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MCS
04-15-2001, 01:05 AM
I have a question I'm hoping someone will be able to help with. I have a brother whose knowledge of classical music is considerable. He insists that Beethoven regarded Salieri ('Patron Saint of Mediocrity') as a superior composer to Mozart. I've read a fair amount about Beethoven, but have never come across such a statement. Is this true or is my brother putting me on? (It wouldn't be the first time...)
Mary

PS Happy Easter to everyone! May all your eggs be chocolate ones!

Peter
04-15-2001, 02:42 AM
I think your brother has a great sense of humour! He didn't tell you that on April 1st by any chance? Nowhere have I come across any opinion B had regarding Salieri as a composer, certainly there is no record of him having stated a preference for Salieri over Mozart. Beethoven regarded Handel as the greatest composer ever, then Bach,Mozart and Haydn. When asked who the greatest living composer was (apart from himself), after some hesitation he replied Cherubini - at that time Mozart and Haydn were dead and very little of Schubert's music was known to Beethoven.

P.S I am enjoying the remnants of a most delicious Easter egg as I write this - happy chocolate binge to you all!

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'Man know thyself'

MCS
04-15-2001, 09:14 AM
Thanks for the info, Peter.
I guess I'm a little too gullible for my own good.

Mary

Peter
04-15-2001, 02:48 PM
Originally posted by MCS:
Thanks for the info, Peter.
I guess I'm a little too gullible for my own good.

Mary

I wouldn't say that ! - Your brother had me doubting myself at first as well - I thought maybe he has come across some obscure info, but had Beethoven made such a comment, I think it would have been a well known fact. There are plenty of examples of B praising Mozart's music - none that I am aware of praising Salieri!

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
04-16-2001, 12:20 AM
I think he must have had some regard for Salieri as a teacher at least. Didn't he once leave a note for Salieri saying: "The pupil Beethoven was here" - or am I thinking of Haydn?
And hindsight is a funny thing, but there must have been a lot of people around who thought Salieri superior to Mozart.

Michael

Peter
04-16-2001, 01:09 AM
Originally posted by Michael:
I think he must have had some regard for Salieri as a teacher at least. Didn't he once leave a note for Salieri saying: "The pupil Beethoven was here" - or am I thinking of Haydn?
And hindsight is a funny thing, but there must have been a lot of people around who thought Salieri superior to Mozart.

Michael

Yes it was Salieri - B must have rated Salieri as a teacher as he was having lessons in choral writing from him as late as the 1800's - probably in connection with the 'Mount of Olives' Oratorio. On the other hand it was Mozart he had originally intended studying with when he first came to Vienna.
No doubt a lot of people did consider Salieri superior - mediocrity always has immediate appeal but I shouldn't have thought many professional musicians or connoiseurs would have thought so though. I love that phrase uttered by Salieri at the end of the film 'Amadeus' - 'I am the patron saint of mediocrities!'.

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
04-16-2001, 06:15 AM
B wrote a set of variations on the Duet "La stessa, la stessissima" from Salieri's opera "Falstaff". I don't know what the title means in English but it is a harmless enough tune, ideal for variations. Indeed, B wrote quite a few of these skeletal themes himself.
And that, I am afraid, is the only piece of music by Salieri that I have heard (not counting the bits heard in "Amadeus").
It's sad that he is now only remembered by his connection with musical giants. He must have had something going for him? I know one or two of his operas were recorded some years back but all the critics could do was compare them with Mozart's. Even Haydn would emerge rather badly from a comparison with Wolfgang Amadeus. Surely Salieri was as good as Hummel or all those other lesser composers who are getting exposure nowadays?
I know of one critic who admitted that he was listening to a broadcast of a piece of music he had never heard before, and he pronounced it to be early Beethoven. It turned out to be a totally obscure composer from the same era. The irony is that, on another occasion, he did hear a piece of early Beethoven but attributed it to someone less exalted.
I wonder if a piece of Salieri was introduced as written by Mozart, how many would be fooled?

Michael

Peter
04-16-2001, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
B wrote a set of variations on the Duet "La stessa, la stessissima" from Salieri's opera "Falstaff". I don't know what the title means in English but it is a harmless enough tune, ideal for variations. Indeed, B wrote quite a few of these skeletal themes himself.
And that, I am afraid, is the only piece of music by Salieri that I have heard (not counting the bits heard in "Amadeus").
It's sad that he is now only remembered by his connection with musical giants. He must have had something going for him? I know one or two of his operas were recorded some years back but all the critics could do was compare them with Mozart's. Even Haydn would emerge rather badly from a comparison with Wolfgang Amadeus. Surely Salieri was as good as Hummel or all those other lesser composers who are getting exposure nowadays?
I know of one critic who admitted that he was listening to a broadcast of a piece of music he had never heard before, and he pronounced it to be early Beethoven. It turned out to be a totally obscure composer from the same era. The irony is that, on another occasion, he did hear a piece of early Beethoven but attributed it to someone less exalted.
I wonder if a piece of Salieri was introduced as written by Mozart, how many would be fooled?

Michael

Like you Michael, I too am ignorant of Salieri's music (apart from the Amadeus excerpts, which I quite enjoyed!). The fact remains that Salieri's music died in his own lifetime and has never enjoyed a revival - there must be a reason for this. Aside from Salieri there are numerous other 18th century composers (many finer than Salieri) whose music is never or rarely heard, but played an important role such as Monn, Wagenseil, Cannabich, Sammartini, Graun, Dittersdorf, Cherubini, Spontini, Gluck, Gossec, Piccinni, Pergolesi, Paisiello (who wrote the first Barber of Seville in 1782), Gretry or our own William Boyce etc.........!!!!!! but most of all C.P.E.Bach.



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'Man know thyself'

Michael
04-16-2001, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
Aside from Salieri there are numerous other 18th century composers (many finer than Salieri) whose music is never or rarely heard, but played an important role such as Monn, Wagenseil, Cannabich, Sammartini, Graun, Dittersdorf, Cherubini, Spontini, Gluck, Gossec, Piccinni, Pergolesi, Paisiello (who wrote the first Barber of Seville in 1782), Gretry or our own William Boyce etc.........!!!!!! but most of all C.P.E.Bach.

[/B]

Well, at least two of those names have some kind of immortality as Beethoven wrote piano variations on tunes by Dittersdorf and Paisiello.
I think I read somewhere that there were literally thousands of early symphonies written before our boy came along - and only a handful are played today, or even remembered except by musicologists. Gives you the creeps, doesn't it?

Michael

Peter
04-16-2001, 08:23 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
Well, at least two of those names have some kind of immortality as Beethoven wrote piano variations on tunes by Dittersdorf and Paisiello.
I think I read somewhere that there were literally thousands of early symphonies written before our boy came along - and only a handful are played today, or even remembered except by musicologists. Gives you the creeps, doesn't it?

Michael

It does seem a shame! Haydn is known as the 'father of the Symphony' but there were others - Sammartini, Stamitz and Wagensiel. I believe one of the first Symphonies is regarded as being by G.B.Monn(1717-50).
To me some of Haydn's finest symphonies are his middle symphonies from the 1770's - coming from the sturm und drang period they contain very expressive and emotional music which I find more satisfying than the more famous late Symphonies. The other day I played a Haydn Sonata to a friend, who simply could not believe it was by Haydn! - It was the C minor written in 1771 and it is on an altogether different level from most of Haydn's keyboard sonatas.

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'Man know thyself'