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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

  1. Standard member Grampy Bobby
    Boston Lad
    18 Aug '13 09:47
    Antonio Salieri's Birth Date: August 18, 1750

    "Today is the birthday of Italian-born Viennese composer Antonio Salieri, born in Legnago, in the Republic of Venice (1750). Although he was quite popular in the 18th century, he probably wouldn't be well known today were it not for the movie Amadeus (1984). The movie was based on Peter Shaffer's play by the same name (1979), which was in turn based on a short play by Aleksandr Pushkin, which was called Mozart and Salieri (1830). These stories all present Salieri as a mediocre and uninspired composer who was jealous of Mozart's musical genius; Salieri tried to discredit Mozart at every turn, and some versions of the story even accuse him of poisoning his rival.

    But, in fact, Salieri was a talented and successful composer, writing the scores for several popular operas. He had a happy home life with his wife and eight children. And because he had received free voice and composition lessons from a generous mentor as a young man, he also gave most of his students the benefit of free instruction. Some of his pupils included Beethoven, Franz Liszt, and Franz Schubert. He was the Kapellmeister — the person in charge of music — for the Austrian emperor for 36 years. He and Mozart were competitors, but their rivalry was usually a friendly one; Salieri visited Mozart when he was dying, and was one of the few people to attend his funeral.

    Salieri suffered from dementia late in his life and died in 1825. He had composed his own requiem 20 years earlier, and it was performed for the first time at his funeral." (writers almanac/august 18)
  2. 18 Aug '13 13:12
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    [b]Antonio Salieri's Birth Date: August 18, 1750

    "Today is the birthday of Italian-born Viennese composer Antonio Salieri, born in Legnago, in the Republic of Venice (1750). Although he was quite popular in the 18th century, he probably wouldn't be well known today were it not for the movie Amadeus (1984). The movie was based on Peter Shaffer's ...[text shortened]... lier, and it was performed for the first time at his funeral." (writers almanac/august 18)[/b]
    Indeed Salieri gets a very bad rap and was actually a decent, hard working man who composed copiously for years and years. It was not uncommon for people to get accused of poisoning in those days especially when sudden death occurred. History relegates many a composer to the heap of oblivion for unknown reasons and others gain fame for mediocre works. Indeed Salieri as well as Haydn were Beethoven's teachers and both sent Beethoven to alternative school with Albrechtsberger for musical incorregibility. But back to Salieri. He was indeed much better than mediocre and simply unlucky to be contemporary with one of history's greatest. Schubert might have suffered the same fate had two British musicologists, one of them Sir George grove, the other unknown, not discovered Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony" and a bunch of lieder. I am sure Salieri influenced Schubert's polish and taught him how to mine his extraordinary skill for melody.

    On the subject of poisoning, one of the subjects of Mozart's operas, Mithridates, King of Pontus, "Mitridate Re di Ponto", took small doses of poison daily to make himself immune from poison, succeeded so well that when Pompey the Great was closing in he took a massive dose, this fails, so his servant had to run him through with a short sword for him to die.