Monday, November 16, 2009

Your source for 19th century gossip

It is great when you hear something about a musician that has not been written down. This week I am thinking of doing some name dropping and sharing some juicy tidbits I have picked up.

To start with it is not every day you get fresh gossip about the composer Carl Maria von Weber.

This happened last year or something. There is this orchestra at my church called the Camerata di Sant' Antonio. And its conductor is a young-ish gentleman named Christopher Weber.

I called Chris Weber, whom I did not know, to do a little interview with him for The Buffalo News. And because my church and the orchestra are so Italian, I joked with him about his German name.

And it turned out he was a relative of Carl Maria von Weber!

I liked him for not bringing that up right away. He did not mention it until it came up. And I liked him even more for telling me a little story.

He said that family stories had it that Carl Maria was kind of the black sheep. Being a musician was considered kind of disreputable and bohemian back then.

And when Carl Maria would come visit, a joke would go around the family. They would say to each other, "Carl Maria is coming into town. Someone go get him some clothes."


That is a picture above of Carl Maria von Weber, no doubt wearing clothes his family lent him when he was in town.

Fresh gossip about Carl Maria von Weber.

You heard it here!


  1. Apparently Weber, like Jo Ann Falletta, played the guitar, along with being a superb conductor and pianist. He was also a good linguist. I imagine you know the story of how Beethoven once played host to Weber in a generous way...even though Weber was sometimes critical of Beethoven's music. It's interesting to hear the foreshadowing of Wagner's sound world in Weber's music, seeing as Weber died before Beethoven and Schubert.

    I wonder how many of the fashionable set who looked down on him and his profession ever did anything worth remembering. Hoch und Prosit to bohemians!

  2. Cool story! I guess music does run in families, right?

    The last time I heard the BPO play von Weber was many years ago, the Oberon Overture (?). It sounded so RIGHT, so PERFECT, I loved it. There's something about Kleinhans Music Hall and music that's heavy on the strings - it's gorgeous.