Karl Maria von Weber

weberKarl Maria von Weber was born in Eutin, Germany, December 18, 1786.

His father was a musician, and Karl was well educated. He studied for time painting and engraving, but music was his passion. His first musical lessons were given by his step brother Fritz, and afterward he studied with Heuschkel, Michael Haydn, Valesi, and Kalcher. While under the last named teacher he composed an opera, “Die Macht der Liebe und des Weines”, the score of which was lost or burned. In 1800 he produced “Das Waldmadchen”, with little success. “Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn” (1803?) was his third opera. At Vienna in 1803 he became a pupil of Abbe Vogler. The next year he was made kapellmaister at Breslau; in 1806-10 he was private secretary to the Duke of Wurtemberg at Stuttgart; afterward he lived in Mannheim, Darmstadt, and other places; was appointed kapellmeister in Prague in 1813, and in 1816 was called to Dresden to organize and conduct the new German opera, of which he is regarded as the founder. In 1821 he went to Berlin and there brought out “Der Freischutz”, the most celebrated of this compositions, which at once gave him rank with the great masters of his art.

In 1826 Weber visited London to superintend the production of his “Oberon”, at the Covent Garden, where it met with an enthusiastic reception. Soon after this, pulmonary disease rapidly preyed upon him an ended his career. Besides other operas, the list of his works includes overtures, cantatas, concertos, the “Invitation a la Valse” and other piano pieces, songs, etc. As founder of the romantic school of German opera, Weber exerted a decisive influence upon later composers, especially upon Wagner and his followers.

He died in London, June 5, 1826.