Author Topic: Carl Maria von Weber  (Read 846 times)

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Offline vers la flamme

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Carl Maria von Weber
« on: November 20, 2019, 05:41:12 PM »


Amazingly, we do not have a thread for the father of German Romantic opera, Carl Maria von Weber. I won't pretend to be well versed in his works, but I find his music fascinating, especially the opera Der Freischütz. I have a great recording with Carlos Kleiber and the Staatskapelle Dresden. The man also wrote some beautiful concertante works for the clarinet.

Well, then, has anybody been listening to Weber recently? He just had a birthday pass by.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 01:20:22 AM »
Weber is largely identified with Freischütz which is not entirely unjustified as no other piece has had such an impact (as the founding of German romantic opera) and lasting popularity. There are, however, two more large scale operas, composed after Freischütz, Euryanthe and Oberon, that contain wonderful music but are dramatically very weak, so they are almost never staged.
He also wrote a few minor stage works (the Turandot music is an early attempt at exoticism, Hindemith used a "chinese theme" for his Metamorphoses) and a surprising amount of instrumental music. Lots of piano music because before becoming an important opera composer he was one of the most famous virtuosos of his day. The best concertante pieces IMO are the f minor clarinet concerto and the Concert piece for piano in the same key. But the two piano concertos are also worthwhile, close to Beethoven but less heroic and with more virtuoso fireworks. The other clarinet etc. concerti are nice but not that essential, unless one is fond of woodwind concerti. Same for the chamber pieces (a trio with flute, some violin sonatinas and a couple of virtuoso clarinet pieces) The two symphonies are very early pieces and interesting but don't expect anything close in style or weight to the famous ouvertures.
Of the piano solo music the best known piece is Invitation to the dance which is basically the beginning of the concerto waltz; this one used to be far more popular in earlier times, both the original and Berlioz' orchestration. There are 4 piano sonatas (Richter played the 3rd, I think, and several other famous pianists have recorded the 2nd or 3rd), nice pieces but all a bit too long for me. (Very roughly, think of a more shallow, loosely built version of a Schubert sonata with lots of virtuoso fireworks added.)
He also wrote songs and choral music (two masses) but I don't think I have heard any of this.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2019, 06:35:45 AM »
Freischütz and Euryanthe, absolutely. Oberon I find a bit of a bore nowadays. I've never seen any of his operas live, though. I guess it makes kind of sense since Freischütz is the only one performed with any frequency.

His clarinet concerti are wonderful too!

Offline Jo498

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2019, 03:15:50 AM »
I forgot to mention the clarinet quintet. This is clearly his most frequently performed/recorded chamber piece and the 3rd most famous/popular clarinet quintet behind Mozart and Brahms (and comfortably ahead of Reger, I'd guess). Like most of Weber it is a somewhat mixed bag but the combination of virtuoso showing off with some operatic gestures (mostly in the slow movement) works very well here, so the fame is not unjustified.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2019, 03:27:52 PM »
Besides the works others have mentioned, I'd want to add his different overtures. Weber was one of the best overture composers IMO. They can stand as independent works. Der Freischütz, Oberon, Euryanthe and Der Beherrscher der Geister are some of his finest.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2019, 03:37:26 PM »
Besides the works others have mentioned, I'd want to add his different overtures. Weber was one of the best overture composers IMO. They can stand as independent works. Der Freischütz, Oberon, Euryanthe and Der Beherrscher der Geister are some of his finest.
Do you know if there's any good CD that compiles all of his overtures under one conductor/orchestra? I'm seeing offerings from Sawallisch/Philharmonia, Järvi/Philharmonia, Karajan/Berlin. I can see all of them being really good. Do you have a favorite?

Offline Cato

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2019, 07:57:16 AM »


Amazingly, we do not have a thread for the father of German Romantic opera, Carl Maria von Weber. I won't pretend to be well versed in his works, but I find his music fascinating, especially the opera Der Freischütz. I have a great recording with Carlos Kleiber and the Staatskapelle Dresden. The man also wrote some beautiful concertante works for the clarinet.

Well, then, has anybody been listening to Weber recently? He just had a birthday pass by.

