Carl Maria von Weber
11/18/1786 - 6/5/1826
Born in Germany
Carl Maria von Weber was one of the great composers of the Romantic era. and is the father of German Romantic opera. His music greatly influenced other composers, including Wagner, Mendelssohn. and Berlioz. Romantics were noted for their interest in nature, the supernatural and the spiritual. His most famous work, an opera called Der Freischütz, includes all of these elements. Other operas, Euryanthe and Oberon, were less successful. His piano music was very popular, but he had enormous hands and many of these pieces are impossible for a normal person to play.
In addition to composing these works, von Weber was also director of the Breslau, Prague and Dresden opera houses, a wonderful pianist and conductor and critic. He was very demanding, requiring rigorous sectional rehearsals of his orchestras and supervising all aspects of production. In part due to his example, conductors in general became dominating forces in the musical world. As was true of most Romantics, he was also interested in other arts such as poetry and lithography.
Like many in this period of history, von Weber suffered from consumption, or tuberculosis. He died from this disease at the age of 40.