BOSTON — Berklee College of Music professor Edwin Bruckner recently compiled several examples of humorous, offensive skits that had originally appeared in the compositions of Mozart and other classical composers, according to titillated colleagues.
“One of the newly restored skits which appears after Number 40’s second movement features Mozart as the proprietor of a butcher shop. When a comely young maiden examines his wares, he boasts about how the sausage he offers is the biggest and best in all of Vienna, and suggests she sample it,” said Bruckner. “This sort of vulgar innuendo is typical of Mozart’s humorous braggadocio. Contemporary examples of self-aggrandizing comedic musical interludes, such as those by the Wu-Tang Clan, can draw a direct line of influence to the groundbreaking work of Amadeus and his peers.”
Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra second chair cellist Andrea Breen believes adding the comedy bits back would generate buzz and help energize the classical world.
“Obviously, I love classical music, but I can also understand some of the criticisms levied against it. People accuse classical of being boring or too high brow,” said Breen. “I think if conductors were to re-incorporate these ribald bits into the pieces, we’d see younger, more enthusiastic crowds coming to our performances. I’m a purist, so I want the compositions to be presented in full, crass sketches and all. My favorite is the one where Mozart is counting a big stack of money, ruthlessly denigrating his rivals while his entourage laughs—it would absolutely kill if people could hear it.”
Mozart biographer Antonín Gruber believes he knows why the skits have been largely forgotten.
“In my years of research, I’ve managed to piece together a compelling case pointing the finger at Mozart’s musical rival Antonio Salieri as being the scoundrel who instigated the mass-excision of skits,” explained Gruber. “Salieri was a notoriously rigid and humorless fellow with a pathological jealousy of Mozart’s compositional genius as well as his comedy writing ability. After Mozart’s death, he convinced conductors that skits were low class and should be omitted. Eventually, due to his influence, classical skits fell out of favor all together and composers stopped writing them. They’ve been effectively lost to history.”
At press time, Bruckner had been hired to consult on an upcoming Rachmaninoff performance which includes a scene dramatizing the composer horrifically taunting and torturing adversary Alexander Scriabin.