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Classical Innovators: Antonio Salieri

November 07, 2008
by Liz Colville
These days, Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) is better known for his connection to Mozart than for being a talent in his own right. But much of the information surrounding the two composers' relationship is apocryphal, or at least hotly debated. The court composer of Austria was actually a good friend of Mozart, or so it is alleged.

Mozart's Rival?

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The play "Amadeus" and its Oscar-winning film adaptation portray Mozart and Salieri as rivals; Salieri comes across as a bitter and jealous person, who nonetheless stood by Mozart's side during difficult times. But it wasn't just "Amadeus" that put Salieri in a negative light.For years after Salieri's death, rumors persisted that he had actually poisoned Mozart. Discover the truth by reading his biography on the Web site of classical music label Naxos. You'll also learn a bit about his compositions and find links to audio samples, plus albums and DVDs of Salieri's music available for purchase.
Learn a little bit more about the Mozart-Salieri relationship with the essay "'Amadeus' and Mozart: Setting the Record Straight." The play and the movie "Amadeus" were extremely popular with general audiences; the film received a Best Picture Academy Award. However, musical historians were annoyed by the many discrepancies they found in the storyline and the portrayals of the main characters. Read what classical music writer A. Peter Brown has to say about the differences between fact and fiction.

At the Opera

Learn more about Salieri's life and work from a biography on Musical Academy Online. Salieri composed many well-received operas and a great deal of sacred music in his lifetime. Salieri was also highly regarded as a teacher of singers, particularly colatura sopranos, as well as of composers: among these were Franz Liszt and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Listen to more samples of Salieri's music, including the complete overture of his popular opera, "Les Danaïdes," or purchase a Salieri album for download from the music site Last.fm.
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