Maligned Master: The Real Story of Antonio Salieri

Volkmar Braunbehrens, Author, Eveline L. Kanes, Translator Fromm International $25 (276p) ISBN 978-0-88064-140-1
This admirable biography sets out to right the record on the composer who was rumored to have poisoned Mozart. Salieri (1750-1825), who was born in Italy and taken to Vienna as a young orphan, became court composer to Emperor Joseph II and the most influential figure in the Viennese musical world of the late 18th century. He wrote more than 40 operas (some of which were performed throughout Europe), directed Italian opera at the National Theater, was in charge of music at the royal court, and taught Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt, among others. Braunbehrens ( Mozart in Vienna ) analyzes Salieri's works, emphasizing his role in the development of opera as musical theater. He also discusses Salieri's relationships with his most important librettists, Da Ponte, Beaumarchais and Casti, and places his operas in the context of contemporaneous political and social events. As for the composer's relationship with Mozart, reports of jealousy are based on rumor and conjecture, stresses Braunbehrens. He persuasively demonstrates that although Salieri was largely forgotten after his death, in his day his stature was much too secure for him to have considered Mozart a serious rival. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 978-0-88064-155-5
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