Many know Antonio Salieri only as Mozart's envious nemesis from the film Amadeus. In this well-illustrated work, John A. Rice shows us what a rich musical and personal history this popular stereotype has missed.
Bringing Salieri, his operas, and eighteenth-century Viennese theater vividly to life, Rice places Salieri where he belongs: no longer lurking in Mozart's shadow, but standing proudly among the leading opera composers of his age. Rice's research in the archives of Vienna and close study of his scores reveal Salieri to have been a prolific, versatile, and adventurous composer for the stage. Within the extraordinary variety of Salieri's approaches to musical dramaturgy, Rice identifies certain habits of orchestration, melodic style, and form as distinctively "Salierian"; others are typical of Viennese opera in general. A generous selection of excerpts from Salieri's works, most previously unpublished, will give readers a fuller appreciation for his musical style—and its influence on Mozart—than was previously possible.
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Salieri's place in music history may have been permanently influenced by the film Amadeus, in which he is one-dimensionally portrayed as Mozart's less-talented nemesis. Now musicologist Rice, author of numerous articles on 18th-century music, has contributed a magnificent study of the complex musical and social circles that flourished at the court of Emperor Joseph II. Richly detailed and copiously footnoted, Rice's book masterfully interweaves three strands of scholarship: biographical information, an overview of the traditions and conventions of Viennese opera during the latter half of the century, and a close examination of several of Salieri's own operas. This last thread is perhaps the most valuable, as much for its use of previously unpublished sources as for Rice's perceptive and illuminating comments. The chapter "Mozart and Salieri" is a triumph of reasoned, careful research over unsupported Hollywood hype. This important book fills a conspicuous gap in musical scholarship and is enthusiastically recommended for all public and academic libraries.?Larry A. Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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