Long-lost Mozart work per­formed at long last

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Prague

Lost for over 200 years, a can­tata co-writ­ten by clas­si­cal mae­stros Wolf­gang Amadeus Mozart and An­to­nio Salieri rang out in pub­lic for the first time on Tues­day, shed­ding new light on their re­puted in­tense ri­valry.

The Ital­ian com­poser was al­legedly so jeal­ous of the Aus­trian prodigy that he once tried to poi­son him — a claim re­jected by ex­perts as the col­lab­o­ra­tion was per­formed in Prague.

“The part com­posed by Mozart is, shall we say, more in­ge­nious and dra­matic, while the other two verses are more lyri­cal,” mu­si­cian Lukas Vendl told re­porters af­ter play­ing the four-minute com­po­si­tion on a harp­si­chord.

“But it’s im­pos­si­ble to de­duce from it who was a bet­ter com­poser.”

The can­tata from 1785 is “key to a new un­der­stand­ing of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Mozart and Salieri,” ac­cord­ing to Timo Jouko Her­rmann, the Ger­man mu­si­col­o­gist and com­poser who found the work.

Her­rmann said it sug­gests the men were “col­leagues who worked to­gether” rather than ri­vals and un­der­mines a leg­end sug­gest­ing that Salieri may have played a role in Mozart’s un­timely death at 35 in 1791.

Ti­tled Per la ricu­per­ata salute di Of­fe­lia (For Ophe­lia’s re­cov­ered health) the can­tata was jointly com­posed by Mozart, Salieri and an un­known mu­si­cian named Cor­netti.

It ac­com­pa­nies a li­bretto by Ital­ian poet Lorenzo Da Ponte and is ded­i­cated to pop­u­lar English so­prano Nancy Storace (1765-1817), who re­turned to the stage af­ter los­ing her voice for a spell.

The score lay uniden­ti­fied in the Czech Mu­seum of Mu­sic since the 1950s, but Her­rmann was fi­nally able to at­tribute it to the two com­posers thanks to ac­cess to new in­for­ma­tion on the In­ter­net, the mu­seum said.

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