Exploding the Salieri myth | Music | The Guardian
To say that Antonio Salieri has had a bad press would be putting it mildly. Popular culture has cast him as the villain of the piece in the early. Salieri saw himself as a German composer, which some of his German There is, however, far more evidence of a cooperative relationship For example, Mozart appointed Salieri to teach his son Franz. of the life and works of Antonio Salieri including his relationship with Mozart and the alledged In Salieri's mother died and shortly afterwards his father .
Thayer believes that the intrigues surrounding the failure of Figaro were instigated by the poet Giovanni Battista Casti against the Court Poet, Lorenzo da Ponte, who wrote the Figaro libretto. In addition, when da Ponte was in Prague preparing the production of Mozart's setting of his Don Giovanni, the poet was ordered back to Vienna for a royal wedding for which Salieri's Axur, Re d'Ormus would be performed. Obviously, Mozart was not pleased by this.
There is, however, far more evidence of a cooperative relationship between the two composers than one of real enmity.
For example, Mozart appointed Salieri to teach his son Franz Xaver, and when Salieri was appointed Kapellmeister inhe revived Figaro instead of bringing out a new opera of his own, and when he went to the coronation festivities for Leopold II inhe had no fewer than three Mozart masses in his luggage. Salieri and Mozart even composed a song for voice and piano together, called Per la ricuperata salute di Ophelia, which was celebrating the happy return to stage of the famous singer Nancy Storace.
This song has been lost, although it had been printed by Artaria in Mozart's Davidde penitente K. It was shortly after he died that rumors first spread that he had confessed to Mozart's murder on his deathbed. At least one of these three people was with him throughout his hospitalization. Within a few years after Salieri's death inAleksandr Pushkin wrote his "little tragedy," Mozart and Salieri as a dramatic study of the sin of envy, thus beginning an artistic tradition of poetic license based on Mozart's allegation.
Salieri is presented as both in awe and spite for Mozart and his talents, going so far as to renounce God for blessing Mozart, whilst also weeping in disbelief at the sound of the composer's music. Due largely to Shaffer's play and its movie adaptation, the word "Salieri" has entered colloquialization to mean a merely competent artist standing in the shadow of a genius, or worse, an incompetent musician.
Recent popularity Inmezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli released The Salieri Album, a CD with 13 arias from Salieri's operas, most of which had never been recorded before. Sincethere have also been complete recordings issued of the operas Falstaff, Les Danaides, and La Grotta di Trofonio. Although he has yet to fully re-enter the standard repertory, performances of Salieri's works are progressively becoming more regular occurrences.
The Real Story of Antonio Salieri. Warner Home Video, Antonio Salieri and Viennese Opera. University of Chicago Press, Mass in D Major. Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation.
The librettoLibretto - The story and words in an opera. La Finta Semplice it seemed, was doomed to fail even before it was written. Within a few months, rehearsals began when the project began to unravel.
The singers complained their parts were too difficult and the orchestra refused to take direction from a boy. Mozart was doing extensive rewrites when the impresarioImpresario - The agent, organizer or manager of an opera or concert company. Leopold Mozart petitioned the court for reimbursement of his expenses but was refused.
This trip would mark the beginning of a lifelong perception on Leopold's part that cabalsCabal - A group of conspirators.
Antonio Salieri - New World Encyclopedia
A clique, as in artistic, literary, or theatrical circles. In truth, such mutinies are common in the world of theater and opera and are generally less than conspiratorial in their intent.
Yet, Leopold would hold a grudge for Wolfgang's treatment to end of his days and regard all Italians as 'rascals'. In later life, Wolfgang too would come to suspect conspiracies against himself. Mozart departed Vienna after a one and a half year stay and except for a brief visit four years later, would not return for twelve years.
The opportunity for Salieri to write a complete opera came infour years after arriving in Vienna. There was a young dancer and would be poet in the court opera at that time by the name of Giovanni Boccherini, brother of famed composer Luigi Boccherini - The aspiring young poet had written a libretto entitled La Donna Letterate which he was anxious to have set to music.
The libretto had been intended for Gassmann but since he was away in Rome, one of Boccherini's friends persuaded him to present it to Salieri.
He reasoned that since both of them were novices it would be easier for them to work together. Salieri was delighted at the opportunity and plunged headlong into the project all the while intending to allow Gassmann the opportunity to 'correct' it.
Within four weeks the opera was two thirds finished when plans changed. The court impresario had just brought out a new opera that failed miserably and he was desperate for a replacement.
The young Boccherini, excited at the possibility, mentioned that he and Salieri had a nearly completed opera in the works. Salieri recalls how he was mystified when he was called into the presence of Kapellmeister Gluck -the impresario and others.
Mozart’s Opera “The Impresario”
Boccherini had failed to mention to Salieri that he had pitched their project. The Kapellmeister asked Salieri to do a run through and he and the others assisted with some of the singing parts. When they were through, the much revered Gluck told the fledgling Salieri, "this work contains what is sufficient to give the public pleasure" and gave the young men the green light to go into rehearsal.
