Composers Datebook®

Salieri leaves, Seidl arrives

Composers Datebook - May 7, 2024


On today’s date in 1825, 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, 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 Dvořák’s New World Symphony.

In 1898, at 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 Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Symphony No. 25; St. Martin’s Academy; Neville Marriner, conductor; Fantasy 104/105

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904): Symphony No. 9 (From the New World); Vienna Philharmonic; Rafael Kubelik, conductor; Decca 466 994

Antonio Salieri (1750-1825): La Folia Variations; London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert, conductor; Chandos 9877

On This Day


  • 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’s 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 Dvořák’s New World Symphony in 1893. He died of ptomaine poisoning in 1898.


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

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

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


  • 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, Arizona, 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


  • 1747 - J.S. Bach, 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 1747 Bach publishes Musical Offering, a chamber work based on the royal theme.

  • 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”).

Love the music?

Donate by phone

Show your support by making a gift to YourClassical.

Each day, we’re here for you with thoughtful streams that set the tone for your day – not to mention the stories and programs that inspire you to new discovery and help you explore the music you love.

YourClassical is available for free, because we are listener-supported public media. Take a moment to make your gift today.

More Ways to Give

Your Donation


Latest Composers Datebook® Episodes


Latest Composers Datebook® Episodes


About Composers Datebook®

Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.

He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.

About Composers Datebook®