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Amadeus/Salieri and reputations

  1. Jun 9, 2005 #1


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    What I've generally found is that Salieri has a poor reputation as a composer... this seems to be largely a result of the movie Amadeus, and the original play(I forget the name). Salieri's music is contrasted against Mozart's.

    On the other hand, without Amadeus, most people probably wouldn't know who Salieri is at all.

    Is it better to have a poor reputation, or no reputation at all.

    What do you think of Salieri's music?

    I just watched Cinderella man, and was reminded of Salieri when I saw how Baer was portrayed. I really don't know anything about the real Baer, and I doubt this movie will have the influence that Amadeus had. But it bothers me a little when movies damage the reputation of those that have passed on.
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  3. Jun 9, 2005 #2


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    Interesting question, I'm surprised there are no other responses yet? Well, there is that saying, "I'd rather be praised than punished, but I'd rather be punished than ignored," and I think there is some truth in that. Also, a lot of marketing people would say there is no such thing as bad publicity. With teen movies especially, a lot of studios don't care about getting bad reviews from the critics, because they know the core audience for teen movies doesn't care about what the critics think; they will go see it anyway, and the critics are only giving the movie free publicity. In fact, any kind of controversy usually helps to sell an entertainment product, look at "The Passion of the Christ" for example.

    Of course, personal reputation is not the same as product reputation. I wouldn't want to be accused of committing a crime on CNN, even if it would make me "famous". However, I wouldn't mind if a book I wrote got a bad review in the New York Times, rather than no review at all. It's the difference between criticizing a person, and criticizing that person's ideas and creative output. Both are personal, but the latter is a little less personal, and can actually be beneficial.
  4. Jun 10, 2005 #3


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    Thanks for responding jma. I too wouldn't mind a little bad press if it meant being able to sell a product of mine. I'm not sure it matters to me how my reputation (personal or professional) turns out after I die though. I wonder how Salieri would have preferred it. Being remembered as a hack, or not being remembered at all. His personal reputation has also taken a beating. Amadeus (and the opera Mozart et Salieri) keep some people thinking that Salieri was responsible for Mozart's death.

    Is the association with Mozart the only thing that can keep Salieri's reputation alive? Who knows how his rep would have turned out if he had not been near Mozart or lived during Mozart's lifetime. Maybe he'd be remembered and respected. The Mozart/Salieri mythology is so ingrained now, it's tough not to think of the two in relation to each other.
  5. Jun 10, 2005 #4
    Been busy revising :biggrin:

    I do not think anyone is forgotten. What you need is a specialist who will remember someone (e.g. Ernst von Dohnányi or Philip Wilby or Phillip Sparke are all composers that need special interest or attention).

    At the time, Salieri was very popular. He was in with the King (I think) of Italy and so was popular. Mozart was ment to have (unintentional) destroyed that. Salieri is rememeber for Mozart's death and being in his shadow but he really was the 'Haydn' of Vienna. He would have been remembered but not with a reputation at all. So to be remembered, it might be good be related to something bad. Of course no one wants that.

    The Bob (2004 ©)
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