ANNIVERSARY: Weber "Euryanthe"

Edited: August 25, 2023, 3:52 PM · Has anybody witnessed a stage production of this opera? I believe the libretto is a bit of a clonker but the overture is very exciting and has an independent concert life. My fear though is that Weber's music is becoming forgotten. How many V.commers have played music by Weber, beyond of course the hunting chorus from "Der Freischütz"?

Replies (11)

Edited: August 25, 2023, 5:06 PM · I played the first violin part of Carl Maria von Weber's Clarinet Concerto sometime between 45 and 50 years ago. The clarinet soloist was Richard Meyers, then president of our local community college, but he went on to lead other larger, more well-known schools. Perhaps his greatest contribution to music (and maybe to the world) is that he is the father of violinist Anne Akiko Meyers.

I probably played other stuff by Weber, but that's the event I remember.

Edited: August 29, 2023, 3:38 PM · I haven't seen Euryanthe, but I've seen a production of Der Freischütz.

I've played a production of his one-act opera Abu Hassan, and I've also played the overture to Der Freischütz.

August 25, 2023, 5:45 PM · One of my kids played the Andante and Rondo Ongarese, which Weber wrote for either viola or bassoon. It's actually a really nice and fun piece.
Edited: August 25, 2023, 6:41 PM · I once did a concert with the theme of "Shakespeare, 1826." All works from that year, each focusing on the Bard in some way. So there was the overture to Weber's Oberon, and that by itself was very fine.

We then did Kuhlau's overture to "William Shakespeare" (really composed by the Earl of Oxford), and Mendelssohn's overture to MSND. Followed by the incidental music, which was composed later.

The very cool part was that we also did a snippet from the Act II Finale "And hark! The mermaids!" from Oberon. Weber had written this opera for London, and more or less worked himself to death during the premiere. Mendelssohn was able to see the manuscripts as they came back to the publisher-- or otherwise got access somehow.

It is clear that his MSND overture, written later that year, is a tribute to Weber. It takes the theme from that little excerpt and uses it in a whole variety of contexts. The overture is even in the same key as Weber's music, with roughly the same orchestration and tempo. And, of course, it is based on the same Shakespearean characters.

If you wanted, you could warm up the audience with the Weber (first 4:15 of the clip), and segue right in to the overture. Dohnanyi did a similar stunt with a Ligeti piece setting up the prelude to Lohengrin. This is even more effective and grounded in history.

August 25, 2023, 11:47 PM · Many years ago I remember playing through Weber's 6 Sonates progressives for violin and piano of 1810 and finding them good quirky fun. Two of them I see have had commercial recordings that can be heard on IMSLP, called violin sonatas in D minor and F major.
Edited: August 28, 2023, 6:14 AM · I've played (but not performed) the overture to Euryanthe under Sargent's baton, that to Freischütz under a less well-known conductor, and the clarinet quintet, but I've never heard the hymn tune "Weber" sung or played (He died at the home of a better-known hymn tune composer). I don't think he'll ever be entirely forgotten.
By the way, the plot of Weber's "Oberon" comes from the Middle Ages and is totally different from that of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", so much so, that I think it was inappropriate to play that Overture in a concert directed at Shakespeare (Tippett's "Midsummer Marriage" is equally nothing to do with Shakespeare).
Edited: August 29, 2023, 9:13 AM · Well, in fairness, the posters featured “1826”. The other connections were a bonus. And it is not impossible that Mendelssohn free associated a link between Oberon and the Shakespeare he had been reading that summer.
August 29, 2023, 2:13 AM · Thank you for your interesting replies. I am glad to hear reports that Weber is still being played. His music is melodic, his orchestration has sparkle and originality. I have seen two productions of 'Der Freischütz', the first was visually hopeless, the second much better, but no Weber seems to be programmed in my neck of the woods. I have played in the Berlioz orchestration of 'Invitation to the Dance'. It had some difficult moments!
Edited: August 29, 2023, 2:42 AM · Since this is a violinists' forum I thought I should put in another word for the violin sonatas which are surprisingly neglected. Arnold Steinhardt recorded all six with Seymour Lipkin, as did Isabelle Faust with Alexander Melnikov on period instruments. On youtube you'll also find some of them played by Leonid Kogan and Grigory Ginzburg. More closely related to Mozart's than Beethoven's and coming in at under 10 minutes each, I think including one or two in a programme of heavier pieces could make a refreshing palate-cleanser.
August 29, 2023, 3:53 AM · That sound's like an interesting performance.
August 29, 2023, 3:56 AM · I fully agree Steve: the sonatas are surprisingly short, and very attractive. I've downloaded them from IMSLP. Somewhere in the past I have played the second movement of the first sonata, but I can't locate when or where.

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