Carl Maria Von Weber (1786-1826)

Donald Macleod explores Weber's instrumental works, discovering a composer with considerable energy and musical curiosity.

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01* The Early Years20080324

Six Fughettas, Op 1 No 1

Florian Pagitsch (organ)

Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm

Concertino in E minor for horn and orchestra, Op 41

Herman Baumann (horn)

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Kurt Masur (conductor)

Grande Polonaise in E flat for piano, Op 21

Alexander Paley (piano)

Quartet in B flat for piano, violin, viola and cello, Op 8

Kremerata Musica

Gidon Kremer (violin)

Veronika Hagen (viola)

Clemens Hagen (cello)

Vadim Sakharov (piano).

01* The Early Years20080324

Six Fughettas, Op 1 No 1

Florian Pagitsch (organ)

Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm

Concertino in E minor for horn and orchestra, Op 41

Herman Baumann (horn)

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Kurt Masur (conductor)

Grande Polonaise in E flat for piano, Op 21

Alexander Paley (piano)

Quartet in B flat for piano, violin, viola and cello, Op 8

Kremerata Musica

Gidon Kremer (violin)

Veronika Hagen (viola)

Clemens Hagen (cello)

Vadim Sakharov (piano).

01Hot Water20110905

Donald Macleod on Weber's work for the aristocratic and eccentric Wurttemberg family.

Bad luck seemed to dog Carl Maria von Weber's professional life; there was always a rival faction, a temperamental diva or a political intrigue to complicate matters.

In today's programme, Donald Macleod finds Weber working for the aristocratic and eccentric Württemberg family, with whom Weber's own sense of mischief landed him in hot water.

01Hot Water20110905

Donald Macleod on Weber's work for the aristocratic and eccentric Wurttemberg family.

Bad luck seemed to dog Carl Maria von Weber's professional life; there was always a rival faction, a temperamental diva or a political intrigue to complicate matters.

In today's programme, Donald Macleod finds Weber working for the aristocratic and eccentric Württemberg family, with whom Weber's own sense of mischief landed him in hot water.

01The Touring Von Weber Family20150316
01The Touring Von Weber Family20150316

01The Touring Von Weber Family20150316

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's early life, on the road with the Weber Theatre Company.

01The Touring Von Weber Family20150316

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber. Weber was born into a musical family, and both music and theatre featured significantly in his early life. It is not surprising that Weber's greatest successes were in the opera house, although his output in other areas such as orchestral, chamber and choral music, were all highly esteemed. In fact, Weber's music would go on to influence a great many younger composers, including Mendelssohn, Wagner and Liszt. Despite these accolades, financial security evaded Weber as he moved from job to job, working for various aristocrats and royals. Towards the end of his life he received a commission to travel to London and compose an opera for Covent Garden. He was already seriously ill but Weber made the trip and composed Oberon, hoping it would generate enough income to support his family. He died in London, failing to return home to make his farewells.

Weber lived much of his early life on the road with his family, in the Weber Theatre Company. His early attempts at musical composition, from the age of twelve, found their way into more mature works, including his opera, Peter Schmoll, and a setting of the mass. His father Anton was so pleased with these early attempts, that he had them published.

Weber's father often had itchy feet, and he took his family from city to city looking for better prospects. In this way we find Weber in Salzburg studying with Michael Haydn, and later in Vienna learning from the eccentric and colourful character of Abbé Georg Josef Vogler. Weber would write a set of variations for solo piano, on Vogler's ballet Càstore e Pollùce.

By the age of 17, Weber was recommended by Vogler to the post of Director of Music to the Ducal Court in Breslau. The appointment of someone so young didn't go down well with members of the orchestra, especially as Weber wanted to instigate changes. Weber soon moved on, and found employment in Carlsruhe, working for Duke Eugen of Württemberg, to whom he dedicated his Second Symphony.

01The Touring Von Weber Family20150316

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber. Weber was born into a musical family, and both music and theatre featured significantly in his early life. It is not surprising that Weber's greatest successes were in the opera house, although his output in other areas such as orchestral, chamber and choral music, were all highly esteemed. In fact, Weber's music would go on to influence a great many younger composers, including Mendelssohn, Wagner and Liszt. Despite these accolades, financial security evaded Weber as he moved from job to job, working for various aristocrats and royals. Towards the end of his life he received a commission to travel to London and compose an opera for Covent Garden. He was already seriously ill but Weber made the trip and composed Oberon, hoping it would generate enough income to support his family. He died in London, failing to return home to make his farewells.

