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.