Review of Carl Maria von Weber, meine Lieder, meine Sänge by Signe Asmussen w/ Jan Sommer & Volkmar Zimmermann, Classico, 2002
I confess I have never listen to the music of Carl Maria von Weber (1786 -1826). Son of an officer and musician who later became the leader of a touring theatre-company, Carl Maria von Weber became a great piano virtuoso and an expert about theatre. Refusing a brilliant career as a pianist he began studying composition with Michael Haydn in Salzburg. Here he had his first works in print at the age of eleven, and when he was fourteen he had his first opera staged in Freiberg.
He studied with the theorist and composer Abbé Vogler, in 1806 he became head of music at the court of Duke Fr. Eugen of Wùrttemberg, a position he held until he was taking the leadership of The German Opera in Prague in 1813. From 1817 until his death in 1826, Weber was leading the Court Opera in Dresden.
Weber’s list of works includes songs, works for piano, charnber-music, solo-concertos and symphonies, but best known are his operas, and most of all “Der Freischùtz” (1821).
Weber is considered the founder of the German opera; his effort was to turn the national-romantic opera into a performance where music and theatre, into the most minute detail, would become equal elements in the artistic whole, becoming a model for Gustav Mahler, who finished his opera “Die drei Pintos”(1821) and for Richard Wagner. In this record we can find his songs, almost folksongs, not Lieder with elaborate and characterizing accompaniments. The songs talks us about courting, nature-dreaming, historic scenes and simple festivity; themes that were all centraI in the national-romantic culture. These songs were composed to be played in the homes of the bourgeoisie, interpreted by both professional artists or skilled amateurs, showing simplicity and intimacy.
I think you can listen to them closer to Schubert’s lieders.