THAT recording is one of the greatest recordings of anything at any time!

Not to be forgotten are the symphonies:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/fJDk64tkYK0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/fJDk64tkYK0</a>
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Jo498

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2019, 08:39:46 AM »
I have ouverture anthologies with Scherchen (probably unavailable, I have an even older disc, I think), Karajan/DG and Foster/Claves. They are all pretty good and each has a minor piece not included in the others. And Foster has an alternative instrumentation of the Waltz by Weingartner (I am sucker for that Waltz). And the "big three" on a few more anthologies or as fillers (e.g. Furtwängler is worth seeking out). There is also another DG disc with Kubelik that is supposed to be very good and as a great recording of the f minor clarinet concerto. I have the concerto in a different coupling (Mozart) and the Karajan ouvertures, so I skipped that one.


« Last Edit: November 26, 2019, 08:45:52 AM by Jo498 »
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Florestan

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2019, 08:57:34 AM »
Do you know if there's any good CD that compiles all of his overtures under one conductor/orchestra? I'm seeing offerings from Sawallisch/Philharmonia, Järvi/Philharmonia, Karajan/Berlin. I can see all of them being really good. Do you have a favorite?

I have these:



and I'm very happy with them.
“Play Mozart in memory of me --- and I will hear you.” — Chopin

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2019, 11:52:34 AM »
Do you know if there's any good CD that compiles all of his overtures under one conductor/orchestra? I'm seeing offerings from Sawallisch/Philharmonia, Järvi/Philharmonia, Karajan/Berlin. I can see all of them being really good. Do you have a favorite?

I'm not sure if you're a fan of Karajan, but it would be my first choice, and then the first disc Florestan posted.

Online Daverz

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2019, 12:31:47 PM »
Do you know if there's any good CD that compiles all of his overtures under one conductor/orchestra? I'm seeing offerings from Sawallisch/Philharmonia, Järvi/Philharmonia, Karajan/Berlin. I can see all of them being really good. Do you have a favorite?

Not all the overtures, but a good handful:


Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2020, 07:48:18 AM »
Weber TTT!  A recent thread but w/ little activity - his bio HERE w/ a list of compositions - he was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic, and was one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school, and most famous as an opera composer (all discussed earlier in the thread).

For those just getting into this composer, below are the works in my current collection (no full operas, sorry, just not my thing); the weakest part of his oeuvre (from the reviews attached, although mixed) are his 'youthful' Symphonies (I actually purchased a MP3 DL to put into my Brilliant box to supplement the works already there - also includes bassoon works) - NOW, my favorite compositions of Carl Maria are those w/ clarinet, i.e. the two concertos and the quintet - own duplications of these w/ both MIs and Pis - numerous reviews attached of most of these recordings for those interested.  Dave

     

     

Offline Jo498

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2020, 08:12:19 AM »
The Vivarte disc is highly recommendable for any clarinet lover because the other two pieces are also worthwhile listening and not frequently recorded
The symphonies are early works but I think we also hold (unfairly?) symphonies to higher standards than woodwind concerti. People who like the first 4-6 Schubert symphonies will probably like Weber's as well (they are not as good as Schubert's but not that much worse).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2020, 10:39:47 AM »
Last Thursday it was my first meeting with one of his operas: Der Freischütz. Despite several spoken dialogues, the music was quite entertaining throughout with a rustic feel in several passages, and with a great deal of good tunes. The length (2h 9 min) also benefited the experience.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2020, 11:39:45 AM »
I can't believe how little Weber talk there is on this forum... I won't pretend to be a huge fan, but I was under the impression he was a major composer, no less important as a link between Classical and Romantic than the likes of Schubert or Beethoven. But what do I know?



Anyone heard this? It sounds good to me.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2020, 12:48:38 PM »
The Vivarte disc is highly recommendable for any clarinet lover because the other two pieces are also worthwhile listening and not frequently recorded
The symphonies are early works but I think we also hold (unfairly?) symphonies to higher standards than woodwind concerti. People who like the first 4-6 Schubert symphonies will probably like Weber's as well (they are not as good as Schubert's but not that much worse).