Weber lived much of his early life on the road with his family, in the Weber Theatre Company. His early attempts at musical composition, from the age of twelve, found their way into more mature works, including his opera, Peter Schmoll, and a setting of the mass. His father Anton was so pleased with these early attempts, that he had them published.

Weber's father often had itchy feet, and he took his family from city to city looking for better prospects. In this way we find Weber in Salzburg studying with Michael Haydn, and later in Vienna learning from the eccentric and colourful character of Abbé Georg Josef Vogler. Weber would write a set of variations for solo piano, on Vogler's ballet Càstore e Pollùce.

By the age of 17, Weber was recommended by Vogler to the post of Director of Music to the Ducal Court in Breslau. The appointment of someone so young didn't go down well with members of the orchestra, especially as Weber wanted to instigate changes. Weber soon moved on, and found employment in Carlsruhe, working for Duke Eugen of Württemberg, to whom he dedicated his Second Symphony.

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's early life, on the road with the Weber Theatre Company.

02*20080325

Weber goes wandering, begins a novel, completes an opera, gets thrown in jail and enjoys his first major success.

Melodie in F for unaccompanied clarinet

Victoria Soames (cello)

Julius Drake (piano)

Momento capriccioso for piano, Op 12

Alexander Paley (piano)

Adagio and Rondo in B flat for two clarinets, two french horns and two bassoons

German Wind Soloists

Ulf Rodenhauser, Wolfgang Teschner (clarinet)

Wolfgang Gaag, Alois Schlemer (horn)

Eberhard Marschall, Klaus Thunemann (bassoon)

Andante and Hungarian Rondo in C minor for viola and orchestra, Op 35

Ernst Wallfisch (viola)

NDR-Sinfonieorchester, Hamburg

Wilhelm Bruckner-Ruggeberg (conductor)

Piano Concerto No 1 in C, Op 11

Nikolai Demidenko (piano)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Charles Mackerras (conductor)

Concertino for clarinet and orchestra, Op 26

Andrew Marriner (cello)

Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields

Neville Marriner.

02*20080325

Weber goes wandering, begins a novel, completes an opera, gets thrown in jail and enjoys his first major success.

Melodie in F for unaccompanied clarinet

Victoria Soames (cello)

Julius Drake (piano)

Momento capriccioso for piano, Op 12

Alexander Paley (piano)

Adagio and Rondo in B flat for two clarinets, two french horns and two bassoons

German Wind Soloists

Ulf Rodenhauser, Wolfgang Teschner (clarinet)

Wolfgang Gaag, Alois Schlemer (horn)

Eberhard Marschall, Klaus Thunemann (bassoon)

Andante and Hungarian Rondo in C minor for viola and orchestra, Op 35

Ernst Wallfisch (viola)

NDR-Sinfonieorchester, Hamburg

Wilhelm Bruckner-Ruggeberg (conductor)

Piano Concerto No 1 in C, Op 11

Nikolai Demidenko (piano)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Charles Mackerras (conductor)

Concertino for clarinet and orchestra, Op 26

Andrew Marriner (cello)

Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields

Neville Marriner.

02Battles with the King of Wurttemberg20150317

02Battles with the King of Wurttemberg20150317

Donald Macleod focuses on the period which saw the composer arrested twice.

02Battles With The King Of Wurttemberg20150317

Donald Macleod focuses on the period which saw the composer arrested twice.

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber had been appointed to the post of Director of Music at the Ducal Court in Breslau. He didn't remain in the position for long or indeed have much time for composition, but he did make a start on an opera. Later on Weber reworked some of this music into a concert overture, Der Beherrscher der Geister, The Ruler of the Spirits.

Weber eventually made his way to Stuttgart, via a period in Carlsruhe, to become the private secretary to Duke Ludwig of Württemberg. His duties included writing begging letters to the Duke's brother, the King of Württemberg, for financial support. The King didn't like Weber, and the composer found himself thrown into prison at one point. During his time in captivity he composed the song, Klage: Ein steter Kampf ist unser Leben.

Things came to a head in 1810, when Weber and his father were escorted to a frontier post at the boundaries of the Württemberg domains, and ordered never to return. Weber now travelled to Mannheim, and then on to Darmstadt, looking for work. It was during this period that he composed his exotic opera, Abu Hassan.

