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Mozart: Serenade for Winds, K. 361

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: a first-rate film about being second-best…

In a famous scene from the Oscar-winning film “Amadeus,” a performance of this wind serenade leaves composer Antonio Salieri devastated with jealousy. Most devoted admirers of Mozart’s music will happily tell you that “Amadeus” was, historically speaking, a lot of hogwash. Most improbable among several misrepresentations is the speculation that Salieri sabotaged the great composer’s career. In reality, there is no evidence that Salieri even viewed Mozart as a rival. With such historical caveats in mind, however, it is no crime to enjoy “Amadeus” for what it is—a thought-provoking story of revenge, failure, and genius. Dramatist Peter Shafer’s inspiration was a play by Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Well before “Amadeus,” Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov had set Pushkin’s drama of musical revenge as a one-act opera!

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