throughout the play, Salieri is more of a painful and sympathetic character. He understands what excellence is, but is unable to move forward on the road of pursuing excellence. The greater his artistic ambitions, the greater his pain. What’s more, God continues to mock him and anger him through Mozart. Gradually, he had evil thoughts and planned to destroy Mozart’s life. After all, God’s favorite lives in the world, and he cannot maintain his physical existence just by making music.
If the front and rear joints are left aside, then the relationship between Mozart and Salieri here can easily be understood as the opposition between good and evil, but the author does not think so. It was a world that was sympathetic to God, but Salieri’s pain and sin seemed to constantly question the logic of God, and even the existence of God. Salieri said: “God needs Mozart to open his way to this world, and Mozart needs me to show up in this world… You see, I am determined to block God’s way in this world, and he rewards me Extra satisfaction, while letting go allows me to ruin the prospects of a competitor I hate.” Thus, the theme of “God’s Favorite” becomes more ambiguous and tragic.
Just when Mozart’s talent continued to bloom and was about to break through Salieri’s obstruction, his father, Leopold Mozart, passed away. For Mozart, his father was like the incarnation of God on earth. He gave Mozart talent and a name, and really made Mozart a “beloved”; at the same time, he was the person who strangled Mozart’s throat, so that Mozart was controlled mentally and did not dare to act without authorization. His death caused Mozart great pain. However, what is intriguing is that there is a mysterious emotional connection between Mozart and Salieri at this time, so there is the following scene:
Mozart: (sadly) I refused to listen to his pleading and got married. I left him alone, I danced and played pool and messed around and left him night after night alone in an empty house without a woman to take care of him… Oh! Oh, God!
Salieri: (stands up in alarm) Wulfgang, my dear Wulfgang, don’t blame yourself! … lean on me! If you will… lean on me…
Salieri spreads her arms in full pose of a loving father. Mozart walks towards him, almost succumbing to the embrace…
In this moment, Salieri is the loving father and Mozart the wounded darling. Interestingly, it was through Mozart’s exposure of his trauma that Salieri discovered the ultimate means of controlling Mozart: he dressed up as Leopold’s ghost, demanded Mozart’s Requiem, and eventually exhausted him. s life. Before Mozart died, Salieri said: “God does not love you, Amadeus, it is useless to give you such a name, Amadeus, God’s favorite! God loves no one! He Just use, it doesn’t matter who he uses, who he takes away! You have nothing to use now, you are too weak – you are sick! He has used you up! You can only die now! ”
Mozart died, and Salieri became the most famous musician in Europe. However, he did not get rid of the tragedy of fate—”I was sealed up by the name! Wrapped tightly! Buried!”—But the works that made me famous were worthless to me! Judgment! I have to endure being called ‘Excellence’!… And in the end, God spared the worst hand! He waited until I was drowned in fame and wealth, until I was disgusted by fame—suddenly, my name disappeared , not a single bit left!… He told me to live long enough to see with my own eyes being forgotten by everyone!…Mozart’s music is getting louder and louder all over the world! And my music is completely silent, and finally no one plays it!”
God practices his logic by torturing mediocrity. However, no one can understand such logic except the mediocre Salieri, including the author Schaefer, including us as readers-even though Salieri is the person who most doubts God in the work. At the end of the work, Salieri chose to commit suicide (attempted). According to his logic—to corrupt a man is to corrupt God—suicide is effectively a denial of God. It seems that what Salieri wanted to say but did not say is that God establishes order, and God’s limited favor is only prepared for geniuses, while mediocrity is those who are neglected and forgotten by God. So they need a patron saint of their own. So, is God still the Almighty God? Who is not neglected and forgotten by the gods in our world, which has at last lost all his favor? In other words, who is not mediocre? Perhaps this is why Salieri gave his “oracle” to the audience (the audience in reality off the stage): “When it is your turn to be born in this world, I will stand in the shadows around you. You will also be tortured by failure, and you will also hear the cynicism of the unattainable and insensitive God-at that time, I will announce my name in your ears, ‘Salieri, protect all mediocre saints! ‘…Idiots everywhere in the world—the present and the future—I forgive you! Amen!” Whether we know it or not, we are all mediocrities, and we all need Salieri’s pardon and protection.
However, who is a genius? Is there really perfect art, just like Mozart’s music in Salieri’s eyes, “If you remove a note, the whole piece will be flawed, and if you remove a phrase, the whole structure will collapse?” This is the true height of human art , or the author’s imagination of realistic art? In this regard, I prefer to understand that Salieri’s ambition is not only his own ambition, but also Shafer’s ambition; Salieri’s pain is also Schaeffer’s pain. Therefore, Mozart is not the favorite of God, but the favorite of Salieri and Schaefer, the embodiment of their ambitions, and the source of pain; Salieri needs to get rid of Mozart, and Schaefer needs Mozart to remind him constantly. regret.
In this sense, the play “Death of Mozart” is not only a biography of Mozart, but also a biography of Salieri and the mediocrity of the world. The whole play is thus narrated by Salieri, while Mozart is merely an object to be shown, told and watched. At the beginning of the play, Salieri announced to the audience like a prologue: “Elegant gentlemen and generous ladies! I now offer you-only one public performance-my last work, entitled ‘Death of Mozart’ aka ‘God’s Beloved’…”
Who wrote the play? Salieri or Shaffer? Or are they both the same person? The audience couldn’t see clearly from the beginning, just as they couldn’t see the logic of God’s judgment of genius and mediocrity. It is clear that Mozart, as “God’s darling”, shows the possible existence of God; like the stars, it reminds the best of us-the artists’ heart.