Composers Datebook

Salieri leaves, Seidl arrives

Wolfgang Mozart (1756 – 1791) Symphony No. 25 St. Martin's Academy; Sir Neville Marriner, cond. Fantasy 104/105 Antonin Dvořák (1841 – 1904) Symphony No. 9 (From the New World) Vienna Philharmonic; Rafael Kubelik, cond. Decca 466 994 Antonio Salieri (1750 – 1825) "La Folia" Variations London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert, cond. Chandos 9877


Composer's Datebook - May 7, 2021

2:00


May 07, 2021

Synopsis

On today’s date in 1825, the Italian composer Antonio Salieri breathed his last in Vienna.

Gossip circulated that in his final dementia, Salieri blabbed something about poisoning Mozart. Whether he meant it figuratively or literally, or even said anything of the sort, didn’t seem to matter and the gossip became a Romantic legend.

Modern food detectives suggested that if Mozart WAS poisoned, an undercooked pork chop might be to blame… In one of his last letters to his wife, Mozart mentions his anticipation of feasting on a fat chop his cook had secured for his dinner!

Twenty-five years after Salieri’s death, on today’s date in 1850, the Austro-Hungarian conductor Anton Seidl was born in Budapest. Seidl became a famous conductor of both the Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic. It was Seidl who conducted the premiere of Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony.

In 1898, at the age of just 47, Seidl died suddenly, apparently from ptomaine poisoning. Perhaps it was the shad roe he ate at home, or that sausage from Fleischmann’s restaurant? An autopsy revealed serious gallstone and liver ailments, so maybe Seidl’s last meal, whatever it might have been, was as innocent of blame as poor old Salieri.

Music Played in Today's Program

Wolfgang Mozart (1756 – 1791) Symphony No. 25 St. Martin's Academy; Sir Neville Marriner, cond. Fantasy 104/105

Antonin Dvořák (1841 – 1904) Symphony No. 9 (From the New World) Vienna Philharmonic; Rafael Kubelik, cond. Decca 466 994

Antonio Salieri (1750 – 1825) "La Folia" Variations London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert, cond. Chandos 9877

On This Day

Births

  • 1833 - German composer Johannes Brahms, in Hamburg;

  • 1840 - Russian composer Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, in Votkinsk, district of Viatka (Julian date: April 25);

  • 1850 - Hungarian conductor Anton Seidl, in Budapest; He was Wagner assistant at the first Bayreuth Festival performances of the "Ring" operas in 1876-79, was engaged to conduct the German repertory at the Metropolitan Opera in 1885, and in 1891 as the permanent conductor of the New York Philharmonic; He conducted the American premieres of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" in 1886 and the world premiere of Dvorák's "New World" Symphony in 1893; He died of ptomaine poisoning in 1898;

Deaths

  • 1793 - Italian composer and violinist Pietro Nardini, age 71, in Florence;

  • 1818 - Bohemian composer Leopold (Jan Antonín, Ioannes Antonius)Kozeluch (Kotzeluch, Koželuh), age 70, in Vienna;

  • 1825 - Italian composer Antonio Salieri, age 74, in Vienna;

Premieres

  • 1824 - Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 ("Choral") at the Kärntnertor Theater in Vienna, with the deaf composer on stage beating time, but with the performers instructed to follow the cues of Beethoven's assistant conductor, Michael Umlauf;

  • 1888 - Lalo: "Le Roi d'Ys" (The King of Ys) at the Opéra Comique, in Paris;

  • 1926 - Milhaud: opera "Les malheurs d'Orphée" (The Sorrows of Orpheus), in Brussels at the Théatre de la Monnaie;

  • 1944 - Copland: "Our Town" Film Music Suite (revised version), by the Boston Pops conducted by Leonard Bernstein; An earlier version of this suite aired on CBS Radio on June 9, 1940, with the Columbia Broadcasting Symphony conducted by Howard Barlow;

  • 1947 - Virgil Thomson: opera "The Mother of Us All," at Columbia University in New York City;

  • 1985 - David Ward-Steinman: "Chroma" Concerto for multiple keyboards, percussion, and chamber orchestra, in Scottsdale, Ariz., by the Noveau West Chamber Orchestra conducted by Terry Williams, with the composer and Amy-Smith-Davie as keyboard soloists;

  • 1988 - Stockhausen: opera "Montag von Licht" (Monday from Light), in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala;

  • 1988 - Michael Torke: ballet "Black and White," at the New York State Theater, with the NY City Ballet Orchestra, David Alan Miller conducting;

  • 1993 - Harrison Birtwistle: "Five Distances for Five Instruments," in London at the Purcell Room, by the Ensemble InterContemporain;

  • 1998 - Joan Tower: "Tambor," by the Pittsburgh Symphony, Mariss Jansons conducting;

  • 1999 - Robert X. Rodriguez: "Bachanale: Concertino for Orchestra," by the San Antonio Symphony, Wilkins conducting;

Others

  • 1747 - J.S. Bach (age 62) visits King Frederick II of Prussia at his court in Potsdam on May 7-8; Bach improvises on a theme submitted by the King, performing on the King's forte-piano; In September of 1747 Bach publishes a chamber work based on the royal theme entitled "Musical Offering."

  • 1937 - The RKO film "Shall We Dance?" is released, with a filmscore by George Gershwin; This film includes the classic Gershwin songs "Beginner's Luck," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "They Can't Take That Away from Me" and an instrumental interlude "Walking the Dog" (released as a solo piano piece under the title "Promenade").