Carl Maria von Weber is a name that is often cited with regard to the bridge between Classicism and Romanticism, and yet how many works of his is it possible to name? In this fantastic compendium, we have the chance to explore some of his finest instrumental music; beginning with the two charming symphonies, written in the composer's early 20s and reflecting the new Romantic fascination with timbre, the compilation also details the operatic overtures (Der Freischütz among them), perhaps his greatest works for orchestra alone and which reflect the many years he spent as Director of the Prague and Dresden Houses promulgating nationalist opera. Compositions for soloist and orchestra make up the rest of the release: in addition to the clarinet concertos, music of scintillating bravura which set new standards in this instrument's repertoire, there are the piano concerti – similarly virtuosic works which anticipate those by Mendelssohn and Chopin and are testament to the composer's extraordinary powers as a keyboardist.
Indeed, to say that Weber exerted an enormous influence of subsequent generations of composers is no exaggeration; Euryanthe and its highly developed leitmotif technique, for example, pointed the way forward for a young Wagner. Bringing together many world-class names, such as Emma Johnson on clarinet and Sir Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, this collection is the perfect introduction to a composer whose oeuvre holds a significant place in the music history books.
“Rösel […] deals beautifully with the Chopinesque flourishes in the slow movement of No.2.”
Marriner’s conducting of the symphonies: “… attractively vibrant performances that bring this music fully to life.” (Gramophone)
- Carl Maria von Weber marked the transition from the Classical to the Romantic period. His works, while adhering to the formal style of the Viennese School, abound in dramatic contrasts and glittering instrumental virtuosity. His concertos, for piano and for clarinet, are hugely enjoyable, full of “Spielfreude” and many a good tune.
- Weber’s concertos, overtures and symphonies still keep repertoire nowadays, crowd pleasers as they are in their relatively simple musical language and immediate appeal.
- Excellent performances by the brilliant Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner, English Chamber orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden and Staatskapelle Berlin, pianist Peter Rösel and star clarinettist Emma Johnson.
- Booklet contains detailed notes on the composer and his music.
- Recordings made between 1974 and 1984.