02Battles with the King of Wurttemberg20150317

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber had been appointed to the post of Director of Music at the Ducal Court in Breslau. He didn't remain in the position for long or indeed have much time for composition, but he did make a start on an opera. Later on Weber reworked some of this music into a concert overture, Der Beherrscher der Geister, The Ruler of the Spirits.

Weber eventually made his way to Stuttgart, via a period in Carlsruhe, to become the private secretary to Duke Ludwig of Württemberg. His duties included writing begging letters to the Duke's brother, the King of Württemberg, for financial support. The King didn't like Weber, and the composer found himself thrown into prison at one point. During his time in captivity he composed the song, Klage: Ein steter Kampf ist unser Leben.

Things came to a head in 1810, when Weber and his father were escorted to a frontier post at the boundaries of the Württemberg domains, and ordered never to return. Weber now travelled to Mannheim, and then on to Darmstadt, looking for work. It was during this period that he composed his exotic opera, Abu Hassan.

02Battles With The King Of Wurttemberg20150317

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber had been appointed to the post of Director of Music at the Ducal Court in Breslau. He didn't remain in the position for long or indeed have much time for composition, but he did make a start on an opera. Later on Weber reworked some of this music into a concert overture, Der Beherrscher der Geister, The Ruler of the Spirits.

Weber eventually made his way to Stuttgart, via a period in Carlsruhe, to become the private secretary to Duke Ludwig of Württemberg. His duties included writing begging letters to the Duke's brother, the King of Württemberg, for financial support. The King didn't like Weber, and the composer found himself thrown into prison at one point. During his time in captivity he composed the song, Klage: Ein steter Kampf ist unser Leben.

Things came to a head in 1810, when Weber and his father were escorted to a frontier post at the boundaries of the Württemberg domains, and ordered never to return. Weber now travelled to Mannheim, and then on to Darmstadt, looking for work. It was during this period that he composed his exotic opera, Abu Hassan.

Donald Macleod focuses on the period which saw the composer arrested twice.

02Women20110906

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's relationships with women.

"If there's no sincerity in her feelings, then the final chord of my whole life has sounded!"

From an early age, Weber loved women - even at sixteen, he was dedicating compositions 'to the fair sex of Hamburg'.

After numerous affairs, he settled down with soprano Caroline Brandt - one of two lasting relationships in his life.

The other was with his friend, the clarinettist Heinrich Baermann, for whom Weber wrote some of his most popular music.

02Women20110906

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's relationships with women.

"If there's no sincerity in her feelings, then the final chord of my whole life has sounded!"

From an early age, Weber loved women - even at sixteen, he was dedicating compositions 'to the fair sex of Hamburg'.

After numerous affairs, he settled down with soprano Caroline Brandt - one of two lasting relationships in his life.

The other was with his friend, the clarinettist Heinrich Baermann, for whom Weber wrote some of his most popular music.

03*20080326

Donald Macleod finds Weber finally putting down roots in Munich and also fulfilling a royal commission.

Clarinet Concerto No 1 in F minor, Op 73

Emma Johnson (cello)

English Chamber Orchestra

Gerard Schwarz (conductor)

Sonate progressive No 2 pour le piano-forte, avec violon oblige

Luigi Alberto Bianchi (violin)

Caroline Haffner (piano)

Bassoon Concerto in F, Op 75

Valeri Popov (bassoon)

Russian State Symphony Orchestra

Valeri Polyansky (conductor)

03*20080326

Donald Macleod finds Weber finally putting down roots in Munich and also fulfilling a royal commission.

Clarinet Concerto No 1 in F minor, Op 73

Emma Johnson (cello)

English Chamber Orchestra

Gerard Schwarz (conductor)

Sonate progressive No 2 pour le piano-forte, avec violon oblige

Luigi Alberto Bianchi (violin)

Caroline Haffner (piano)

Bassoon Concerto in F, Op 75

Valeri Popov (bassoon)

Russian State Symphony Orchestra

Valeri Polyansky (conductor)

03Skulduggery20110907

Focusing on Weber's struggles against anti-German sentiment and relations with colleagues.

Donald Macleod tells more tales of the skulduggery of nineteenth century court life.

Today - Weber struggles against anti-German sentiment and tense relations with his colleagues in Dresden.

