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Weber, Carl Maria (Friedrich Ernst) von

Weber, Carl Maria (Friedrich Ernst) von (b Eutin in Oldenburg, 1786; d London, 1826). Ger. composer, conductor, and pianist. Son of town musician and theatrical impresario and his 2nd wife, a singer and actress. Taught as boy by Michael Haydn in Salzburg, then by court organist, Kalcher, in Munich 1798–1800. By 1800 had already composed opera, mass, and pf. works. Went to Vienna in 1803 as pupil of Vogler, through whose influence became Kapellmeister at Breslau municipal th. 1804–6. Worked in Karlsruhe 1806–7, where he wrote 2 syms. Court secretarial post Stuttgart 1807–10, where he was encouraged by Kapellmeister, Danzi. While there wrote incidental mus. to Turandot, opera Silvana, and other works. Banished from Stuttgart because of false suspicion of embezzlement, went to Mannheim, where he was befriended by Gottfried Weber (no relation), then to Darmstadt, where he met Vogler again and took lessons from him in company with Meyerbeer. At this time wrote comic opera Abu Hassan, pf. conc., and vn. sonatas. Travelled to Munich 1811, where he wrote bn. conc. for court wind-player, and to Prague, where his pf. improvisations were acclaimed. Appointed dir., Prague Opera, 1813–16. Court Kapellmeister, Dresden, 1817, with commission to est. Ger. opera alongside It. variety. Wrote Mass in E♭ 1818 and worked on opera Der Freischütz. Work continually frustrated by opposition from It. opera dir., Morlacchi. Weber rehearsed operas exhaustively, making himself responsible for every aspect of prods., and, in his operatic theories, anticipating those of his disciple Wagner. Der Freischütz was prod. in Berlin, to tumultuous acclaim, in 1821 and was taken up throughout Ger., making Weber the most popular composer of the day. At the same time, he was at work on a comic opera Die drei Pintos, which he never finished and which was subsequently prepared for perf. by Mahler. He interrupted work on it to compose an opera commissioned by the Vienna Kärntnerthor Th. for 1822–3 season. This was Euryanthe, prod. Vienna, Oct. 1823. While in Vienna, Weber met Beethoven, with whom he had been in correspondence. By now, Weber's health was seriously undermined by tuberculosis. In 1824, the manager of CG, Kemble, commissioned an opera from Weber, who agreed to set Planché's Eng. lib. Oberon. Went to London 1826, staying with Sir George Smart in Great Portland St., supervising rehearsals at CG and conducting several concerts. After Oberon première, became increasingly ill and died 7 weeks later in Smart's house. Body taken to Moorfields Chapel. In 1844, on instigation of the Dresden Kapellmeister Richard Wagner, coffin was shipped back to Ger. and buried in Dresden Catholic cemetery on 15 Dec. after funeral oration by Wagner and the perf. of Wagner's Hebt an den Sang (An Webers Grabe) for unacc. male ch.

