5.09.2011 - Carl Maria von Weber [Repeat]
1/5. Weber's work for the aristocratic and eccentric Wurttemberg family.
2/5. Weber's relationships with women.
3/5. Weber's struggles against anti-German sentiment and relations with colleagues.
4/5. The story behind Weber's masterpiece, Der Freischutz.
5/5. Weber's final months, spent in London.
Thanks for this reminder, ff. I think I missed the first broadcast of this CotW. There's a good range of works being played, and I'm glad that there are excerpts from Euryanthe which, though virtually unstageable because of its awful libretto, I think is an underrated opera - the first durchkomponiert opera AFAIK.
Since you've mentioned Berlioz in the other thread on composers who have also been writers, here is an extract from Berlioz' Memoirs re Weber, and particularly discussing Der Freischütz:
"If the fate of this marvellous score [Oberon] has been quite different from that of its elder brother, Freischütz, which the public has seen fit to acclaim, this is not due to any vulgarity in the character of Freischütz, anything shoddy in its construction, anything sham in its brilliance or blatantly sensational in its style. In neither work has the composer made the least concession to passing fashion or to the even grosser demands of singers and their vanity. He was as proudly himself, as true, as original, as hostile to formula, as resolute in integrity, as incapable of compromise for the sake of applause, as great in Freischütz as in Oberon. The poetic invention of the former, however, is full of energy, passion and contrast; the supernatural element in it gives rise to strange and startling effects. Melody, harmony and rhythm alike are tremendously vivid and powerful; everything combines to arouse the listener. In addition, the characters, being drawn from life, are more obviously appealing; the representation of their feelings and the world they live in has naturally prompted a less rarefied, more accessible style; yet it is treated with such exquisite skill that the most austere spirit cannot resist its charm, while for this same quality the mass of the people deem it the very perfection of art and a miracle of invention."
A fine tribute from one composer to another. Btw, I like the Ferdinand Schimon portrait of Weber, giving him an air of fastidious detachment.
yes, it is good, isn't it? And, boy, he could do fur....
Originally Posted by aeolium
It would be a good avatar for.......
Originally Posted by vinteuil
ps that's the first time I have used the word 'avatar'.
I like the little of Weber's music I know.
I cannot recommend this CotW strongly enough, as it shows many of the aspects of CMvonWeber which we normally don't associate with him (and Euryanthe, Oberon and Freischütz are great music - independent whether these are stageable [which IMO only Oberon really is])
o Patrick don't be a tease - for whom???
Originally Posted by PatrickOD
It is excellent, isn't it, Roehre, and full of interesting insight into Weber's career. Not only accidentally swallowing nitric acid, but having vitriol (sulphuric acid) thrown on stage while he was conducting as a protest by soldiers against his changes in moving the brass players from the front to the back of the stage!
I liked the excerpts from Silvana, and though some of the music (e.g. the first symphony) seems underdeveloped and lacking in polish there are indications of his powers of invention.
I'm not sure about the unstageability of Freischütz and Euryanthe. I think Freischütz could be, notwithstanding the Wolf's Glen scene - but that it should be done with every aspect of German romanticism brought out, with backdrops echoing Caspar David Friedrich paintings, and no irony (which is fatal to that atmosphere). As for Euryanthe, I agree that with an unaltered libretto it is unstageable, but Tovey who was a great admirer of the music for Euryanthe recommended the amended version (1922) of Rolf Lauckner who rewrote the libretto to fit Weber's music. I would like to see a performance of that edition.
Just echoing your own 'he could do fur', vinteuil. Of whom were YOU thinking ?
Originally Posted by vinteuil
Apologies for cutting into aeloium and Roehre's discussion. I'm listening too, but can't contribute to the Opera topic. I was struck though, by Weber's reported disdain for many of the people he knew, and I thought - ' I hear a bell ringing... somewhere.'
...many of the aspects ....
Originally Posted by Roehre
Mmmm. He seemed to have had a lot of "fun" with the ladies. I was surprised. So young too - I was never so lucky.
Whatever happened to the one with the oyster fetish? My mind couldn't cope with all the details, or lack of them. I'll have to listen again, and maybe draw up a chart.