TV & Radio
♪ もちろん、"re-compose"は「(再)構成」と「作曲」をかけたシャレ。でも、 "Dissonance"「不協和音」（弦楽四重奏曲第19番ハ長調K.465)に終わらなきゃいいけど。
The Sunday Times January 08, 2006
Mozart to recompose European constitution
Nicola Smith, Brussels
THE spirit of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is to be evoked in an attempt to resurrect the failed European constitution.
Austria took over the European Union’s rotating presidency last week and wants to use a conference in Mozart’s home town of Salzburg on January 27 — the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth — to bring new harmony to “Europe’s orchestra”, which notably failed to play in tune during 2005.
The Austrian initiative will dovetail with two other attempts in Brussels to save the unpopular constitutional document from the shredder. One is a “Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate”, drawn up by the European commission, and the other is the European parliament’s unfortunately named Duff report, co-written by Andrew Duff, a British Liberal Democrat MEP.
The idea of a Europe-wide public debate on the aims of the 25-nation bloc was first mooted by EU leaders last June after the Dutch and French rejected the constitution, effectively killing off the ratification process. Britain, which had the presidency for the second half of the year, avoided the issue, concentrating instead on securing a deal on the EU budget.
To relaunch the constitution, Wolfgang Schüssel, chancellor of Austria, has invited figures from the arts, scientists, diplomats and the media to contribute ideas on European identity while being serenaded by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Tony Blair and other EU leaders are not expected to attend.
The Austrians hope the conference will be inspired by Mozart, who “transcended borders with his music and was at home throughout Europe”.
The link with Austria’s wunderkind has prompted amusement and despair among some officials in Brussels. “The only spirit of Mozart necessary for this constitution should be Mozart’s Requiem,” joked one official.
The event has been named The Sound of Europe, an allusion to the 1960s film The Sound of Music, which was filmed in the Salzburg area. Austria said it chose the title because the film “had a happy ending”.
Schüssel has sought to play down his country’s ambitions in reviving the document, saying Austria will not bring about a “messianic transformation” in Europe. “I am in favour of a discussion phase to start with,” he said in a recent interview. “It is important that we form a clear picture of the concerns of citizens.”
But he has pledged to produce a timetable and “road map” for the constitution by June, when EU leaders gather in Brussels for a summit.
They are then expected to decide whether to persevere with the constitution, or redraft all or part of it before putting it to voters again. The task of finding a way out of the crisis may yet fall to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor who became Europe’s golden girl in December after she brokered a deal on the EU budget. Germany takes over the presidency at the start of next year.
The European commission has launched Plan D, which will use celebrities as “European goodwill ambassadors” and aims to target young people and minorities. Margot Wallstrom, the communications commissioner, is urging television chiefs to create programmes on the EU that will attract public attention.
“I feel very much frustrated,” Wallstrom said. “Politically many governments do not think they can score any new points and this makes it something they won’t take on because there’s not so much political profit to make. We need leaders that defend the whole idea.”
The commission hopes to have the first conclusions from its public consultation ready by April, boosted by a conference on May 9 — the official “Europe Day” celebration and a public holiday for EU officials. Until recently the commission had stuck to its political mantra that there should be “no cherry-picking” of parts of the constitution. Cracks are already starting to show, however. Last week Jacques Barrot, the French transport commissioner, broke ranks by suggesting that certain parts of the constitution could be removed to save the rest of the charter.
The European parliament is also weighing in. A report co-written by Andrew Duff, a British Liberal Democrat MEP, and Johannes Voggenhuber, an Austrian Green, calls for parliamentarians to draw up a new text by the end of 2007. It would then be put to voters when they go to the polls in 2009 for elections to the parliament.
Duff says he wants it to be non-binding, however, avoiding the awkward problem of what to do if it is rejected.
Scientists claim they have cracked the mystery of Amadeus's skull
The mystery began more than a century ago, when a skull claimed to be that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was brought to the foundation in Salzburg dedicated to the city’s most famous son, writes Peter Conradi.
It may finally be solved this afternoon, when some of the world’s leading forensic scientists will reveal in a documentary to be screened on Austrian television whether these are indeed the last remains of the composer, born 250 years ago this month.
Mozart, who died in 1791, is believed to have been buried in an unmarked grave in Vienna. Legend has it that years later a gravedigger who knew which body was Mozart’s stole his skull, which eventually found its way to the International Mozarteum Foundation.
Experts have long been fascinated by the skull, which lacks a lower jaw, but have never been able to say for sure if it was Mozart’s.
Burgl Czeitschner, who wrote the documentary, said the forensic search began with the hunt for female relatives of Mozart. Genetic material was then extracted from the women’s thigh bones and compared by scientists at Innsbruck University’s forensic institute with DNA from two teeth extracted from the skull.
Their result was clear, Czeitschner said — and had been 100% replicated by experts at America’s Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, in Rockville, Maryland.
Experts warn, however, that whatever the result it is unlikely to settle the question for good, not least because mitochondrial DNA, the type being used for the tests, does not produce definitive results.