Weber's place in history of Ger. mus. is that of a liberator, setting it free from It. influences and showing how the shape of folk tunes could be adapted for operatic and other purposes. Marschner and Lortzing were his immediate successors, Wagner his culmination. In his instr. and vocal works, his virtuosity, startling effects achieved without use of unusual instrs., and formal and technical innovations stimulated Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, and in due course Mahler. According to Debussy, the sound of the Weber orch. was achieved by ‘scrutiny of the soul of each instrument’. Though handicapped by the weakest of libs. (by the eccentric poetess Helmina von Chézy), Euryanthe contains mus. of outstanding subtlety and strength; while the powerful atmospheric spell of the ‘nature’ mus. in Freischütz is created by the poetic establishment of a mood. For some time Weber was regarded as more important as an influence on others than for his own achievement. Today his rightful place as a master is acknowledged. Prin. works:OPERAS: Das Waldmädchen (1800); Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn (1801–2); Rübezahl (1804–5); Silvana (1808–10); Abu Hassan (1810–11); Der Freischütz (1817–21); Euryanthe (1822–3); Die drei Pintos (begun 1820); Oberon (1825–6).THEATRE MUSIC: Ov. and 6 nos. for Turandot (1809); Ov. and 11 nos. for Preciosa (1820); and many other items for plays.CHURCH MUSIC: Mass in E♭ (Grosse Jugendmesse) (1802); Mass in E♭ (1818); Mass in G (1819).CHORAL: Der erste Ton, reciter, ch., orch. (1808); Kampf und Sieg, SATB soloists, ch., orch. (1815); Jubel-Kantate, SATB soloists, ch., orch. (1818).ORCH.: syms: No.1 in C (1807), No.2 in C (1807); ov., The Ruler of the Spirits (Der Beherrscher der Geister) (1811); Jubel-Ouvertüre (Jubilee Overture) (1818); Andante und Rondo Ungarese, va., orch. (1809, rev. for bn. 1813); pf. concs: No.1 in C (1810), No.2 in E♭ (1812); Konzertstück in F minor, pf. (1821); cl. concertino (1811); cl. concs.: No.1 in F minor (1811), No.2 in E♭ (1811); bn. conc. in F (1811, rev. 1822); hn. concertino (1815); Romanza Siciliana, fl., orch. (1805); Grand Potpourri, vc., orch. (1808).CHAMBER MUSIC: pf. qt. (1809); cl. quintet (1815); trio, fl., vc., pf. (1819); 6 Progressive Sonatas, vn., pf. (1810); Grand Duo Concertant in E♭, pf., cl. (1816); Divertimento, gui., pf. (1816).PIANO: 6 Variations on Original Theme (1800); 12 Allemandes (1801); Écossaises (1802); 7 Variations on Original Theme (1808); Momento capriccioso (1808); Grande Polonaise (1808); sonatas: No.1 in C (1812), No.2 in A♭ (1816), No.3 in D minor (1816), No.4 in E minor (1822); 7 Variations on a Theme from Méhul's Joseph (1812); 7 Variations on a Gipsy Song (1817); Rondo brillante (1819); Invitation to the Dance (Aufforderung zum Tanz) (1819); Polacca brillante (1819).PIANO DUETS: 6 Petites pièces faciles (1801); 6 Pieces (1809); 8 Pieces (1818–19).SONGS (a selection of Weber's many songs): Wiedersehn (1804); Serenade (1809); Trinklied (1809); Wiegenlied (1810); Leyer und Schwerdt (Lyre and Sword) Vol. I, 4 songs (1814), Vol. II, 6 songs for 4 male vv. (1814), Vol. III (1816); Die Temperamente beim Verluste der Geliebten (1816); Elfenlied (1819); Das Licht im Thale (1822); also many canons and part-songs.ARRS.: God Save the King, 3 versions, for male vv. (?1818), male vv. (?1818), and SATB and wind (1819); 10 Scottish National Songs, v. with fl., vn., vc., pf.

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"Weber, Carl Maria (Friedrich Ernst) von." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Weber, Carl Maria (Friedrich Ernst) von." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/weber-carl-maria-friedrich-ernst-von

Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber

Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber

The operas of Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (1786-1826) are the cornerstone of the German romantic opera, and he is often heralded as the father of musical romanticism.

The son of an itinerant musical family, Carl Maria von Weber was born on Dec. 18, 1786, near Lübeck, where his father was a town musician and his mother a singer. The family was distantly connected with Constanze Weber Mozart's family. There was no justification for the claim of nobility or the use of the "von." Weber spent his early years in nearly constant travel. His father, an unscrupulous eccentric, attempted to turn him into a prodigy, but young Weber was unable to live up to these expectations.

In 1796 the family settled temporarily in Salzburg, where Weber entered the school for choristers directed by Michael Haydn. Two years later Weber's mother died, and his father resumed his itinerant existence, carrying his son first to Vienna and then to Munich, where the boy again formally studied music. In 1800 he composed his first opera, Die Macht von Liebe (The Power of Love), a piano sonata, some variations for piano, and several songs, all highly amateurish.

In 1801 Weber and his father returned to Salzburg, where Weber resumed his study with Michael Haydn. Beginning in 1804 Weber studied off and on over the next few years with Georg Vogler.

During this time the handsome young Weber managed to survive on his wits, charm, and ability to manipulate people and circumstances. He was involved in various court imbroglios and intrigues through his own culpability, to say nothing of his father's notoriously disreputable behavior. The turning point in Weber's career seems to have taken place when he was arrested and eventually banished from Stuttgart as a result of an unsavory scandal concerning a possible charge of bribery in connection with the court. Although proved innocent of this charge, he was shaken enough, it seems, to settle down and become seriously concerned with establishing himself as a performer and composer.

