Composer in Context: Carl Maria von Weber

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In collaboration with Bard’s Fisher Center, ASO Online illuminates the work of German Romantic composer Carl Maria von Weber, featuring his Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1 and Bard SummerScape Opera: Euryanthe.

Carl Maria von Weber’s short life was marked by many lows—frequent illnesses, an arrest on embezzlement and other charges—but he also became one of the most influential composers of the early 19th century whose prodigious gifts as a composer, pianist, conductor, and writer bring to mind Mozart. The premiere of Der Freischütz in 1821, an opera that immediately captured the imagination of audiences in Europe and beyond, was a transformative event in the history of Romanticism and helped to usher in a new sensibility in music. He did not have a comparable success in the remaining five years of his life, although the overtures to his later Euryanthe and Oberon became repertory standards. In these operas, and in less familiar compositions, his masterful orchestration and compelling evocation of mood became models for composers from Meyerbeer to Wagner, Liszt, Berlioz, Glinka, and Hindemith.

Available through July 25, 2020.

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Program

Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1 (1807; rev. 1810)
Composed by Carl Maria von Weber

The premiere of Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Der Freischütz in 1821 was a transformative event in the history of Romanticism and made him one of the most revered composers of the early 19th century. His Symphony No. 1 is a prime and early example of the superb mastery of drama and melody and inspired orchestration that became associated with his name.

Recorded live during Bard Music Festival: Chopin and His World

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Euryanthe
Composed by Carl Maria von Weber
Conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Directed by Kevin Newbury

Euryanthe is a story of jealousy and betrayal. A redheaded ghost haunts a dreamlike landscape where supernatural forces collide with everyday hopes of comfort and security. Layers of deceit and repressed desire motivate jealous lovers travelling in a darkly gothic world.

Carl Maria von Weber, an acquaintance of Schubert’s and one of the most influential early Romantic composers, wrote Euryanthe in 1823. The gloriously beautiful score replaces sections of spoken dialogue common to German opera of the time with continuous music. This powerful work left its mark on Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin and later pieces.

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