Mozart believed in God. His Creation, his life, his letters bear witness to his faith. One source for his happiness was his religion, which was sound and free from all superstition – a firm, strong kind of faith which doubt had never injured though it may have touched it. It was also a calm and peaceful faith, without passion or mysticism: Credo quia verum. He believed from the depth of his being and he bestowed God the most precious offering of his spirit. He was in peace with the thought of eternity. And his happiness on earth was in the love of those who loved him and especially in his love for them. But Mozart’s true happiness was in his creation.
There are times when Mozart’s soul soars higher still and attains sublime and quiet regions where the stirrings of human passion are unknown. At such times Mozart is above himself, deified human being expressing his greatness through God’s will. The Voice of God on earth.
In Mozart’s work such heights were but a few, and Mozart’s faith seems only to find such expression when he wishes to reassure himself. Mozart was a believer from the first; his faith is firm and calm and knows no disquietudes, so he does not talk about it; rather does he speak of the gracious and ephemeral world about him, which he loves so well and which he wishes to love him. But when a dramatic subject opens a way to the expression of religious feeling, or, when grave cares and suffering or presentiments of death destroy the joy of life and turn his thoughts to God, then Mozart is himself no longer – that Mozart the world knows and loves. In such dramatic moments we can have a glimpse of what he might have become if death had not stopped him on the way! In three great works, particularly, has Mozart expressed the Divine: that is in the Requiem, in Don Giovanni and in Die Zauberflöte. The Requiem breathes of Christian faith in all its purity. Mozart there put worldly pleasure away from him, and kept only his heart, which came fearfully and in humble repentance to speak with God. Sorrowful fear and gentle contrition united with a noble faith run through all that work. The touching sadness and personal accent of certain phrases suggest that Mozart was thinking of himself when he asked eternal repose for others.
In Mozart’s time the Christian had no representations of Divinity other than the ones offered by the Church in its rituals and temples. If Mozart could have watched Franco Zeffirelli’s movie Jesus of Nazareth he could have discovered the alive, human-like dimension of Jesus. I have the feeling that such experience would have moved him deeply…
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