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Item 678 - Antonio Salieri Catalog 439 (Oct 2014)

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Venetian composer and conductor (1750–1825). As the Austrian imperial Kapellmeister from 1788 to 1824, he was one of the most important and famous musicians of his time. Rare ALS in Italian, one page, 4.25 x 7.5, February 6, 1802. Letter to the wife of the physician Joseph Frank, Kristin Gerhardy, letting her know that he has read the manifesto. In fine condition, with light intersecting folds.

Salieri’s numerous contributions to music included time spent tutoring Ludwig van Beethoven in the early 1800s, as Beethoven was establishing his career in Vienna. Although the relationship between the two greats is subject to historical debate, Salieri is known to have occasionally offered instruction in Italian vocal composition style, offering suggestions on how to fine-tune Beethoven’s work. Their teacher-student relationship lasted until at least 1802, the year of this correspondence. Beethoven is said to have taken full advantage of Salieri’s willingness ‘to give gratuitous instruction to musicians of small means,’ with scholars noting that Beethoven took greater care in creating the structure of his works and developing a style following his time with Salieri—a period that overlapped this correspondence to Gerhardy. Gerhardy, a talented Viennese singer, took an active part in the cultural life of Vienna along with her physician husband, and judging from this letter had also solicited advice from Salieri. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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