Today in History: May 7

antonio_salieri_painted_by_joseph_willibrord_mahler

 

1825:

The demise of Mozart’s adversary,

Italian composer,

Salieri.*

*Antonio Salieri  died at the age of 74, outliving Mozart by 34 years.  He was a key figure in the history of opera, especially in Vienna.  Among his students were Beethoven, Liszt, and Shubert.  His renown faded and his works were largely neglected in performance until late in the 20th century when Peter Shaffer’s play “Amadeus” **and its movie version brought them renewed scrutiny and attention.  In 2015 WFMT showcased 5 of Salieri’s operas, including “The Great Kubla Khan of the Tartars” [cf. “Today in History: May 5].  If you should listen to any of  his operas, says WFMT, don’t expect Mozart.  That would be “like biting into an apple hoping for an orange.”

 

amadeus2
**“I looked on astounded as from his ordinary life he made his art. We were both ordinary men, he and I. Yet from the ordinary he created Legends–and I from Legends created only the ordinary!”
Peter Shaffer, Amadeus

 

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  • What a torment it must have been to have to watch Mozart -- even though I know "Amadeus" was dramatized, it had elements to work with. But to see Salieri as himself great because of his teaching is important -- Beethoven, Liszt AND Schubert all benefitted from his life, and we benefit from them all.

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