"..the only thing I love in vocal music is truth, that truth which the incomparable Gluck makes me feel so profoundly throughout and in every detail of his Tragedies, and which I have felt on hearing works of other genres by a few other composers; so I strive to bring truth to all those of my operas which deserve such care..."
Antoino Salieri to Carl F. Cramer, Vienna 20 July 1784
- Born in Legnago, south of Verona in the Republic of Venice.
- Salieri began his musical studies in Legnago. He recalled little from his chidhood except a passion for sugar, reading and music.
- He was a rambunctious and disobedient child.
- Between 1763 and 64, both of his parents died. He was briefly taken in my a monk in Padua, and then for unknown reasons became the ward of a Venetian nobleman named Giovanni Mocenigo.
- Salieri continued his studies of music, and Florian Leopold Gassman took him to Vienna to continue his music education. They arrived in Vienna in 1766.
- Gassmann took Salieri to church to consecrate his music to God, which had a profound effect on Salieri later in life.
- Many of his early compositions are lost.
- Salieri quickly impressed Emperor Joseph II.
- Gluck became an informal advisor and friend.
- First full opera premiered in 1770, Le donne letterate, based on Moliere’s The Learned Ladies.
- He wrote commissioned operas, which blended styles.
- 1771- Armida
- 1772- La fiera di Venezia, Salieri was innovative in the way he combined languages, ensembles and choruses. Especially in a scene that combines a series of o stage dances with signing from both solo protagonists and the chorus.
- Mozart would imitate this style in Don Giovanni.
- Salieri’s instrumental works do not stand up to criticism as well as his operas .
- 1774- Assistant Director of the Italian Opera in Vienna.
- 1775- married Therese Helferstorfer
- 1777- the opera company collapsed. Joseph II closed several theaters and reopened two court-owned theaters. The new theaters would promote German language and values.
- Salieri never mastered German.
- 1778-1780, Salieri went on a tour in Italy, writing for La Scala. He wrote pieces such as Europa Recognized and The School for Jealousy.
- 1780- returned to Vienna and opened a German opera alongside one by Mozart--only Mozart’s survived.
- 1784- Les Danaides given to Salieri by Gluck, and highly successful in Paris.
- 1784, returned to Vienna and befriended Lorenzo De Ponte. De Ponte wrote a libretto for Salieri which was not a success. Da Ponte then wrote the libretto for The Marriage of Fiagro.
- 1784-88- Salieri generally had a period of success, traveling between Vienna and Paris.
- 1788- Became Kkappelmeister of the Imperial Chapel.
- 1792 was the height of his popularity with Axur.
- Joseph died in 1790, which meant that Salieri lost his greatest patron and protector.
- Salieri’s political position became very insecure.
- He wrote operas until 1804, until he gave up the stage after the complete failure of Fidelio.
- He composed a great number of sacred works towards the end of his life, and continued to teach through the imperial chapel.
- He taught Beethoven, Cartellieri, Liszt, Schubert