On the morning of the first performance Salieri recalls he was so excited that he walked throughout Vienna looking at each of the playbills that had been posted. Salieri's first opera was a success and would go on to be performed again, three years later, in Prague.
Gassmann had the opportunity to hear Salieri's first effort at one of the Emperor's nightly chamber music concerts when he returned from Rome. He was both pleased and impressed with the new opera. La Donna Letterate was the first time Salieri had collected a fee and it marked the end of his apprenticeship. Immediately after his first success Salieri wrote L'amore innocente which was also successful and was produced three times. This was followed by Don Chisciotte alle nozze di Gamace, a short piece which was not well received.
Don Chisciotte alle nozze di Gamace, Overture Excerpt Armida was the subject of Salieri's fourth opera, composed in In this piece Salieri embraced many of the opera reform ideas being advocated by Kapellmeister Gluck who was blazing the reform trail.
In writing Armida, Coltellini and Salieri stripped the story of much of it's sub plots and kept the action moving. Of particular note is the overture where Salieri uses it to set the stage by musically describing action prior to the first scene; a new devise at that time.
Oddly though, Salieri immediately reverted to the more comfortable ground of convention producing fashionable pieces for the next fifteen years. Though many writers claimed Salieri to be Gluck's heir, in truth he would ultimately write very few operas in that vein. A pity since Salieri was at his best in that role. Armida was a great success and was being produced well into the next decade as the opera made it's way across Germany and into Copenhagen.
In Salieri would produce three operas. All were successful but the first of these, La fiera di Venezia, is regarded as one of his better efforts. Boccherini supplied the libretto once again and the opera conjured up images of life in Venice with scenes of a fair, a masquerade and romantic couples. It was produced more than thirty times throughout Europe during Salieri's life. Thayer mentions this opera was, " The other two works that year were Il barone di Rocca antica and La secchia rapita and achieved moderate success.
Having gotten his operatic feet wet, Salieri embarked on a more ambitious project. It would demonstrate a growing tendency on Salieri's part to experiment with style and form. In this opera, libretto by Domenico Poggi after Goldoni, Salieri subordinates the music to the words thereby emphasizing dialog and requiring convincing acting.
In spite of that, the opera contains many beautiful melodies. La Locandiera was highly successful, initially receiving thirty four performances at the court theater and was produced throughout Europe. Critics of the time disliked the poor libretto calling it "childish" and commented that Salieri's music, though at times pleasing, was too serious and didn't suit the scenario.
Also at the end of Mozart and his Father returned to Vienna for two months. Leopold is vague and secretive in his letters from this time but it appears he was investigating the possibility of a court appointment for Wolfgang. Except for a few modest concerts, their stay was low key and they departed in September. The year began with the death of HofkapellmeisterHofkapellmeister - The court Kapellmeister.
Gassmann as the result of a freak carriage accident. The horses dragged him along for three quarters of an hour and two of his ribs were bent inward in his chest His condition gradually worsened resulting in his death four years later. This was a great loss to Vienna and deeply affected not only Salieri but Emperor Joseph. For Salieri, he had lost his adopted Father who had given him the encouragement and means to pursue his passion.
Gassmann's kindness to Salieri was motivated by the fact that Gassmann had run away from home as a boy and found himself destitute in Italy. A priest took him in and not only saw to his basic needs but educated him, ultimately sending him to Bologna for a thorough music education.
Salieri, in gratitude, saw to the needs of Gassmann's widow and children for as long as he lived. With the passing of Gassmann, musical posts in the court were vacant and as in any court, there was an ensuing shuffle.
Giuseppe Bonno -age 65, took over the position of Hofkapellmeister. The title of Court Composer, held by Bonno, was assumed by Salieri. Additionally, Salieri became Kapellmeister of the Court Opera. The exact circumstances of the second promotion, to the court opera, will be revealed later. The following account of Salieri's courtship is abridged from a lengthy narrative found in Salieri's effects. In February of that year, Salieri had been asked to provide music lessons for a young Countess in the convent of St Lorenz.
Salieri's lesson appointment was from At the lunch hour the girls would pass through the music room on their way to the dining room and she was in the procession that day. Of her he says that she was " Again, on the following day she did not appear with the other girls. Finally, on the third day of her absence, she passed through the room alone, after the others had gone. She paused and Salieri bowed to her respectfully as if to say he missed her and says he thought he detected in her glance a similar feeling.
He continued to observe her pass through the music room on the days he taught there, all the while questioning himself as to whether she had reciprocal feelings or if he might be deceiving himself. After two weeks of watching her pass through the music room, he finally had occasion to speak to her. On the second Sunday after first seeing her, he was late attending services at St.
Stephan Cathedral - Vienna and found that the chapel was full.