Carl Maria von Weber

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Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (18–19 November 1786 – 4–5 June 1826) was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school.

Weber's operas Der Freischütz, Euryanthe and Oberon greatly influenced the development of the Romantic opera in Germany. His compositions for the clarinet, which include two concertos, a concertino, a quintet and a duo concertante, are regularly performed today. His piano music—including four sonatas, two concertos and the Konzertstück (Concert Piece) in F minor—influenced composers such as Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn. The Konzertstück provided a new model for the one-movement concerto in several contrasting sections (such as Liszt's, who often played the work), and was acknowledged by Igor Stravinsky as the model for his Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra.

Weber's Invitation to the Dance was later orchestrated by Hector Berlioz and his Polacca Brillante was later orchestrated by Franz Liszt. An innovative composer, Weber's concertino for horn requires the performer to simultaneously produce two notes by humming while playing - a technique known in brass playing as multiphonics.

Weber's contribution to vocal and choral music is also significant. His body of Catholic religious music was highly popular in 19th century Germany, and he composed one of the earliest song-cycles, Die Temperamente beim Verluste der Geliebten (Four Temperaments on the Loss of a Lover). Weber was also notable as one of the first conductors to conduct without a piano or violin.

Weber's orchestration has also been highly praised and emulated by later generations of composers - Hector Berlioz referred to him several times in his Treatise on Instrumentation while Claude Debussy remarked that the sound of the Weber orchestra was obtained through the scrutiny of the soul of each instrument.

His operas influenced the work of later opera composers, especially in Germany, such as Heinrich Marschner, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Richard Wagner, as well as several nationalist 19th-century composers such as Mikhail Glinka. Homage has been paid Weber by 20th century composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Gustav Mahler (who completed Weber's unfinished comic opera Die drei Pintos and made revisions of Euryanthe and Oberon) and Paul Hindemith (composer of the popular Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes of Weber).

Weber also wrote music journalism and was interested in folksong, and learned lithography to engrave his own works.

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