Carl Maria von Weber was a German Pianist, Composer, Conductor and Music Critic. He was one of the first composers to have adopted the romantic school of music.
Carl Maria von Weber was born in Eutin, the district capital of Holstein, Germany on 19 November 1786. Weber had a gift with the piano and he had became a expert player by the age of four. At the age of ten, Weber started studying music under Johann Peter Heuschkel. In the next two years he studied music under various teachers, including the singer Johann Evangelist Wallishauser, the organist Johann Nepomuk Kalcher, and the composer Michael Haydn. By age twelve Weber was already a child prodigy, he had published six piano fughettas and an opera, whose title was translated as ‘The Power of Love and Wine’, besides a mass and a series of variations for the piano. At the age of fourteen, Weber wrote an opera called “The Silent Forest Maiden”, which went on to receive attention as far as Prague and Saint Petersburg. His first true success came with the opera “Peter Schmoll and his Neighbours” performed in 1803. Many critics remarked that the 1803 opera was what instigated Georg Joseph Vogler to offer Weber the position of Director at the famous Breslau Opera in 1806, when Weber was only twenty years old. His time at Breslau, however, was not without incidents. One day he accidentally ingested engraver’s acid from a wine bottle; this permanently affected Weber’s voice. From 1807 to 1810, Weber then served as a secretary to Duke Ludwig; the brother of the king. He was ultimately banished from the Duke’s household as his father was accused of embezzlement of the Duke’s funds. Nonetheless, Weber’s reputation would earn him the title of Director of the Opera in Prague from 1813 to 1816, and the Director of the Opera in Dresden in 1817.
It was after 1817 that Weber wrote his most influential music. In 1819, he wrote the piano piece titled “Invitation to the Dance” which John Warrack recalled as “the most brilliant and poetic example of the Romantic concert Waltz”. In 1821, Weber wrote Der Freischütz, an opera which was translated as “The Marksmen”. Der Freischütz was considered to be one of the first Romantic operas of Germany, and its nationalistic scenes earned it the title of the first ever German Nationalist Opera. The opera received so much attention that it was ultimately be performed all over Europe. Weber then followed Der Freischütz with another opera titled Euryanthe, which was highly respected for its compelling overture, but criticized for its mediocre libretto by Helmina von Chézy. Weber’s final opera was written on an invitation by The Royal Opera of London. It was to be an adaptation of Christoph Martin Wieland’s poem which was called “Oberon”, Weber then premiered the opera under the same name on April 12, 1826.
Carl Maria von Weber died on 5th June 1826 due to complications from Tuberculosis. At his funeral, his eulogy was performed by another German great; Richard Wagner. Weber is remembered as one of the most important early German Composers of all time.