Music Break: Mozart in the Movies

Today, January 27th, marks the 256th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birth. I listen to classical NPR to and from work a lot and they’re promoting a special program commemorating this event. Well, as my two of my all time favorite music genres are classical and soundtracks, I thought I’d sort of combine the two in today’s music break post.

Just a bit of history on one of the greatest classical composers of all time… Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria and started composing from the age of five and already performed before European royalty at such a young age. He only lived until the age of 35, but in such a short life he was incredibly prolific and influential. Per Wikipedia, he composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers and his music will always remain timeless.

Tom Hulce as Mozart in AMADEUS

Whether you notice it or not, you’ve likely have heard Mozart’s music in all kinds of films. Whatever the genre, Mozart’s music seems to have a place in a variety of them. This forum from a few years ago compiled over 400 movie titles from all over the world that uses Mozart’s music. And this site actually compiles a list of how many times Mozart’s work has been used in dozens of films.

This piece called Eine kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) is the most widely used, 13 times as of 2006, in movies ranging from Ace Ventura, Bonfire of the Vanities to Nikita, and of course it’s part of the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film about the musical genius, Amadeus (1984) .

If you haven’t seen Amadeus, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not a fan of classical music, it’s still a fascinating story and the film was amazingly done. It won 8 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham for his superb performance as Antonio Salieri, Mozart’s main rival. Tom Hulce in the title role was also nominated for an Oscar. The film is told in flashback mode by Salieri who’s now confined to an insane asylum. Check out the trailer below:

My introduction to Mozart in movies is actually courtesy of an unlikely source, a James Bond film! Ahah, yes, it was The Spy Who Loved Me as it’s played in this scene where Bond’s arch nemesis Stromberg played Piano Concerto No. 21 as his octopus-like hideout rises from the sea. I didn’t even know it was a Mozart piece until much later as I was only a wee kid at the time. I was mesmerized by that music… and Jaws’ teeth 😀 It remains one of my all time favorites to this day.

Alexandre Desplat’s Oscar-nominated soundtrack for The King’s Speech also uses Mozart’s piece La Nozze di Figaro. One of my favorite parts about this film is definitely the music, and naturally classical music is fitting for the subject matter.


So those are just some of my favorite Mozart’s music in movies. Do you have one? Please do share in the comments.

Weekend Viewing Plans and Music Break: The King’s Speech Score

Hello everybody, happy Friday! My office will be closed for President’s Day on Monday so it’ll be a three-day weekend, YAY!

Young Chris Bale w/ Spielberg on the EOTS set

I haven’t been to the theater for a while. I think the last film I saw at the theater was The Fighter back in January, wow! Well, I don’t know if I’ll make it to the theater this weekend as I have quite a few Blu-ray stuff at home. After a couple of years of pause from buying movies, we’ve slowly been collecting BDs now since we got the Blu-ray player and our new TV. From the past month we’ve got Speed (still fun to watch after all those years! Keanu as his hunkiest), V for Vendetta, L.A. Confidential, Inception and Toy Story 3. And just arriving from Netflix in Empire of the Sun. Can’t believe I haven’t seen that one given my love for Christian Bale and that I usually enjoy Steven Spielberg’s work.

Well, if we make it to the cinema, my hubby and I was actually toying with the idea of seeing UNKNOWN as we both actually like Liam Neeson being all bad-ass in Taken (not to be confused with the 2006 film starring Jim Caviezel as IMDb apparently did). You can practically call Neeson’s new Euro thriller TAKEN 2. Sure the premise is entirely different, we’re not dealing with his kidnapped daughter this time, but just swap Paris with Berlin, we can probably expect the same type of action sequences, car chases, an a set of European baddies. I mean, even the posters are almost identical. If you can’t read any English, you might actually think it’s the exact same movie. Wait, is that even the same gun he’s holding? 😀

No offense to Neeson, I think he’s a great actor but after a series of all this hyper action stuff, he’s kinda starting to typecast himself. Wouldn’t you say?

Anyway, last night I was working on an assignment for the battling guys at Ross vs. Ross that’ll be released this coming Tuesday, and the piece I was writing on was The King’s Speech. One of the many things I love about this Oscar front-runner is the gorgeous soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat. I love this one titled Lionel and Bertie:

The rich and lush but yet understated score adds another layer of depth and poignancy to the story, and it fits the restrained mood of the British monarchy perfectly. I guess he’s no stranger to scoring a film about British monarch as he did the Oscar-nominated The Queen in 2007. Desplat’s other notable works include The Painted Veil, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

So, what are your weekend viewing plans, folks?