WORKS: Triple Concerto in D; Concerto for Flute and Oboe; Symphony in D (La Veneziana)
PERFORMER: Lajos Lencsés (oboe), János Bálint (flute), Béla Bánfalvi (violin), Károly Botvay (cello); Budapest Strings
CATALOGUE NO: 10 530 DDD
I suppose we owe the existence of this very pleasant disc to the film Amadeus, in which Salieri is portrayed as poisoning Mozart and taking down the Requiem by dictation next to his deathbed. Actually, Salieri was a phenomenally successful composer of operas which were played for years all over Europe. On this record, delightfully played by Hungarian musicians, are two concertos, both composed in 1774 when Salieri was 24, and the three movements of his overture to La scuola de’ gelosi. This opera (1778) was conducted at Eszterháza in 1780 by Haydn, who composed an impudent insertion aria for it (‘Dice benissimo’).
Even as an instrumental composer, Salieri is a much better composer than expected. The Triple Concerto is a deft and entertaining work with a finale containing whole variations in syncopation, rather like Haydn of the 1760s. The overture-cum-symphony, which is entitled La Veneziana because it was published in the lagoon city, is very attractive. I highly recommend this record, but at the risk of boring my readers by repetition, I have to say that 53 minutes is simply not enough for a CD at any price. HC Robbins Landon