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Carl Maria von Weber (Composer)

Born: 18th November 1786, Eutin

Died: 5th June 1826, London

Nationality: German

Carl Maria von Weber was a German composer, conductor, virtuoso pianist, guitarist and critic who was one of the first significant composers of the Romantic era. Best known for his operas, he was a crucial figure in the development of Romantische Oper (Romantic opera).

Throughout his youth, his father, Franz Anton, relentlessly moved the family between Hamburg, Salzburg, Freiberg, Augsburg and Vienna. Consequently he studied with many teachers – his father, Johann Peter Heuschkel, Michael Haydn, Giovanni Valesi, Johann Nepomuk Kalcher and Georg Joseph Vogler – under whose supervision he composed four operas, none of which survive complete. He had a modest output of non-operatic music, which includes two symphonies; a bassoon concerto; piano pieces such as Konzertstück in F minor and Invitation to the Dance; and many pieces that featured the clarinet, usually written for the virtuoso clarinetist Heinrich Baermann. His mature operas –  Silvana (1810), Abu Hassan (1811), Der Freischütz (1821), Die drei Pintos (comp. 1820–21), Euryanthe (1823), Oberon (1826) – were a major influence on subsequent German composers including Marschner, Meyerbeer, and Wagner; his compositions for piano anticipated those of Chopin and Liszt.

Further Reading: Weber

 Recording of the Week, Paul Lewis plays early Schubert and Weber

The British pianist radiates sympathy and imagination in two piano sonatas from the 1810s by young composers who both died before their fortieth birthdays.

 Recording of the Week, Weber's Der Freischütz from Sir Colin Davis and the LSO

Fresh, full-bodied and raucous when required, the conductor’s final opera recording is a fitting valedictory tribute to a great man, with Christine Brewer on sublime form as Agathe and Simon O’Neill a steely and secure Max.

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