Thursday, February 5, 2009

Two Fellows Just Trying to Make a Living; One, Gifted - the Other, Sublime

Imagine an evening in 1786 in Vienna, with the rarity of two composers rarely seen together, on the same program in a command performance, both having a number of their compositions performed.
One was the chief court composer, the other an impoverished young man just six years younger than his contemporary.
One can assume that the court composer had an ongoing fear, if not hatred of the existence of the younger man, full well knowing that this particular composer was infinitely more gifted. And that fear must have persisted until the younger man died. There was even talk about the court composer having poisoned his younger rival, which to this day is still discussed, but has never been proven.
And so, both appeared on the same stage on the same evening.
I wonder if words were passed between the two on that occasion?
The chief court composer was a gifted musician from Italy, named Antonio Salieri; the other, from a nearby community. His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Two fellows, just trying to make a living.

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