Well, I went through my von Weber collection today - concerning the Symphonies, I cannot agree w/ just a few comments from James North of Fanfare quoted below (his complete reviews are attached for those interested).  BUT, when listening to the 3-CD Brilliant box shown previously, the Marriner disc of these works was not great, whether the compositions and/or performances and/or sound - SO, I did an $8 USD DL from PrestoMusic of the recording below w/ Kantorow and the Tapiola Sinfonietta - I really enjoyed!  Weber's youthful pre-opera works are certainly not 'tops' for orchestral works of the era but don't deserve the degrading comments made by North (again, much more 'thumbs up' reviews are attached).  A further delight of this BIS recording are the wonderful bassoon works - this is nearly a 70 min disc worth exploring.  Dave :)

Quote
"This set might be titled “The Best and Worst of Carl Maria von Weber.“ I love his music dearly, but there is no escaping the fact that his two early symphonies are dreadful, all color and no substance."

"There is little that can be done for Weber’s gauche, mindless early symphonies, written when he was 21. They are all sparks and bombast, with colorful surfaces but virtually no content."


Offline MusicTurner

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2020, 09:55:32 PM »
Last Thursday it was my first meeting with one of his operas: Der Freischütz. Despite several spoken dialogues, the music was quite entertaining throughout with a rustic feel in several passages, and with a great deal of good tunes. The length (2h 9 min) also benefited the experience.

Agree; Der Freischütz in the Carlos Kleiber recording would be one of 10-only, selected operas, IMHO, and very much in the spirit of its time.

(...)
Of the piano solo music the best known piece is Invitation to the dance which is basically the beginning of the concerto waltz; this one used to be far more popular in earlier times, both the original and Berlioz' orchestration. There are 4 piano sonatas (Richter played the 3rd, I think, and several other famous pianists have recorded the 2nd or 3rd), nice pieces but all a bit too long for me. (Very roughly, think of a more shallow, loosely built version of a Schubert sonata with lots of virtuoso fireworks added.)
(...)

Yes, for example I have historical recordings by Arrau (Sonata 1, 1949, the Artone 4CD box), Gilels (Sonata 2, Brilliant 10CD box), Richter (Sonata 3, Ermitage 1CD), of very varying quality. But there are other interesting, more recent recordings of the sonatas - like for example Michael Endres'.

Arrau did at least 4 different, great recordings of the wonderfully stormy, naíve Konzertstück, illustrating the contrast between Arrau's earlier, furious style, versus the later, broader and slower playing (Defauw 1946, Szell 1945, Kleiber 1947, Galliera 1960 - and probably more).
Here's the Erich Kleiber one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_1-7QZTzUY
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 10:53:57 PM by MusicTurner »

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2020, 11:24:18 AM »
Agree; Der Freischütz in the Carlos Kleiber recording would be one of 10-only, selected operas, IMHO, and very much in the spirit of its time.

That was the recording I heard. A great musical experience.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2020, 10:44:11 PM »
I can't believe how little Weber talk there is on this forum... I won't pretend to be a huge fan, but I was under the impression he was a major composer, no less important as a link between Classical and Romantic than the likes of Schubert or Beethoven. But what do I know?
The difference is that Beethoven or Schubert are not mainly "links". They might have this function but Schubert's lieder are as good or better as Schumann's not mere precursors and the same goes for Beethoven's symphonies etc. Whereas some of Weber fits such a link character or even served as a paradigm (mainly Freischütz for German romantic opera -> Wagner and the piano Konzertstück as an alternative concerto model -> Liszt, Schumann), lots are more in an uneasy limbo and nowhere as convincing and important as Schubert, Beethoven, Schumann etc. So while I think Weber is in fact underrated today, this is understandable. Also his best piece, Freischütz, does not seem to travel as well and seems far less popular today outside of German speaking countries (and it does have some quaint fairy tale features with the German forest and the wild hunt).
(I have not heard the lieder with guitar; I have heard a few lieder on a mixed anthology but do not remember them.)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Scion7

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Re: Carl Maria von Weber
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2020, 08:52:53 PM »
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