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Carl Maria Von Weber


The Domestic Life of Carl Maria Von Weber

By Arthur Elson

The life of Carl Maria von Weber was tinged in its earlier years with the romance that seemed to pervade all phases of life in his native country. Germany had just passed through one of her rare but regular periods of national awakening, and every one was full of a keen spirit of patriotic originality in life, letters, and art, as well as in music. Gifted with unusual talents, trained in the paternal hope of his becoming a boy prodigy like Mozart, and urged by the need of making his own career, he soon made a name for himself by his personal charms as well as his talents. A welcome guest in the homes of aristocracy and cultivation, he possessed a roving disposition and a spirit of adventure that made his life not unlike that of the early Troubadours.

It was in Vienna that he met his future wife. Being given charge of the opera at Prague, he journeyed to the Austrian capital for the purpose of engaging singers, and among them brought back the talented Caroline Brandt. He soon wished to enter into closer relations with this singer, but found obstacles in the way of marriage. She was unwilling to sacrifice at once a career that was winning her many laurels, and she did not wholly approve of the wandering life that the gifted young manager had led up to the time of their meeting. We find him discontented with this situation, and travelling about in search of a better and more important post; and during one of these trips he received a letter from Caroline, saying that they had better part. This brought forth the accusation from the embittered Weber that "Her views of high art were not above the usual pitiful standard, namely, that it was but a means of procuring soup, meat, and shirts." There can be no doubt, however, that her influence was of the utmost value in steadying his efforts.

When Weber was once back in Prague, her real love for him overcame all scruples, and she showed herself ready to wait until he should attain a post of sufficient value to permit their marriage. After putting the Prague opera on a stable basis, he looked about for a long time in vain, until finally he obtained a life position as conductor in Dresden. At last he was able to return to Prague and marry his faithful Caroline, with the certainty of being able to provide her a home. The newly wedded pair made a triumphant concert tour, and settled down to a life of domestic felicity in Dresden. It can hardly be said that Weber lived happily ever afterward, for he found many troubles in connection with his new post. But his married life was such a constant source of joy to him that he felt always inspired with fresh energy to overcome all difficulties. It was during his married career that he won those immense popular successes, with "Der Freischütz," "Euryanthe," and "Oberon," that gave the most brilliant lustre to a name already immortal. The last opera took him to London, away from his beloved family. Aware of his failing health, he made every effort to reach home, but that boon was denied him, and he died without another view of those who would have been anxious to soothe his last moments.