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For the respect his works have commanded of musicians and the popularity they have enjoyed among wider audiences he is probably the most admired composer in the history of Western music With this appraisal the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians published in 1980 begins its magisterial article on Beethoven More than a decade later one might not apply this statement to the Teutonic Goliath but to the David of Mozart Not only is this year 1991 the bicentennial of Mozarts death it also comes at a time when his pristine classical image has become the preferred taste over Beethovens more extroverted expression Turn your channel to PBS where Hugh Downs or Peter Ustinov is narrating a Mozart special Turn to one of the commercial channels and Mozarts Piano Concerto K 466 and Little G Minor Symphony K 183173dB are selling MacIntosh computers Don Giovanni gives class to Cheer laundry detergent The Marriage of Figaro hawks the Sirocco automobile the Requiems Lacrymosa seemingly sanctifies Lee Jeans and another piano concerto K 482 perks Maxwell House coffee The recovery of a Mozart symphony even if juvenilia receives front-page coverage from The New York Times Dealers and collectors will go to any extreme for a piece of the action Mozart autographs sell at the same prices as fine paintings and dealers in one case dismembered the Andretter Serenade K 185 retailing it piecemeal for greater profit The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni now rival the box-office receipts of La Boheme and Madame Butterfly This popularization of Mozart did not come from the opera houses or concert halls -- its most direct beneficiaries -- but from the stage and screen More than any other factor the Mozart mania of the 1980s was initiated by Peter Shaffers play Amadeus It and the subsequent film directed by Milos Forman did more for Mozarts case than anything else in the two hundred years since the composers death Amadeus ran
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