(b Münchenbuchsee, 30 Oct 1845; d Zürich, 12 June 1887). Swiss organist, conductor and composer. He received his first lessons from his father, Johann Rudolf Weber (1819–75). In 1861 he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory, and as late as 1865 studied theory and counterpoint with Vincenz Lachner at Mannheim. After a period spent at Zürich as an organist and a much-appreciated piano teacher, he decided to complete his training as a pianist under Carl Tausig and for this purpose lived in Berlin in 1869–70. In 1872 he succeeded Theodor Kirchner as organist of St Peter, Zürich. In 1876 he became organist of the Grossmünster and soon after gave regular organ concerts. From 1877 to 1886 he conducted the big mixed choir of Zürich known as Harmonie, was singing master at the public school and teacher of the organ and of theory and history of music at the music school.
Between 1876 and 1883 Weber edited the Schweizerische Musikzeitung, founded by his father and the most important magazine of its kind in the country, and wrote a good deal of music criticism. He published several collections of songs and – influenced by the same Romantic spirit that moved his contemporaries – he composed choruses and solos with orchestral accompaniment, partsongs for male voices, songs, orchestral and chamber music, and piano pieces.
Overture to Shakespeare’s King Lear, orch, 1864, CH-Bu
Winkelried-Kantate, Bar, male vv, orch, 1869, Bu
Sonata, pf, op.1 (Leipzig, 1878)
Trio, pf, str, op.5 (Leipzig, c1882)
Das beste Schicksal (Sophocles), male vv, orch, op.10, vs (Zürich, c1885)
Kriegsgesang im Walde (L. Tieck), male vv, orch, op.12, vs (Zürich, c1885)
Heinrich Zwingli: seine Stellung zur Musik und seine Lieder (Zürich, 1884)
Articles in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, many from 1876–7 repr. in A. Steiner: Aus dem zürcherischen Konzertleben der zweiten Hälfte des vergangenen Jahrhunderts, i (Zürich, 1904)
K.A.Steiner: Gustav Weber (Zürich, 1910)
A.Briner: ‘Gehobenes und Ungehobenes von Gustav Weber (1845–1887)’, Dissonanz, xxix (1991), 4–7
HANS EHINGER/BRUCE CARR
German composer, possibly identifiable with Johann Wircker.
Weber, Johannès [Jean]
(b Brumath, Alsace, 6 Sept 1818; d Paris, 19 or 20 March 1902). French writer on music. He studied theology and music, and on his arrival in Paris taught music. From 1845 to 1855 he was Meyerbeer’s secretary. His career as a critic began with his contributions to the short-lived Critique musicale; he also wrote for the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris and the Renaissance musicale. From 1861 to 1895 he was music critic for Le temps. He was severe and precise in his judgments; he criticized violently, point by point, Bizet’s orchestration of La jolie fille de Perth, and Bizet, in a famous letter of January 1868, admitted his faults. His rigorous musical ideas led Weber to write a number of theoretical works on music, including Les illusions musicales, in which he suggested that music must be understood on its own terms, without reference to other forms of art.
Traité élémentaire d’harmonie (Paris, n.d.)
Traité analytique et complet de l’art de moduler (Paris, n.d.)
La situation musicale et l’instruction populaire en France (Leipzig and Brussels, 1884)
Meyerbeer: notes et souvenirs d’un de ses secrétaires (Paris, 1898)
Les illusions musicales et la vérité sur l’expression (Paris, rev., enlarged 2/1900)
A.Pougin: Obituary, Le ménestrel (23 March 1902)
Weber, Joseph [Josef] Miroslav
(b Prague, 9 Nov 1854; d Munich, 1 Jan 1906). Czech violinist and composer. He studied the violin with his father and the organ with František Blažek at the Prague Organ School. He also studied the piano with Eduard Horn and composition with Binař and Adolf Průcha before entering the Prague Conservatory (1870), where his teachers were the organist Josef Krejčí and the violinists Laub and Bennewitz. Leaving the conservatory in 1873, Weber began his professional career as a solo violinist at Sondershausen, but rapidly advanced to more important posts. From 1875 to 1883 he was the leader at Darmstadt, where he also organized a string quartet. In 1883 he succeeded J. Rebicek as assistant Kapellmeister in Wiesbaden, and was made first Kapellmeister (1889–93). He joined the Munich court orchestra in 1894, replacing Ludwig Abel, and in 1901, on the death of Benno Walter, became the leader. He also led a quartet in Munich, whose other members were Leitner, Bihrle and Carl Ebner.
An unusually well-trained musician, Weber was a fine pianist as well as an accomplished violinist. Reviews of performances of his G minor Violin Concerto in Darmstadt and Munich (1903) praise his tone quality and bravura playing. But he also enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a composer of chamber music and operettas. Many of his chamber works won prizes, among them the Second String Quartet (St Petersburg in 1891), the String Quintet in D (Prague in 1898) and the Septet ‘Aus meinem Leben’ (Tonkünstlerverein, Vienna, in 1896), a work which recalls Smetana’s quartet in more than name. His talented but derivative chamber works have been overshadowed by those of his more gifted Czech countrymen and are not available in modern editions.
Die Rheinnixe (ballet, 1, A. Balbo), Wiesbaden, 31 May 1884
Der selige Herr Vetter (comic op, 1), Wiesbaden, 1884
Die neue Mamsell (operetta, 3, F. Leber), Munich, 21 Nov 1896, vs (Munich, ?1896)
Choral: Frühlings Erwachen, cycle of 12 songs (R. Matthes), solo vv, male chorus, orch/pf, op.58 (Leipzig, 1900)
Orch: Vn Conc., g (Munich, 1898); 2 suites
Chbr: Septet ‘Aus meinem Leben’, E, cl, bn, 2 hn, vn, va, vc (Munich, 1899); Wind qnt, F; 2 str qnts, incl. no.1, D (Munich, 1899); 2 str qts, incl. no.2, b (Copenhagen, 1891)
Obituary, NZM, cii (1906), 49
E.van der Straeten: The History of the Violin (London, 1933/R), ii, 165ff