03Skulduggery20110907

Focusing on Weber's struggles against anti-German sentiment and relations with colleagues.

Donald Macleod tells more tales of the skulduggery of nineteenth century court life.

Today - Weber struggles against anti-German sentiment and tense relations with his colleagues in Dresden.

03Weber And His Future Wife20150318

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's first encounter with the singer Caroline Brandt.

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber's reputation as a composer was starting to rise. In 1812 he travelled to Gotha at the invitation of the Duke of Saxe-Gotha. The Duke was a colourful character who liked to shock his court by dyeing his hair different colours, and by dressing up. He also had a great passion for music and Weber found himself kept very busy, including work on his Piano Concerto No 2.

By 1813 Weber was offered a new role, and one much more to his liking, the post of Director at the Opera in Prague. Standards at the opera had declined and Weber relished the challenge ahead of him. It was during this period that Weber first encountered his future wife, the singer Caroline Brandt. She approached the opera company, looking for work in Prague, and was quickly signed up.

Eventually, Weber tired of his problems at the Opera and moved on to the royal court in Dresden. There were again many obstacles to overcome in Dresden, not least the aristocracy's preference for only Italian music, but it was here that Weber would compose his most successful opera to date, Der Freischütz.

03Weber And His Future Wife20150318

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber's reputation as a composer was starting to rise. In 1812 he travelled to Gotha at the invitation of the Duke of Saxe-Gotha. The Duke was a colourful character who liked to shock his court by dyeing his hair different colours, and by dressing up. He also had a great passion for music and Weber found himself kept very busy, including work on his Piano Concerto No 2.

By 1813 Weber was offered a new role, and one much more to his liking, the post of Director at the Opera in Prague. Standards at the opera had declined and Weber relished the challenge ahead of him. It was during this period that Weber first encountered his future wife, the singer Caroline Brandt. She approached the opera company, looking for work in Prague, and was quickly signed up.

Eventually, Weber tired of his problems at the Opera and moved on to the royal court in Dresden. There were again many obstacles to overcome in Dresden, not least the aristocracy's preference for only Italian music, but it was here that Weber would compose his most successful opera to date, Der Freischütz.

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's first encounter with the singer Caroline Brandt.

04*20080327

Donald Macleod charts Weber's time at the Prague Opera and explores his tempestuous relationship with the high-spirited soprano Caroline Brandt, who was eventually to become Mrs Weber.

Piano Sonata No 2 in A flat, Op 39

Alfred Brendel (piano)

Grand Duo concertant in E flat for clarinet and piano, Op 48

Kalman Berkes (cello)

Jeno Jando (piano).

04*20080327

Donald Macleod charts Weber's time at the Prague Opera and explores his tempestuous relationship with the high-spirited soprano Caroline Brandt, who was eventually to become Mrs Weber.

Piano Sonata No 2 in A flat, Op 39

Alfred Brendel (piano)

Grand Duo concertant in E flat for clarinet and piano, Op 48

Kalman Berkes (cello)

Jeno Jando (piano).

04Der Freischutz20110908

Donald Macleod tells the story behind Weber's masterpiece, Der Freischutz.

Donald Macleod tells the story behind Carl Maria von Weber's masterpiece, Der Freischütz, which was a triumphant success from its first performance.

04Der Freischutz20110908

Donald Macleod tells the story behind Weber's masterpiece, Der Freischutz.

Donald Macleod tells the story behind Carl Maria von Weber's masterpiece, Der Freischütz, which was a triumphant success from its first performance.

04Slighted At Court20150319

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's time in Dresden, where he was repeatedly snubbed.

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber had been appointed Royal Kapellmeister to the royal court in Dresden where he was required to compose music for special occasions, such as a cantata to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the King's accession, and his Mass No 2 for the celebrations to mark the King's golden wedding. However, the composer frequently found himself out of favour on account of his German nationality. The King and his court had a preference for Italian music, and Weber often found himself at loggerheads with officialdom.

Weber married the singer Caroline Brandt and, in 1818, she gave birth to their first child, Marie, who died just three months later. Weber sank into a depression, and also began to show signs of tuberculosis. He was buoyed by the success of his incidental music for Preciosa, and he soon turned his attention to a new comic operatic idea, Die drei Pintos.

