Although Antonio Salieri most certainly does not stand in the front row of the great composers of West European musical historiography, he had been granted as one of few something quite special: to compose his own requiem. Not even Mozart, Brahms or Verdi, whose Requiem compositions count among the most major of the genre, could claim that for himself. How few of Salieri’s sacred works have to date been absorbed in the general works and concert canon (excepting the operas), can be confirmed by a simple internet search. For instance, if one “googled” the concepts “Salieri” and “Requiem”, much more than 80% of the detected entries establish no relation to Salieri’s Requiem, but rather to Mozart’s incomplete Requiem! However, an absolutely fascinating although untenable connection has persisted most stubbornly since Peter Shaffer’s play “Amadeus” and Milos Forman’s film of the same name: both fictional works want to have us believe that Mozart directly dictated his Requiem to his embittered rival Salieri during the night of his death. Forman’s fascinating images still affect numerous literary writings and the fantasy of authors more than 25 years later.
Total time: 00:56:13
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Grande Auditorio of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
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|Release Date||August 7, 2015|
The news on the performance front is all good, and if you want to try out one of Salieri’s large-scale works this makes a fine place to start. The venerable Chorus of the Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon under Lawrence Foster still has a smoother sound than just about any all-adult choir around, and the super audio sound is superb.
A final attraction is the presence of two short works, the only occasionally heard late Beethoven cantatas Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, Op. 112 (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage), and the still rarer and unaccountably neglected Intende voci in B flat major for tenor, chorus, and orchestra, D. 963, dating from the last few months of Franz Schubert’s life. This 10-minute work distills the large-scale harmonic thinking of Schubert’s late masses down to a modest size and receives a fine performance here.
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