Mozart and Salieri
By the time they married, Mozart's life had already been a long Mozart brought to his marriage an engaging personality, limitless talent, and. According to the plot, Salieri condemned Mozart's opera, Don Giovanni, to only five Leopold viewed the marriage to Constanze as “betrayal,” and tried to. Antonio Salieri was an Italian classical composer, conductor, and .. Mozart wrote to his father in May about Salieri and Lorenzo Da by some to a rivalry between the German and the Italian schools of music. Mozart tells his wife that he collected Salieri and Caterina Cavalieri.
Share via Email 'One of the most interesting persons in existence' But there is one person to whom his take on Mozart's life does no favours at all: Portrayed as a vulgar, bubble-headed sex kitten, lacking any appreciation of her husband's phenomenal gifts, Constanze shares and encourages only the immature aspects of Mozart's personality.
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Together they indulge in childish games with adult undercurrents of unbridled sexuality. Constanze's only redeeming feature seems to be a basic loyalty to her husband, manifested in a readiness to sleep with his rival Salieri in order to advance Mozart's career. Constanze Weber came from a high- spirited family of talented musicians.
Her father, Fridolin, was a musical all-rounder singer, prompter, copyist and an exceptional singing teacher - three of his four daughters were coloratura sopranos of quite remarkable ability.
Constanze and her sisters were brought up in Mannheim, a centre of musical excellence. And, in addition to the sophistication she absorbed from this artistic milieu, she was intelligent - speaking excellent Italian and French as well as her native German. In many ways, she was an ideal wife for a composer. Mozart himself was firmly of that opinion.
As he wrote in a careful letter to his father, Leopold: Her whole beauty consists in two little black eyes and a pretty figure. She likes to be neatly and cleanly dressed, but not smartly; and most things that a woman needs she is able to make for herself; and she dresses her own hair every day. I love her and she loves me with all her heart.
Tell me whether I could wish for a better wife. There were occasional signs of tension between them, as in any union. But reconciliation was always sweet: In addition to her many pregnancies, Constanze suffered a protracted and almost fatal illness in the late s, and it was probably for this reason that Mozart shielded her from the reality of his developing financial crises.
When, inConstanze became aware of them, she took them in hand. While Mozart was on a trip to Germany with their brother-in-law Franz Hofer Josefa's husbandConstanze organised a house move, and negotiated loans and publications.
Mozart on his travels was aware of her activities on his behalf, and his letters home suggest immense gratitude and relief, in addition to his habitual longing for her. When Mozart died inConstanze was only She had a seven-year-old son and a four-month-old baby; and although there were no longer any threatening debts, she had no obvious financial stability.
Her mother and sisters were immensely supportive, and many distressed friends rallied round her: Constanze petitioned Emperor Leopold II for a pension, and was awarded a tiny annual sum. But she needed to do much more to stabilise herself.
And she was also determined to keep alive the reputation of her late husband. With the continuing assistance of her family, Constanze began to mount memorial concerts in both Vienna and Prague. The dazzling Aloysia was crucial to these, bringing in her colleagues, taking a major part in the concerts herself and, like all the participants, performing without fee so that the takings could go to Constanze and her children.
At one concert, Mozart's D minor piano concerto was played by a certain Ludwig van Beethoven. And then Constanze revived her own singing career. In the mids she planned several concerts across the major cities of Germany and Austria, for herself and Aloysia together. Nostalgic enthusiasm for Mozart's music was growing fast. Salieri was invited to join in chamber music sessions with the emperor, and soon found himself launched on a career in the imperial court.Amadeus 1984 (Mozart talking backwards)
His appointment in as court composer and conductor of the Italian opera made him one of the most influential musicians in Europe. An ambitious young composer such as Mozart could conceivably have wished Salieri out of the way, but the other way round? Salieri was already working on Tarare, to a libretto by Beaumarchais himself, a work that would be a hit in Paris. And if Mozart's collaborations with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte bore greater fruit than Salieri's?
Well, no matter - it was Salieri, after all, who could claim credit for bringing Da Ponte to Vienna. True, after their first opera together flopped the composer swore he would rather have his fingers chopped off than work with him again, but he relented in time to write several that were far more successful.
However, if what Mozart's wife Constanze reported was true, there was one incident that might conceivably have sparked a rivalry. She claimed that Salieri had been offered Da Ponte's libretto for Cosi Fan Tutte - and had rejected it as being not worth setting.
When Mozart got his hands on it, a humiliated Salieri had to eat his words. Otherwise, though, any tensions between the two seem more like office politics.
Salieri had to turn down the prestigious commission for La Clemenza di Tito, but had no real reason to resent Mozart for being the second choice. For his part, Mozart complains in letters to his father of being thwarted by Italian "cabals", but it often seems that he felt he had to make excuses to his grumpy, overambitious parent for any small failure.
Far from blocking its performance, Salieri frequently conducted Mozart's work. And Mozart's death, as one respected musical journal wrote, was almost certainly caused not by poison but by "arduous work and fast living among ill-chosen company".
It was only after Mozart's demise that Salieri began to have any real reason to hate him. Unlike that of any before him, Mozart's music kept on being performed. Cut down at the peak of his powers - and with the added frisson of whispered rumours that he might have been murdered - he became the first composer whose cult of celebrity actually flourished after his death.
Salieri, however, had outlived his talent. He wrote almost no music for the last two decades of his life. Instead he spent time revising his previous works. He did have an impressive roster of pupils: But the composer who had once been at the vanguard of new operatic ideas was not necessarily teaching his students to be similarly innovative; we can only be grateful that Schubert ignored his diatribes against the "intolerable" genre of Germanic lieder.
So how did this respected musician become the rumoured murderer of the great Mozart? Nobody knows for certain.
The feud that never was
But in his final weeks Mozart is reported to have believed he had been poisoned, and had gone so far as to blame hostile Italian factions at the Viennese court.
People put two and two together and pointed the finger at Salieri. And who could resist a story this good? Certainly not his fellow composers. There are mentions of it in Beethoven's Conversation Books. Weber, Mozart's father-in-law, had heard it byand cold-shouldered Salieri ever after.
And 20 years later it was still doing the rounds; Rossini joked about it when he met Salieri in As the rumour gathered strength, all denials only served to reinforce it. Then, inSalieri - hospitalised, terminally ill and deranged - is said to have accused himself of poisoning Mozart.