Long-lost Mozart score discovered tucked away in Czech museum

The discovery shows a professional relationship between two rival musical talents

Jess Staufenberg
Sunday 14 February 2016 19:10 GMT
The Austrian composer wrote to his father complaining that Salieri was everyone's favourite composer
The Austrian composer wrote to his father complaining that Salieri was everyone's favourite composer

A long-lost musical composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been discovered in a museum.

The collaborative effort, a libretto, between Antonio Salieri and Mozart was found tucked away in the reserve collection of the Czech national museum, according to The Local.

"It's a joint composition by Mozart and Salieri, a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte put to music," Sarka Dockalova, the museum's spokeswoman, told AFP.

Salieri, a key figure in the development of late 18th-century opera, was described by Mozart in various letters as a "favourite" Italian composer of the Emperor of the time, Joseph II, and his rival in musical terms.

"It's a really valuable work [...] long thought to have been lost," said Ms Dockalova.

According to letters sent to his father, Mozart said "the only one who counts in [the Emperor's] eyes is Salieri."

Rupert Everett as Salieri, back, and Joshua McGuire as Mozart in Jonathan Church’s production of ‘Amadeus’

Rumours circulated after Mozart's early death in 1791 that Salieri had poisoned the Austrian composer, which were further compounded by a 1984 film of his life, "Amadeus".

The discovery of a co-authored composition would appear to support the long-since dismissed theory that Salieri might have played a role in Mozart's death.

Alexander Pushkin's 19th century poetic drama "Mozart and Salieri" had also sought to dramatise the mysterious circumstances surrounding Mozart's death at the age of 35.

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