Leopold Anton Kozeluch, often inaccurately and unjustly portrayed as a scheming opponent of Mozart and Haydn, was actually an extraordinarily popular and successful composer during his own lifetime. Already in 1781 Kozeluch had such an outstanding reputation that the Salzburg archbishop offered him the court organist?s post left vacant by Mozart. The Bohemian composer?s some 250 works include symphonies, piano music, operas, cantatas, string quartets, and a number of oratorios. Moses in Egypt, an oratorio based on the Book of Exodus from the Old Testament, was premiered in the old Burgtheater in 1787. Regarded as the last great success of an Italian oratorio in Vienna, it does not relate the story of the march of the Israelites from Egypt but focuses more on the human drama just prior to their departure ? on the individual characters Moses and his younger brother Aaron, on the Pharaoh and his daughter Merime. The oratorio?s elimination of the secco recitatives, often felt to be boring, and stronger pyschological-musical portrayals make it a very modern work of its own genre and already place it in close proximity to the biblical opera.