Was Mozart actually poisoned by Salieri? Here's the truth - Classic FM
Get an answer for 'Note the ways in which the Mozart-Salieri relationship changes.' and find homework help for other Amadeus questions at eNotes. In it, Wolfgang Mozart was killed by his jealous rival, the court composer Antonio Salieri. Salieri cleverly took advantage of Mozart's fondness for drink, his. Does the name Antonio Salieri ring a bell? If you watched the Best Picture winner Amadeus, it probably conjures up images of Mozart's.
Beethoven allegedly turned Rossini away and shouted "How dare you come to my house with Mozart's poisoner? Salieri had tutored Beethoven, and the two had always been friends. Beethoven held his tutor in such high esteem that, even after Mozart's death, he dedicated his violin sonatas Opus 12 to Salieri, and wrote a series of variations on a theme from Salieri's opera Falstaff.
So even this anecdote seems unreliable. It's also noteworthy that Salieri was never under any kind of official suspicion of criminal activity. Indeed, his professional career continued to flourish despite the rumors. Many great composers continued studying under him, including the young Franz Liszt and Franz Schubert.
Although it was Salieri who took the heat for Mozart's alleged murder, he was not the only suspect. In contrast to the popular legend, Salieri was not even the one who commissioned the Requiem upon which Mozart forced himself to work so hard even until the day of his death; that patron was Count Franz von Walsegg, who wanted the Requiem to honor his late wife. A number of authors have put forward the hypothesis that Mozart, who was a Freemason, was killed by a Masonic conspiracy.
Why would the Freemasons murder one of their own? One claim is that the story conceals an allegory for an alleged plot to overthrow Freemasonry; another is that it contained misuses of Masonic symbols. Author Georg Friedrich Daumer was the most vocal proponent of these theories, which he first published in However, his belief that Freemasons poisoned Mozart should be viewed in the context of his other claims: He also believed that Freemason conspiracies murdered many heads of state and leaders in religion and philosophy.
But even the very idea that anyone was responsible for Mozart's death is not generally accepted among modern historians. The most thorough accounts of Mozart's four months of illness all come from his wife, Constanze, and from shorter reports from the friends and associates who frequently visited him, including her sister Sophie.
None thought he had been poisoned. Several times, Mozart told Constanze that he believed he had been poisoned with a popularly known arsenic-based potion called aqua tofana, however he dismissed the notion himself during a spell in which his health seemed to return for a time. His principal symptom was swelling, particularly of the extremities, which caused him great pain when it was at its worst. At the application of a cold compress to his forehead on December 5,the shock caused him to lose consciousness, from which he never awoke, and died two hours later.
Mozart's own doctors blamed his death on "high miliary fever", but this was a prescientific diagnosis and does not correspond to any specific diseases now known. After his death, Mozart's first biography was written by Franz Niemetschek and was based on interviews with Constanze and Sophie and numerous documents provided by them.
His second biography was written by Constanze's second husband, Georg Nikolaus von Nissen. Neither book suggests that Mozart died from any cause other than illness. Together, these two works comprise the most detailed reports available of Mozart's physical condition, and it's from these books that modern doctors have tried to theorize what disease he might have had.
The prevailing theory is chronic kidney disease. Mozart was probably at high risk of this anyway; as a child he'd been ill with what's now believed to be scarlet fever and rheumatic fever, both of which can cause kidney damage. This diagnosis is consistent with the reports of Mozart's condition. Kidney failure would have caused the type of edema, or swelling, that was reported, and the uremic poisoning would have ultimately killed him.
But some have noted that people so afflicted are often unable to work at all or even comatose, while Mozart was doing some of his best work during his final months. Mozart's self-diagnosis of arsenic poisoning from aqua tofana seems unlikely.
Although that poison was easily obtainable it was actually in commercial production and sold as a murder weaponarsenic poisoning does not produce any of the symptoms which afflicted Mozart.
Some doctors have also speculated that he could have died of mercury poisoning, which may or may not have been given to Mozart by someone else.
Opera Quiz: Fact & Fiction On Mozart-Salieri Relationship in ‘Amadeus’
Mozart may have even been administering mercury to himself as a cure for syphilis — a treatment that some physicians of the day were promoting. It's unlikely that the true cause of Mozart's death will ever be known. It has never been possible to exhume Mozart's body for testing because he was, as depicted in the movie, buried in a mass, unmarked grave.
It was a small service on a cold morning. Mozart and Constanze had both expressed their dislike of the pomp and ceremony of funerals, so they chose a burial in a style that had actually been a law under Joseph II until it was repealed just a few years before Mozart's death, and that was to dispense with caskets and lavish services in favor of simple burials with the body sewn into a cloth sack. Constanze herself was too bereaved and chose not to attend, and so only a very few close friends and family walked with the body.Mozart's Mysterious Death
They stopped at the cemetery gates and bid their last farewells. Mozart was taken alone to his final resting spot, and the mourners turned away. Among this small group dressed in black, this tightest circle of those who were the last to be with him, was Antonio Salieri.
Share via Email Cinematic villain: The film's success has done more than anything to cast Salieri as malefactor. It's hard to say which view of Antonio Salieri is more firmly embedded: A few clunky numbers on the soundtrack of Amadeus, Milos Forman's film of Peter Shaffer's play, are all most of us will have heard of Salieri's music.
Was there any more to him as a composer than that? There are influential musicians who say that there was. Indeed, Salieri's operas have been undergoing a slow but steady exhumation. Next year the renovated La Scala in Milan is to reopen its doors with the work Salieri wrote for its very first performance back in And now Cecilia Bartoli has recorded an album devoted to his music.
With an artist of Bartoli's clout on his side, it's safe to say that we're going to be hearing a lot more of Salieri the composer. And Salieri the poisoner?
- Mozart and Salieri 'lost' composition played in Prague
- Was Mozart actually poisoned by Salieri? Here's the truth
- Mozart and Salieri
Sadly for those who like a good conspiracy theory, there's no evidence that he was any such thing. It's time to reappraise the man as well as his music.
A German Composer Uncovered a Collaboration Between Mozart and Salieri
If Salieri wasn't the enviously wrathful schemer of Forman's imagination, who was he? We have frustratingly little first-hand information. But the picture drawn by Volkmar Braunbehrens's biography is of a serious, steady, occasionally irascible man. There are, however, mentions of him as friendly and cheerful, and the Irish singer Michael Kelly, a good friend of Mozart, assures us that Salieri "would make a joke of anything".
What is certain is that bywhen the year-old Mozart set up home in Vienna, Salieri, six years his senior, was an established star. Born in the northern Italian town of Legnano inhe had been brought to Vienna aged 15, where he was introduced to his later mentor, Gluck, and to the emperor, Joseph II. Salieri was invited to join in chamber music sessions with the emperor, and soon found himself launched on a career in the imperial court.
Exploding the Salieri myth | Music | The Guardian
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".