A cantata co-written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Salieri and unknown composer Cornetti was played in Prague on Tuesday after being lost for over 200 years.
How did a rat change Beethoven’s life? Was he really a grouch? Who was his secret lover? There are enough books on the famous composer to fill a library, but there are still many mysteries surrounding his life.
The Czech Museum of Music, where “Per la Ricuperata Salute di Offelia” was rediscovered, presented the rare piece written by two composers believed by some to have been archrivals.
German musicologist and composer Timo Jouko Herrmann discovered the piece in November while searching the museum’s online catalogue.
“We knew the title from advertising from 1795,” Herrmann said. “I was thrilled when I read it. I thought: ‘Could it be that the piece is in Prague and no one detected it?'”
A belief that Salieri played a part in Mozart’s untimely death at the age of 36 in 1791 was a central theme in the Oscar-winning 1984 film “Amadeus” by Czech-born director Milos Forman.
“We all known the film ‘Amadeus.’ Salieri is mischaracterized in it,” said Ulrich Leisinger of the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, Austria.
“He didn’t poison Mozart. The two composers regularly met up and collaborated in Vienna,” Leisinger noted.
Musicologist Herrmann said the piece “shows a quite friendly outcome between the two composers, adding that the rediscovery of the piece could possibly lead to others.
“As far as I know, it’s the only piece jointly written by Mozart and Salieri,” Herrmann noted.
“But who knows: in a treasure house like this, anything can happen,” the German musicologist said, referring to the Czech Museum of Music.
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