Lost Mozart-Salieri Composition Found in Prague
This discovery might shed more light on the music world’s most famously hyped rivalry – and offer some lessons for current pop stars.
Hush now, Kanye West. Unlike the self-declared “musical genius” and peers Taylor Swift and Wiz Khalifa, we will never have to read about this master composer and his rival in 140 characters or less (we’ll still tweet this out though!). Thought to have been lost, a collaborative effort by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and much-hyped enemy Antonio Salieri has recently come to light in the reserve collection of the Czech National Museum. The original document ought to be worth far more than its weight in gold but there is no word on that just yet.
“It’s a joint composition by Mozart and Salieri, a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte put to music,” said Czech National Museum spokeswoman Sarka Dockalova, adding that it would be performed Tuesday at a press conference in Prague. It is the only known collaboration between the supposed rivals and is certainly the only one survives.
The discovery is especially interesting in light of a legend discounted by historians: Italy’s Salieri was said to have fatally poisoned Mozart out of jealousy over the Austrian wunderkind’s talent. The legend likely arises out of rivalry between the German and Italian schools of music in the court of Austro-Hungarian Empire.
First appearing in Alexander Pushkin’s 19th-century poetic drama Mozart and Salieri, the rumor was later featured in the play and 1984 film Amadeus, which historians say grossly exaggerated Salieri’s rivalry with Mozart.
The film was shot in the Czech capital, where Mozart spent considerable time in the 18th century as it was then part of the Empire.