Six directors meet six composers in six musical dramas which, by being a lot, but not Mozart, add an unusual and irreverent contribution to the celebration of the Mozart bicentennial. The different films are collaborations originating in and inspired by the object of the celebration: the result is a collection of free variations on a theme. The director's talents let the composer's relationship to Mozart come forth in the specially composed music which carries each film. M is for Man, Music, Mozart by Peter Greenaway/Louis Andriessen, is an ironic story about how man was created for the sake of music and music for the sake of Mozart. Tempus Fugit by Jeremy Newson/Michael Nyman, is an extravagant fantasy investigating Mozart's complicated relationship to his father. In Bring Me the Head of Amadeus by Barrie Gavin/H. K. Gruber, Mozart's newly discovered skull is stolen by a TV-technician and ends up in antique stores, horror cabinets and catacombs. Scipio's Dream, by Margaret Williams/Judith Weir, places the action of lesser known Mozart opera in a modern corporate center, while WAM! Ltd by Anthony Garner/Misha Megelberg plays with the thought that Mozart never existed. But Is It Mozart? by Ernst Granits features The Vienna Art Orchestra. Comment: A giant Mozart Kugel is about to crush the poor composer who is fighting for his life on the green Mountain sides outside of Salzburg. Is he going to survive or is the chocolate industry going to triumph in the end? The Austrians have immortalized their musical hero in a, for their nation, characteristic way - through chocolates, pastries, and candy in golden wrappers. The musical genius is hiding somewhere beneath sugar, whipped cream and chocolate. A genius, whose death two hundred years ago maries the birth of a modern music. Two hundred years of musical history - two hundred years of ''not Mozart''. Not Mozart is a sixfold tribute to Mozart: six composers and six directors are giving their versions of Mozart's life, death and posthumous existence for the past two centuries. Michael Nyman has written the music to Jeremy Newson's bizarre Tempus Fugit, a surrealist story about Mozart's admittance to the society of dead composers, whose fellows live in a heaven of marble. A pevish Beethoven (with slightly impaired hearing) and an easily irritable Haydn observe from their eternal perspective the musical wonder child, not yet admitted to the marble academy. The action takes place on many irreconcilable levels, which sometimes are exposed simultaneously: we're thrown between a performance of The Magic Flute, the slumbering Mozart's dreams and the composers' eternal heaven. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dreams about his greedy and dominating father who literally is devouring his son. Mozart walks in his dream on his father's tongue, surrounded by mountain chains of teeth. To a higher degree than the other contributors, Jeremy Newson uses biographical material, like the correspondence between Amadeus and his demanding father Leopold Mozart. But parallel to Mozart's dreams runs another thread of a more philosophical and music theoretical kind. The main character here is Michael Nyman. He is accused of having copied his film music from Mozart (it's for example based on Sarrasu'o's aria in the second act of The Magic Flute). Joseph Haydn is the prosecuter, the defense attorney, Beethoven. Nyman is released because of insufficient copyright laws. Newson plays on the difference between the historical and a timeless (heavenly) level, while Anthony Garner tackle the theme in quite a different way in WAM! Ltd. The linear story has been broken down to a sort of computer simulated now. In a post-historical-sphere - where the past can be retreived and simulated in endless variations - Mozart meets Clara Shumann in a computer thriller from beginning to end. Peter Greenaway's M is for Man, Music, Mozart, also has a historical-philosophical dimension. It's a film about the creation of modern man. Concurrently with Louis Andriessen's monotonous and progressively over-excited music, man is created on the examination table of an anatomical theater. Greenaway works with a many levelled surface image; image is pasted over image, scientific tables, and occult symbols are inserted, texts flicker by. The result is an infinitely complex tapestry where the flesh meets the digital in high-tech Baroque. Greenaway is as usual interested in excess and abundance - a plethora of naked flesh, food, and blood, rush toward the spectator. This is not an amorphous and chaotic diversity, but a sensous content, regulated by implacable logic. The living in Greenaway are always controlled by principles of death: the warm flesh is always kept in place by the ice cold eye of the pathologist. Greenaway is mainly interested in periods before the modern, particularly the 16th and 17th centuries. He puts a parenthesis around modernism and instead he lets the present make connections with older esthetics and philosophical ideals from which he gathers completely new energies. In his short film The Death in Seine, formally similar to the Mozart film, Greenaway investigates the judicial and social situation at the time of the French Revolution - the birth of modern politics. He returns to the same time now: M is for Man, Music, Mozart is about the birth of modern man. The four steps on the (evolutionary) ladder are: Flesh, Movement, Music and Mozart! The fact that Mozart's death coincides with the birth of modern esthetics and concepts of art, allow for some (over- )speculative interpretations of this bicentennial. Others let the historical aspect go in favor of pure fiction. Barrie Gavin, for example, in his Bring Me the Head of Mozart, where a dreaming composer's crazy nightmares eventually turn into a parody of the Austrian dishonest relationship to its past. Scipio's Dream by Margaret Williams belongs to the lighter contributions - she sets Mozart's opera in a modern corporate surrounding. Scipio is a bored business man whose two secretaries suddenly are transformed into goddesses. They talee away the baffled hero to a heaven crowded with body guards, Japanese motorbikes and bubble pools. Not Mozart reaches between Greenaway's strict investigation of the prehistory of modernity and pure nonsense-associations around Mozart's life and work. The Vienna Art Orchesu'a's variations on some themes from Mozart in But Is It Mozart? are interrupted by small absurdities: the big Mozart Kugel threatening to crush the little 18th century composer. He's fighting for his life, but is saved by a tiny Japanese girl. When the golden wrapper is pealed off, the candy is all of a sudden very small. And disappears in the girl's mouth. DANIEL BIRNBAUM

Not Mozart
Peter Greenaway, Jeremy Newson, Pat Gavin
Great Britain/The Netherlands/Austria
6 min
Special Presentations
English, German
Production year
Ben Craft, Karen Potisk, Julian Glover
Elizabeth Queenan, Annette Morreau
Peter Greenaway, Jeremy Newson, Thomas Pluch
Louis Andriessen, Michael Nyman, H.K. Gruger, Judith Weir, Misha Mengelberg, Mathias Ruegg

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