Pity poor Antonio Salieri. Regarded as one of the preeminent composers of his day and having enjoyed enormous success in his lifetime, his musical output was nonetheless completely overshadowed by that of his contemporary, Mozart, and by the work of his two most prominent students, Beethoven and Schubert. Subsequently, his compositions were all but forgotten and disappeared from the active repertoire. The film adaptation of Peter Schaffer's play AMADEUS pulled his name from the depths of obscurity, but recognition brought infamy, by virtue of his portrayal as the untalented and jealous rival responsible for Mozart's death. Despite this attention, his works still remained unknown, rarely performed or recorded.
To the rescue comes none other than Cecilia Bartoli. THE SALIERI ALBUM finds the superstar mezzo-soprano once again in the role of champion of neglected music, and she endeavors, as in her previous discs of operatic works by Gluck and Vivaldi, to restore luster to a composer's tarnished reputation. Bartoli brilliantly works through a selection of surprisingly well-crafted diva showcases with her usual combination of technical wizardry, intense emotional commitment, and beauty of tone and expression. Her valiant efforts may not elevate Salieri to a status equal to Mozart's, but she makes a convincing argument that he was a skilled composer whose works are undervalued and deserving of wider recognition.