Saturday, 10 May 2014

50 Songs to take to my grave #8: Overture from ‘The Marriage Of Figaro’

Ooh, a curveball. Yes, for amid the piles of indie and alternative records and CDs in my collection, there is a vague smattering of classical tunes. One piece in particular always stirs a reaction in me. For some reason, the opening overture from Mozart's ‘Marriage Of Figaro’ really invigorates me. It has a real sense of mischief about it, a bit like Mozart himself; he was never one to stick by the rules.

The first time I heard it was when I saw the Dan Aykroyd/Eddie Murphy movie ‘Trading Places’ way back in the 80s when I probably wasn't old enough to watch it; it’s used during the title sequence. It struck me almost immediately, even then, as something rather uplifting and just a little bit cheeky. I had no idea at the time that ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ (to give it its proper Italian title) had initially been banned in Vienna for its licentiousness, but if the opening piece was anything to go by, it hinted that this was going to stray into slightly ‘naughty’ territory (by the standards of the day, at least).

Look, I’m no classical buff, and certainly no critic of the genre so cut me some slack here, but in these few short minutes, we have an indication that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the rock star of his day. It’s a brilliant example of his genius, and little surprise that its popularity remains strong 228 years on.

This one’s bound to raise an eyebrow or two when it’s played at my wake. Wolfie would surely approve of that.

Here's a wonderful take performed by the Wiener Symphoniker in 2006, conducted by Fabio Luisi.

1 comment:

  1. (This might be a duplicate, just posted a comment but it didn't show).

    It was *that* movie which alerted me to Wolfie. I then went on and listened to all of his works.
    As you said he was the rock star of his day. The bloke was a genius.