About Tabitha

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Tabitha Suzuma is of Anglo-Japanese descent and was born in London, the eldest of five children. She attended a French school in the UK and grew up bilingual. However, she hated school and would sit at the back of the class and write stories. Aged 14, Tabitha left school against her parents' wishes. She got a job as an assistant dance teacher and also worked at a centre for children with Cerebral Palsy. She continued her education through distance learning and went on to study French Literature at King's College London. After graduating, Tabitha worked as a primary school teacher and wrote her first novel, A NOTE OF MADNESS, whilst teaching full-time. In 2004 Tabitha left classroom teaching and began to divide her time between writing and tutoring. This gave her time to write her next four novels: FROM WHERE I STAND - a psychological thriller. WITHOUT LOOKING BACK - about a family on the run. A VOICE IN THE DISTANCE - sequel to A NOTE OF MADNESS. And then her latest book, and most controversial and challenging book to date: FORBIDDEN, about consensual sibling incest: a brother and sister who fall in love. Tabitha is currently working on her sixth novel.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Favourite scenes and quotes from my favourite movie: Amadeus

 This is probably my favourite scene of all time from any movie:
Whilst plotting Mozart's death, the scheming Salieri helps a dying Mozart compose his own requiem mass

And this my second: a horrified and awe-stricken Salieri discovers the extent of Mozart's genius

Classical music has always been a huge part of my life. I started learning the violin when I was two and later taught myself to play the piano. I began teaching my brother to play when he was six months old and he is now studying at the Royal Academy of Music to become a concert pianist. As a teenager, singing was my great passion - I had weekly lessons and took part in amateur musicals. I still love to sing and regularly compete in karaoke contests or perform at friends' parties. It was perhaps no surprise then that my first novel A Note of Madness was about a teenage musical genius, and that the main character, Flynn, was loosely based on my then teenage brother.

I had been a musical child before seeing Amadeus - started the violin at two, taught myself the piano later on. But it was this film that started my life-long love affair with classical music and I remember the day I went to see it (aged 10!) as if it were yesterday. I had been invited by my mother's friend and I wasn't looking forward to it at all. I didn't want to go to see 'some boring film about a long-dead composer', but my mother thought it would be rude to cancel. Thank goodness she didn't, because that night I came out of the cinema a different person.


Salieri: While my father prayed earnestly to God to protect commerce, I would offer up secretly the proudest prayer a boy could think of: Lord, make me a great composer. Let me celebrate Your glory through music and be celebrated myself. Make me famous through the world, dear God. Make me immortal. After I die, let people speak my name forever with love for what I wrote. In return, I will give You my chastity, my industry, my deepest humility, every hour of my life, Amen.

Salieri: I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.

Priest: Yes, I know that! Oh, that's charming! I'm sorry, I didn't know you wrote that.
Salieri: I didn't. That was Mozart. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Priest: The man you accuse yourself of killing.
Salieri: He was my idol. Mozart... I can't think of a time when I didn't know his name.

Salieri: They showed no corrections of any kind. Not one. He had simply written down music already finished in his head. Page after page of it as if he were just taking dictation. And music, finished as no music is ever finished. Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall.

Salieri: 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 the very voice of God.

Salieri: All I wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing...and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn't want me to praise him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent?

Salieri: I heard the music of true forgiveness filling the theater, conferring on all who sat there, perfect absolution. God was singing through this little man to all the world, unstoppable, making my defeat more bitter with every passing bar.

Salieri: That was not Mozart laughing, Father... that was God!

Salieri (addressing a crucifix): From now on we are enemies, You and I. Because You choose for Your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy and give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation. Because You are unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block You, I swear it. I will hinder and harm Your creature on earth as far as I am able.

Emperor: My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.
Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?

Count: Mozart, you are not the only composer in Vienna.
Mozart: No. But I'm the best!

Mozart: It's unbelievable, the director has actually torn up a huge section of my music. They say I have to rewrite the opera. But it's perfect as it is! I can't rewrite what's perfect!

Mozart: Sire, only opera can do this. In a play if more than one person speaks at the same time, it's just noise, no one can understand a word. But with opera, with music - with music you can have twenty individuals all talking at the same time, and it's not noise, it's a perfect harmony!

Mozart: I am fed up to the teeth with elevated themes! Old dead legends! Why must we go on forever writing about gods and legends?

Salieri: So rose the dreadful ghost from his next and blackest opera. There, on the stage, stood the figure of a dead commander. And I knew, only I understood that the horrifying apparition was Leopold raised from the dead! Wolfgang had summoned up his own father to accuse his son before all the world! As I stood there understanding how that bitter old man was still possessing his poor son even from beyond the grave, I began to see a terrible way I could finally triumph over God. My plan was so simple. It terrified me. First I must get the death mass and then, I must achieve his death ... 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!

Constanze Mozart: Why on earth won't you finish it? Can you give me one reason I can understand?
Mozart: It's killing me.



Mozart: 'Confutatis maledictis' - when the wicked are confounded. 'Flammis Acribus Adictis'. How would you translate that?
Salieri: Consigned to flames of woe.
Mozart: Do you believe in it?
Salieri: What?
Mozart: A fire which never dies, burning you forever?
Salieri: Oh yes.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOVIE? COMMENT TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS.

3 comments:

  1. I saw this quite recently on DVD and was really impressed with it. the two leads are amazing and of course the music is wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Susan MacEnteeJune 30, 2014 3:16 am

    F. Murray Abraham is the finest actor I have ever seen ... he was magnificent in Amadeus!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Susan MacEnteeJune 30, 2014 3:17 am

    F. Murray Abraham is the finest actor I have ever seen ... he was magnificent in Amadeus!

    ReplyDelete

I look forward to reading your comments!