Antonio Salieri: Requiem With Two Related Motets

Recent Researches in the Music of the Classical Era, 108
Edited by Jane Schatkin Hettrick
xxv, 4 + 248pp. $360
ISBN 978-0-89579-859-6

This is Jane Schatkin Hettrick’s fourth Salieri contribution to the RRMCE series, following a mass in D (vol. 39), one in D minor (vol. 65), and a Plenary Mass in C with Te Deum  (vol. 103). Scored for SATB (solo and chorus), two oboes, English horn, two bassoons, trumpets, trombones, timpani, strings and organ, Salieri intended it to be performed at his own funeral (he started writing it in 1804…), along with one of the two motets of the title (Audite vocem magnum dicentem, which in the event was not part of the service; the other work in the volume, probably Salieri’s last, is a smaller-scale motet with string accompaniment only, Spiritus meus attenuabitur). The inclusion of music for English horn seems to follow a Vienna Hofkapelle  tradition, since both Bonno and Eybler used it in their Requiem settings. As one would expect with the distillation of years of study of her subject, the editor presents a clear picture of the works’ histories and a very clean edition. Completists will probably disagree with me, but I don’t fully understand why the clarinet part (a contemporary alternative for the English horn) for the Requiem is printed separately, and even less so why it merits a whole page of critical notes to itself – could those seriously not have been integrated into the main commentary? That is such a minor quibble in the context of such a magnificent volume which will hopefully encourage more performances of Salieri’s neglected music. Perhaps the two smaller works could be made available as off-prints so choirs could have a taster?

Brian Clark

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