Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/405

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WEBER.

the great opera-composers have been not even Mozart. That instinct for the stage, so obvious in all his dramatic conceptions, and so un- fortunately absent in most of our German opera-composers, no doubt sprang from these early impressions. In 1794, the father being at Weimar with his family, Carl Maria's mother Genoveva, then twenty-six, was engaged as a einger at the theatre under Goethe's direction, and appeared, on June 16, as Constanze in Mo- zart's ' Entführung.' The engagement was how- ever cancelled in September, and Franz Anton left Weimar, to his subsequent regret. 1 He went, it appears, to Erlangen, and in 1796 to Hildburghausen. There the boy of nine found his first scientific and competent teacher in Heuschkel, an eminent oboist, a solid pianist and organist, and a composer who thoroughly understood his art. An organ-piece by him on the Chorale 'Vom Himmel hoch,' a copy of which is in the writer's possession, shows little fancy, but a complete mastery of the technique of composition. It is impossible to state with certainty the method on which Heuschkel had formed himself as a pianist, but it was probably Emanuel Bach's. He had a gift for teaching, and being still young (born 1773), took a personal interest in his pupil. Carl Maria did not at first like the hard, dry, studies to which his teacher inexorably bound him, but he soon found that he was making progress, and the father at last beheld with astonishment the dawn of that genuine musical talent which he had himself tried in vain to evoke. Weber never forgot what he owed to Heuschkel. In his autobiographical sketch, written in 1818, he says that from him he had received the best possible, indeed the only true, foundation for a style of pianoforte playing, at once powerful, expressive, and full of cha- racter, especially the equal cultivation of the two hands. Heuschkel on his part followed with justifiable pride the subsequent triumphs of his pupil, and one of his published compositions is & piece for wind-instruments on themes from Rossini's ' Semiramide,' and Weber's ' Euryanthe * (Schott).

Unfortunately this instruction lasted but a ehort time, as Franz Anton moved on in the autumn with his company to Salzburg. Here there was a training-school for chorister-boys, similar to St. Stephen's Cantorei in Vienna, in which the brothers, Joseph and Michael Haydn, were educated. Michael Haydn had been in the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg since 1762, first as Concertmeister, and after- wards Cathedral organist also. One of his duties was to teach singing to the choristers, among whom the young Weber soon found a place, speedily exciting the attention of Haydn. He asked him to his house, and set him to play a concerto of Kozeluch's, which he had studied with Heuschkel, and other pieces, including a recitative from Graun's 'Tod Jesu.' The upshot

i Pasqué's ' Goethe's Theaterleitung in Weimar,' li, 20,223. Leipzig, -Weber. 1863.

��WEBER.

��389

��was that after repeated requests from the father he consented to give the boy gratuitous in- struction in composition.

Michael Haydn has been somewhat hardly dealt with as a composer. His talent was con- siderable, and had been thoroughly cultivated, although he had not the genius of his elder brother. As a teacher the mere fact of his age, sixty, put him at too great a distance from his eleven-year-old pupil for anything like the same results as had been obtained with Heuschkel. Still he seems to have been satisfied with six fughettas, composed apparently under his own eye, and the proud father had them printed in score. The dedication, showing evident traces of the father's hand, runs, ' To Herr Edmund von Weber, my beloved brother in Hessen-Cassel. To you as connoisseur, as musician, as teacher, and more than all as brother, these firstfruits of his musical labours are dedicated, in the eleventh year of his age, by your tenderly loving brother, Karl Maria von Weber, Salzburg, Sept. 1, 1798.' 2 Carl Maria's mother had died on March 13, of consumption, and her death perhaps occa- sioned a trip to Vienna in April, on which Carl Maria accompanied his father. Here they heard the 'Creation' (April 29 or 30), and probably entered into personal relations with Haydn. Immediately after his return, in the beginning of July at the latest, the father began to talk of leaving Salzburg, for 'one cannot exist under this hierarchy,' and in the autumn they all moved to Munich. As the lessons in composition from Michael Haydn only began in January 1798, they cannot have lasted more than six months. Franz Anton had gradually tired of his stage- managing. ' I have bid good-bye to the good old theatre ' he writes, 3 ' and have returned, though without pay, to my old military life.' This consisted in his adoption of the title of Major, to which he had no sort of right. In Munich Carl Maria had two new teachers, the singer Wallishauser (Italianised into Valesi) and Johann Nepomuck Kalcher, afterwards court-organist. With the latter he made more progress in composition than with Michael Haydn, and always retained a grateful recollec- tion of him. He soon began to play at concerts with success. Under Kalcher's eye he wrote his first opera, 'Die Macht der Liebe und des Weins,' a mass, PF. sonatas, and variations, violin trios, and songs ; but the MSS. have all disappeared ; apparently he burnt them himself.* One work of this time has survived, a set of variations for PF. (op. 2), dedicated to Kal- cher, and specially interesting as lithographed by himself. He had been led to this kind of work

2 M. M. von Weber, 1. 41, and elsewhere, thinks his father made him out intentionally a year younger than he was, but of this piece of dishonesty he may be acquitted. The careless mistake of speaking of a person as of the age of the current year instead of that of the year last completed is very frequent in German. The expression in the eleventh year of his age.' may well have meant the same as eleven years old.

3 January 19, 1799, to Hofkammerrath Kirms at Weimar.

4 M. von Weber.i. 49, etc., says that they were accidentally destroyed In Kalcher's house. See however Biedenfeld's 'Komische Opera,' 134 (Leipzig, Weigel. 1848) and K. Muziol in the ' Neue Berliner Musik- zeitung ' for 1679, No. 1, etc.

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