Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56



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Weber.


German family of musicians. The earliest professional musicians in the family were two brothers, (1) Fridolin Weber (i) and (2) Franz Anton Weber; their father, also Fridolin (1691–1754), is said to have been a singer, violinist and organist. For further information on their ancestry, see below under (9) Carl Maria von Weber.

Bibliography for all members of the family except (9) Carl Maria appears following the entry on (8) Edmund Weber.



(1) Fridolin Weber (i)

(2) Franz Anton Weber

(3) (Maria) Josepha Weber [Hofer; Mayer]

(4) (Maria) Aloysia (Louise Antonia) Weber [Lange]

(5) Fridolin (Stephan Johann Nepomuk Andreas Maria) [Fritz] Weber (ii)

(6) (Maria) Constanze [Constantia] (Caecilia Josepha Johanna Aloisia) Weber

(7) (Maria) Sophie Weber [Haibel]

(8) (Franz) Edmund (Kaspar Johann Nepomuk Joseph Maria) Weber

(9) Carl Maria (Friedrich Ernst) von Weber

PHILIPP SPITTA (1, 7), JOACHIM VEIT (2, 5, 8), THOMAS BAUMAN (3), PATRICIA LEWY GIDWITZ (4), JOHN WARRACK (6), MICHAEL C. TUSA (9)



Weber

(1) Fridolin Weber (i)


(b Zell, Wiesental, 1733; d Vienna, 23 Oct 1779). Singer and violinist. He was a member of the Mannheim electoral chapel and was for some time a copyist there. In 1756 he married Marie Caecilia Stamm (1727–93), by whom he had four daughters, (3) Josepha, (4) Aloysia, (6) Constanze and (7) Sophie.

Weber

(2) Franz Anton Weber


(b Zell, 1734; d Mannheim, 16 April 1812). Composer and violinist. He left the service of the Elector Palatine Carl Theodor in 1758 and moved to the vicinity of Hildesheim. His marriage to Maria Anna Fumetti enabled him to take over a post in the civil service previously held by his father-in-law. From this first marriage came his sons (5) Fridolin (ii) and (8) Edmund. In 1761 he was offering his musical services locally, describing himself as ‘Hoff Musique Director’. In 1778 he was musical director of a theatrical company in Lübeck; he was appointed Kapellmeister at the end of that year, and in 1785 moved to Eutin as Stadtmusicus. That same year he married his second wife, the singer Genovefa Brenner, who gave birth to their son (9) Carl Maria von Weber in Eutin in 1786. Franz Anton spent some time in Vienna (1787) and Hamburg (1788–9), and in the years that followed was both a member of other theatre companies and ran a company of his own, performing in Kassel (1789), Meiningen (1789–90), Nuremberg, Erlangen, Ansbach and Bayreuth (1791–4), Hildburghausen, Rudolstadt and Weimar (1794), and from the end of 1797 in Salzburg, where his second wife died in 1798. He and his youngest son, Carl Maria, went into business with the Gleissner lithographic printing process in Munich in 1799 and Freiberg in 1800. He subsequently stayed in south Germany and Austria, furthering his son’s musical education, and accompanied Carl Maria to Breslau (1804–7), Stuttgart (1807–10) and Mannheim.

Weber

(3) (Maria) Josepha Weber [Hofer; Mayer]


(b Zell, 1758; d Vienna, 29 Dec 1819). Soprano, eldest daughter of (1) Fridolin Weber (i). After her father’s death she moved to Vienna, and was then engaged as a soprano at Graz, 1785–7. On 21 July 1788 she married the court musician Franz de Paula Hofer (1755–96), a friend of Mozart’s, and began performing at the suburban Theater auf der Wieden the following January. According to contemporary reports, she commanded a very high tessitura but had a rough edge to her voice and lacked stage presence. In September 1789 Mozart wrote for her the bravura insertion aria ‘Schon lacht der holde Frühling’ (k580, for a German version of Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia). Two years later he composed the role of the Queen of Night in Die Zauberflöte for her; she finally ceded the part to Antonia Campi in 1801. Josepha’s second husband, from 1797, was (Friedrich) Sebastian Mayer (1773–1835), who created Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio (Leonore) in 1805. In that year Josepha retired from the stage, to be replaced by her daughter Josefa Hofer.

Weber

(4) (Maria) Aloysia (Louise Antonia) Weber [Lange]


(b Zell or Mannheim, 1759–61; d Salzburg, 8 June 1839). Soprano, daughter of (1) Fridolin Weber (i) and sister-in-law of Mozart who married her younger sister (6) Constanze in 1782. She studied with G.J. Vogler in Mannheim and was active primarily at the Burgtheater in Vienna during the 1780s in both German and Italian comic opera.

Aloysia’s long association with Mozart produced seven concert arias and a role in Der Schauspieldirektor as well as a series of letters by Mozart notable for his views on vocal performance and training. Their first encounter, during Mozart’s stay in Mannheim in 1777–8 (when he fell in love with her), resulted in the concert arias k294, k316/300b and probably k538. She moved from Mannheim to Munich in 1778, where she made her début as Parthenia in Schweitzer’s Alceste. Engaged for the newly established National Singspiel in Vienna, she made her début on 9 September 1779 as Hännchen in the German adaptation of Philidor and Favart’s La rosière de Salency. She married the court actor and painter Joseph Lange on 31 October 1780.

When in 1782 Joseph II reinstated Italian opera at the Burgtheater, Aloysia was retained as a leading singer. For her début as Clorinda in the revival of Anfossi’s Il curioso indiscreto (30 June 1783) Mozart composed two new arias, k418 and k419. She participated regularly in Italian opera for only eight months, becoming persona non grata owing to disagreements over salary and role distribution as well as missed performances. In 1785 she was among the German singers transferred to the less prestigious Kärntnertortheater. Here she revived many German roles of her early career with the important addition of Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1785–8).

Aloysia continued to make occasional appearances at the Burgtheater, most notably for a revival of Gluck’s La rencontre imprévue (1785) and for the Viennese première of Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Donna Anna, 7 May 1788). After the death of Joseph II (1790), Leopold II retained her for his newly formed opera seria venture (1790–92), although only as a seconda donna. In 1795 Aloysia undertook a concert tour with her sister Constanze, continuing her successes as Mozart’s Sextus, a role she had performed in Vienna.

Leopold Mozart expressed his opinion of Aloysia’s voice in a letter to his daughter of 25 March 1785:

It can scarcely be denied that she sings with the greatest expression: only now I understand why some persons I frequently asked would say that she has a very weak voice, while others said she has a very loud voice. Both are true. The held notes and all expressive notes are astonishingly loud; the tender moments, the passage-work and embellishments, and high notes are very delicate, so that for my taste the one contrasts too strongly with the other. In an ordinary room the loud notes assault the ear, while in the theatre the delicate passages demand a great attentiveness and stillness on the part of the audience.



Mozart’s compositions give the clearest picture of her voice. The light orchestrations show sensitivity to her small instrument, while the melodic lines exploit expressive, cantabile delivery and give ample opportunity for portamento and the addition of ornaments. There is an almost casual assaying of her remarkable upper range, extending to g'''. Gebler regarded her as ‘a splendid singer, [with] a tone and an expression that goes to the heart, an extraordinary upper range; she correctly performs the most difficult passages and blends them with the song as it should be done’.

Weber


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