Weber traveled extensively throughout Germany and Austria, playing his own compositions and composing. In 1813 he became an opera conductor in Prague. The following year he fell in love with Caroline Brandt, a singer in his company, whom he married in 1817, a year after he had been appointed conductor of German opera in Dresden. He served in this post and remained active in the city's musical life until his untimely death.

Creation of the German Romantic Opera

Weber's vast and varied theatrical experience in the provincial opera houses of central Europe bore fruit in Der Freischütz (The Freeshooter), produced in Berlin in 1821. Composed to a libretto by Friedrich Kind and heavily indebted to folk superstition and sentimentalized medieval German history, the opera was an enormous success. In this one composition Weber succeeded in creating a prototype for the German romantic opera which he himself was unable to equal.

In 1824 Weber's second major opera, Euryanthe, with a libretto by Helmine von Chézy, was produced in Dresden. Overly complicated and without the instant popular appeal of Freischütz, Euryanthe did not live up to expectations. That year Weber received an offer to go to London to prepare an English opera based on C. M. Wieland's Oberon. Although seriously ill, Weber agreed to undertake this work since he was financially straitened. He left for England in 1825 to supervise the performances of Oberon, which was a great success. He died in London on June 5, 1826, of tuberculosis.

Other Works

Weber was a prolific composer in many forms. In addition to his piano music—several sonatas, variations, two concertos, and the fanciful Konzertstück—his production includes symphonies, chamber music, vocal works, and two clarinet concertos. His major accomplishment, however, was to create the first great popular success for German romantic opera. The folklike quality of much of his vocal writing has ensured his popularity in Germany, but elsewhere he is a composer more honored by name than in performance. The overtures of his three major operas have long been repertoire items in the concert hall, but the operas themselves deserve to be better known. Weber was also a respectable prose writer, especially of music criticism, thus proving himself to be entirely in keeping with 19th-century romantic aspirations.

Further Reading

Good biographies of Weber are William Saunders, Weber (1940), and Lucy and Richard Poate Stebbins, The Enchanted Wanderer: The Life of Carl Maria von Weber (1940). His operas are examined in Donald J. Grout, A Short History of the Opera (1947; rev. ed. 1965).

Additional Sources

Benedict, Julius, Sir, Carl Maria von Weber, New York: AMS Press, 1980.

Friese-Greene, Anthony, Weber, London; New York: Omnibus, 1991.

Warrack, John Hamilton, Carl Maria von Weber, Cambridge, Eng.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1976.

Warrack, John Hamilton, The New Grove early romantic masters 2: Weber, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, New York: Norton, 1985. □

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Weber, Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von

Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (frē´drĬkh ĕrnst fən vā´bər), 1786–1826, German composer and pianist; pupil of Michael Haydn and Abbé Vogler. He made his debut as a pianist at 13 and began to compose at about the same time. Weber enjoyed favor at court and became musical director and conductor of opera at Breslau (1804–6), Prague (1813–16), and Dresden (1816–26). He is considered the founder of German romantic opera, combining in his works strong nationalistic emotion with supernatural elements from German folklore. Of his 10 operas, Der Freischütz [the marksman] (1821) and Oberon (1826) were influential and continue to be performed. Euryanthe (1823) is without spoken dialogue and is thus a landmark in opera history. Weber's instrumental works, including Invitation to the Dance (1819), for piano, and the Concertstück (1821), for piano and orchestra, emphasize virtuoso technique. Nearly all of his nonoperatic works, including three Masses, incidental dramatic music, and many songs, have disappeared from the concert repertoire.

See biographies by his son Max Maria von Weber (2 vol., 1965, repr. 1969), J. Warrack (1968), and W. Saunders (2d ed. 1969).

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"Weber, Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Weber, Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/weber-carl-maria-friedrich-ernst-von

Weber, Carl Maria von

Weber, Carl Maria von (1786–1826) German composer, conductor, and pianist. He helped to establish a German national style in his operas Der Freischütz (1821) and Euryanthe (1823). He also composed piano and chamber music, concertos and the popular Invitation to the Dance (1819).

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