||What happened to the boy Tadzio on the Venetian Lido beach in Thomas Mann’s
and Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice?
“If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the
appetite may sicken, and so die. Enough; no more: 'Tis not so sweet now as it was
before.” This could be the key to Tadzio’s possible story some 40 years later, for
Tadzio, or someone very much like him, cannot relinquish the memory of a piece
of music and all it meant for him. He becomes a violent blackmailer preying on
sexual indiscretions, becoming wealthy enough to employ his own quartet of
musicians to play him Vivaldi bassoon concertos on demand – in prison, in the
courtroom, in the streets, in restaurants, swimming-pools, in his bedroom when he
is making love to his mistress. He lives a lie as a macho functioning heterosexual
because of his boyhood seduction by a Venetian bassoon player who played Vivaldi
to accompany the thrilling destructive experience he obsessively and hopelessly
attempts to recover. Recovery is an impossibility on every level. His attempts to
relive the experience destroys him.