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