04Slighted At Court20150319

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber had been appointed Royal Kapellmeister to the royal court in Dresden where he was required to compose music for special occasions, such as a cantata to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the King's accession, and his Mass No 2 for the celebrations to mark the King's golden wedding. However, the composer frequently found himself out of favour on account of his German nationality. The King and his court had a preference for Italian music, and Weber often found himself at loggerheads with officialdom.

Weber married the singer Caroline Brandt and, in 1818, she gave birth to their first child, Marie, who died just three months later. Weber sank into a depression, and also began to show signs of tuberculosis. He was buoyed by the success of his incidental music for Preciosa, and he soon turned his attention to a new comic operatic idea, Die drei Pintos.

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's time in Dresden, where he was repeatedly snubbed.

05Weber in London20150320

05Weber in London20150320

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's battle with tuberculosis and the birth of his son Max.

05Weber in London20150320

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber was increasingly worried about his health, as he battled with tuberculosis. He was heartened by the birth of his son, Max, who survived infancy and would go on to become his father's first biographer. Not long after this new arrival to the Weber family, Carl Maria von Weber started work on a new opera, Euryanthe. Despite his illness, Weber was working at lightning speed, not only on Euryanthe, but also a fourth piano sonata, and revising his Bassoon Concerto.

Weber knew his time was now limited, but he was determined not leave his family in financial difficulty. He took a commission to compose a new opera for Covent Garden, Oberon, and journeyed to London for its premiere. He wrote many letters home to his wife Caroline about how much he enjoyed life in London, but his health now started to fail, and he died not long after Oberon's success in the capital.

05Weber In London20150320

He became an international celebrity through his success in the world of German opera, and his explorations into novel instrumental timbres greatly enriched orchestral music, this week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Carl Maria von Weber.

Weber was increasingly worried about his health, as he battled with tuberculosis. He was heartened by the birth of his son, Max, who survived infancy and would go on to become his father's first biographer. Not long after this new arrival to the Weber family, Carl Maria von Weber started work on a new opera, Euryanthe. Despite his illness, Weber was working at lightning speed, not only on Euryanthe, but also a fourth piano sonata, and revising his Bassoon Concerto.

Weber knew his time was now limited, but he was determined not leave his family in financial difficulty. He took a commission to compose a new opera for Covent Garden, Oberon, and journeyed to London for its premiere. He wrote many letters home to his wife Caroline about how much he enjoyed life in London, but his health now started to fail, and he died not long after Oberon's success in the capital.

Donald Macleod focuses on Weber's battle with tuberculosis and the birth of his son Max.

05 LAST20080328

Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of Weber's life and instrumental music, focusing on his marriage, the creation of his opera Der Freischutz and a meeting with Beethoven.

The programme includes three works from the composer's time at the Dresden Opera.

Aufforderung zum Tanze (Invitation to the Dance), rondeau brillant for piano, Op 65

Hamish Milne (piano)

Trio in G minor, Op 63

Nash Ensemble:

Judith Pearce (flute)

Christopher van Kampen (cello)

Ian Brown (piano)

Konzertstuck in F minor for piano and orchestra, Op 79

Benjamin Frith (piano)

RTE Sinfonietta

Proinnsias O Duinn (conductor).

05 LAST*20080328

Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of Weber's life and instrumental music, focusing on his marriage, the creation of his opera Der Freischutz and a meeting with Beethoven.

The programme includes three works from the composer's time at the Dresden Opera.

Aufforderung zum Tanze (Invitation to the Dance), rondeau brillant for piano, Op 65

Hamish Milne (piano)

Trio in G minor, Op 63

Nash Ensemble:

Judith Pearce (flute)

Christopher van Kampen (cello)

Ian Brown (piano)

Konzertstuck in F minor for piano and orchestra, Op 79

Benjamin Frith (piano)

RTE Sinfonietta

Proinnsias O Duinn (conductor).

05 LASTLondon20110909

Donald Macleod tells the story of Weber's final months, spent in London.

1826 saw Carl Maria von Weber in London.

He was ill, close to death, and was desperate to do as much as he could to provide for his family in his remaining weeks.

Donald Macleod tells the story of Weber's final few months, including Oberon, his opera for London.

05 LASTLondon20110909

Donald Macleod tells the story of Weber's final months, spent in London.

1826 saw Carl Maria von Weber in London.

He was ill, close to death, and was desperate to do as much as he could to provide for his family in his remaining weeks.

Donald Macleod tells the story of Weber's final few months, including Oberon, his opera for London.