Weber, Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von

Weber, Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von frē´drĭkh ĕrnst fən vā´bər [key], 1786–1826, German composer and pianist; pupil of Michael Haydn and Abbé Vogler. He made his debut as a pianist at 13 and began to compose at about the same time. Weber enjoyed favor at court and became musical director and conductor of opera at Breslau (1804–6), Prague (1813–16), and Dresden (1816–26). He is considered the founder of German romantic opera, combining in his works strong nationalistic emotion with supernatural elements from German folklore. Of his 10 operas, Der Freischütz [the marksman] (1821) and Oberon (1826) were influential and continue to be performed. Euryanthe (1823) is without spoken dialogue and is thus a landmark in opera history. Weber's instrumental works, including Invitation to the Dance (1819), for piano, and the Concertstück (1821), for piano and orchestra, emphasize virtuoso technique. Nearly all of his nonoperatic works, including three Masses, incidental dramatic music, and many songs, have disappeared from the concert repertoire.

See biographies by his son Max Maria von Weber (2 vol., 1965, repr. 1969), J. Warrack (1968), and W. Saunders (2d ed. 1969).

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