Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/413

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WEBER.

him warm adherents, not only among the general public, but also in the Munich orchestra, cele- brated for its haughty reserve. One of the band having spoken slightingly of the F minor Concerto at rehearsal as an 'amateur work' the rest fell upon him, and would have turned him bodily out of the orchestra if Weber had not interposed. There was also a successful performance of 'Abu Hassan* on June 4, and during the preparations Weber learned that it was to be given before the court at Ludwigsburg in the beginning of May, but not under his name. 'Is not that miserable?' he writes to Gottfried Weber, 'and how stupid! all the papers will announce it as mine. Item, God's will be done.' On August 9 he started for a tour in Switzerland, during which he gave himself up to the enjoyment of nature rather than of music. By the beginning of November he was again in Munich, and gave a brilliantly successful concert on the 11th. For it he had composed a new concert-rondo, which he after- wards used for the finale to the Clarinet-con- certo in Eb, l and remodelled the overture to ' Rübezahl,' a piece of work which he declared to be the clearest and most powerful of anything he had yet done. Besides these he composed Borne vocal pieces, chiefly for his patroness Queen Caroline, and a complete Bassoon-concerto (op. 75) for Brandt, the court-player. On Dec. I he started again, this time in company with Bar- mann, for Central and North Germany.

In Prague he met Gänsbacher, then living there, formed some ties which became of im- portance when he settled there later, composed variations for PF. and clarinet on a theme from Silvana' (op. 33), and gave with Barmann a largely attended concert on Dec. 21. Passing through Dresden they arrived, Dec. 27, at Leipzig, where Weber met Kochlitz and other musical authors, and fostered his own incli- nation for literary work. Indeed, so strong was this that he seriously thought of staying in Leipzig and devoting himself exclusively to literature. His ideas, however, soon took a different turn. The Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, on whom he had evidently made a deep impression, had written about him to Duke Emil Leopold August of Saxe Gotha, and the result was an invitation for himself and Barmann to Gotha, where they arrived Jan. 17, 1812. The Duke was devoted to the arts, a poet and composer, but whimsical and given to extremes in fact a Jean-Paul kind of man, and a great admirer of Jean- Paul's works. Intercourse with him was excit- ing but very wearing, as Weber discovered, although just now it was only for a short time that he enjoyed the privilege of almost uninter- rupted access to him. The Duke took great pleasure in his society, but, having at the time many claims on his time, invited Weber to return in the autumn and make a longer stay. In Gotha Weber met Spohr, who since 1805 had been Concertmeister the court had then no

1 Concerto No. 2, Op. 74. Jähns, No. 118.

WEBER.

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opera and had married in 1806 Dorette Scheid- ler, a harpist, and daughter of Madame Scheidler, the court-singer. Spohr had not retained a very favourable impression of Weber's music at Stuttgart, but received him in true brotherly fashion. On Jan. 20 they passed some pleasant hours together at Spohr's house, and on the 24th played before the court Weber's variations on a Norwegian theme (op. 22), on which Weber remarks in his diary ' Spohr played gloriously.' From Gotha the two musicians went to Weimar, were kindly received at court, and gave a concert. If Weber had been hoping for inspiration from Weimar's great poets, his only chance was with Wieland, for Goethe behaved coldly, or rather took no notice at all of him. His diary contains an entry 'Jan. 29. Early to the Princess. [Maria Paulowna.] Goethe there and spoke. I did not like him.' Spohr indeed had met with scarcely better treatment some little time before, but this may have arisen from Goethe's lack of interest in music. Weber he was personally prejudiced against, possibly because of former circumstances about his father and his family, and the feeling was fostered by Zelter. In- deed Weber never succeeded in approaching Goethe.

By the beginning of February Weber and Bar- mann were in Dresden, but left it with no very favourable impression; indeed, they are reported to have said, ' Dresden shall not catch us again * very contrary to the fact, as far as Weber was concerned. On Feb. 20 they arrived in Berlin, where Weber had hopes of producing ' Silvana' It had been tried through some months before by Righini, but 'went so confusedly that all pronounced it perfect rubbish.' 2 He had thus to meet a prejudice against his work, and, still worse, a personal one of the Capell- meister's against himself. Bernhard Anselm Weber especially, an able arid cultivated man, and himself a pupil of Vogler's, was by no means kindly disposed to his young comrade; but difficulties were gradually overcome, two arias were added, and the performance took place on July 10. Weber conducted in person, and succeeded in inspiring both band and singers, and the public gave the work a warm reception, in spite of its startling novelty. Weber had been much depressed by some sharp criticism of Herr von Drieberg's, and had rigidly tested his work, so he was much encouraged by its success. He writes in his diary, While duly acknowledging my faults. I will not in future lose confidence in myself, but bravely, pru- dently, and watchfully march onwards on my art-career.' Even before this he had made many friends in Berlin, and the two concerts given by himself and Barmann, though not well-attended, had roused great interest. He was introduced to the ' Singakadenaie ' and the 'Liedertafel,' and wrote for the latter a compo- sition which even gained the approval of Zelter. 3 Meyerbeer's parents from the first treated him

2 Weber to Gänsbacher.

3 Das Turnierbankett,' Jähns, No. 132.