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Carl Maria von Weber 1786-1826

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Arnold1740-1802 Gluck1714-1787
Beethoven 1770-1827  
Boccherini1743-1805 Haydn1732-1809
Clementi1752-1832 Hummel1778-1837
Czerny1794-1857 Mozart1756-1791
Diabelli1781-1858 Rossini1792-1868
Dussek1760-1812 Schubert1797-1828
Field1782-1837 Weber1786-1826



Rondo Brillant in E flat Opus 62

Carl Maria von Weber was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic.

Weber's mastery of the orchestra was equaled in his time only by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. During the 19th century, his 'Polacca Brillante', 'Invitation to the Dance, Second Piano Sonata and Konzertstück for piano and orchestra were frequently heard.

 The Konzertstück provided a new model for the one-movement concerto in several contrasting sections (such as Liszt's, who often played the work), and was acknowledged by Igor Stravinsky as the model for his Capriccio for piano and orchestra.

Other 19th-century admirers included Wagner, Meyerbeer and Berlioz. Weber's works, especially his operas Der FreischützEuryanthe and Oberon greatly influenced the development of the Romantic opera in Germany. He was also an innovative composer of instrumental music. His compositions for the clarinet,and for piano influenced composers such as Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn.

Weber's orchestration has also been highly praised and emulated by later generations of composers including Hector Berlioz and Claude Debussy.He was also an innovative composer for the clarinet, for which he wrote many works. Weber's body of Catholic religious music was highly popular in 19th century Germany, and he composed one of the earliest song-cycles.

His operas influenced the work of later opera composers such as Heinrich Marschner, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Richard Wagner, as well as several nationalist 19th-century composers such as Mikhail Glinka, and homage has been paid him by 20th century composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Gustav Mahler (who completed Weber's unfinished comic opera Die drei Pintos and made revisions ofEuryanthe and Oberon) and Paul Hindemith (composer of the popular Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes of Weber).

Weber also wrote music journalism and was interested in folksong, and learned lithography to engrave his own works.


Weber's cousin Constanze was the wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.


click on picture for jigsaw


Weber was born in Eutin, Holstein. He was initially taught by his father who was also a musician and who founded a theatre company in Hamburg in 1787. After Weber's mother died of tuberculosis in 1798 Weber, aged 12, went to Salzburg to study with Michael Haydn and then to Munich where he studied with the singe rJohann Evangelist Wallishauser, and organist J. N. Kalcher.Weber published his first work in 1798, 6 fughettas for piano.

In 1800 Weber, then 14 years old, wrote an opera called Das stumme Waldmädchen (The silent forest maiden), which was produced at the Freiberg theatre. It was later performed in Vienna, Prague, and St. Petersburg. Weber also began to write articles as a critic, e.g. in the Leipziger Neue Zeitung (1801).

In 1801 Weber resumed his studies with Michael Haydn. He later continued studying in Vienna with Abbé Vogler (Georg Joseph Vogler), founder of three important music schools (in Mannheim, Stockholm, and Darmstadt); another famous pupil of Vogler was Giacomo Meyerbeer, who became a close friend of Weber.

In 1803, Weber's opera, Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn (Peter Schmoll and his Neighbors) was produced in Augsburg, and gave Weber his first success as a popular composer.

Vogler, impressed by his pupil's talent, recommended him to the post of Director at the Opera in Breslau (1806), and from 1807 to 1810, Weber held a post at the court of the Duke of Württemberg, in Stuttgart.

In 1810, Weber visited several cities throughout Germany; from 1813 to 1816 he was director of the Opera in Prague; from 1816 to 1817 he worked in Berlin, and from 1817 onwards he was director of the prestigious Opera in Dresden, working hard to establish a German Opera, in reaction to the Italian Opera which had dominated the European music scene since the 18th century. On 4 November 1817, he married Caroline Brandt, a singer who created the title role of Silvana.

The successful premiere of Der Freischütz on 18 June 1821 in Berlin led to performances all over Europe. On the very morning of the premiere, Weber finished his Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra in F minor, and he premiered it a week later.

In 1823, Weber composed the opera Euryanthe to a mediocre libretto, but containing much rich music, the overture of which in particular anticipatesRichard Wagner. In 1824, Weber received an invitation from Covent Garden, London, to compose and produce Oberon, based on Christoph Martin Wieland's poem of the same name. Weber accepted the invitation, and in 1826 he travelled to England, to finish the work and conduct the premiere on 12 April.

Other famous works by Weber include: Invitation to the Dance (later orchestrated by Hector Berlioz); Polacca Brillante (later orchestrated by Franz Liszt); two symphonies, a concertino and two concertos for clarinet, a quintet for clarinet and strings, and a concertino for horn (during which the performer is asked to simultaneously produce two notes by humming while playing - a technique known in brass playing as multiphonics).

Weber was already suffering from tuberculosis when he visited London; he died at the house of Sir George Thomas Smart during the night of 4-5 June 1826.Weber was 39 years old. He was buried in London, but 18 years later his remains were transferred on an initiative of Richard Wagner and re-buried in Dresden.

His unfinished opera Die drei Pintos ('The Three Pintos') was originally given by Weber's widow to Meyerbeer for completion; it was eventually completed by Gustav Mahler, who conducted the first performance in this form in Leipzig on 20 January 1888.



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