On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse – bassoons and basset horns – like a rusty squeezebox. And then suddenly, high above it, an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, until a clarinet took it 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 seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God.
My plan was so simple that it terrified me. First I must get the death mass and then I, I must achieve his death. His funeral! Imagine it, all of Vienna there, Mozart’s coffin, Mozart’s little coffin in the middle, and then suddenly, 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 dear 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! The only thing that bothered me was the actual killing. How does one do that? Hm? How does one kill a man? Well it’s one thing to dream about it; very different when you, when you have to do it with your own hands.
Amadeus, Antonio Salieri