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Subject: Re: Happy Birthday "Patron Saint of Mediocrity"
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Wed, 19 Aug 1998 10:47:26 -0500

text/plain (56 lines)

At 09:48 18.08.98 -0700, Roy wrote:
>Does anyone know how the rumor got started that he was involved in
>Mozart's death. I know there is a Rimsky-Korsakov opera based on
>Pushkin. But how soon after Mozart's death did rumors start to circulate
>in Vienna itself????

On Aug. 19, Michael Lorenz added:
>I refer all interested list-members to Thayer's most informative book
>'Salieri. Rival of Mozart', (admirably) edited by Theodore Albrecht,
>foreword by F. Murray Abraham, The Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City,
>Kansas City 1989.

        I would add another book: "MALIGNED MASTER: The Real Story of
     Antonio Salieri" by Volkmar Braunbehrens (1989) and translated into
     English by Eveline L. Kanes (1992), Fromm Int'l Publishing Corp., ISBN
     0-88064-155-X.  It is a sympathetic biography of Salieri.  The
     Foreward begins: "He was one of the most important composers of opera
     at the end of the 18th century. His works were performed all over
     Europe -- from Naples to Copenhaen, from Lisbon to Moscow.  In Paris
     he was esteemed as the legitimate heir to Gluck; the Paris Opera
     earned considerable profits for many years from one of his works. ...
     For decades he was the most influential musical personality in Vienna.
     In addition he was a sought-after teacher, whose students included
     Beethoven, Hummel, Moscheles and Schubert; even Liszt studied with him
     as a young man."
        The author makes the point that Salieri had no reason to be
     professionally jealous of Mozart.  Using every conceivable measure,
     Salieri was enormously successful as a composer during his lifetime --
     much more so than Mozart. The difference being that the frequency of
     performances of Salieri's compositions steadily declined over the
     years while Mozart's steadily increased and Salieri lived to see this
        The author also states that the rumor that Mozart had been poisoned
     began with the death notice published in the "Musikalische
     Wochenblatt" of Berlin which includes the statement: "Because his body
     swelled up after his death, it is even believed that he was poisoned."
     He does not pin point the beginning of the rumor that Salieri caused
     Mozart's death but does state that when Carl Maria von Weber (who
     could claim family ties to Mozart) visited Vienna in 1803 he visited
     Salieri and also first heard the rumors against Salieri.  Weber made
     it a point never again to have contact with Salieri.  So the rumor was
     alive by 1803. Salieri had a physical/emotional breakdown in 1823 and
     entered the sanitarium. In a "deranged state" he confessed to killing
     Mozart but in a later visit from Ignaz Moscheles he swore that the
     rumor was false and begged Moscheles to tell the world of his
        The book is quite interesting and only a very small part deals with
     the rumors of Mozart's murder or the relationship between Salieri and
     Mozart. In fact, while Mozart is mentioned in the book from time to
     time, Salieri did not have that many dealings directly with Mozart so
     his name does not come up that often. Mozart was certainly not the
     center of Salieri's life and concerns.

     Dale Golden, Louisville, KY

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