program notes by composition > O > Oberon Overture

Oberon Overture

Carl Maria von Weber/arr. Mayhew L. Lake

The opera Oberon, or The Elf King's Oath, premiered in London in 1826. It failed due to a poor libretto but the overture has endured. A keynote of the mysteries of elfland and the life of the spirits of the air, earth and water, it has been characterized from beginning to end as "intoxicating sweetness".

Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic. He was born in northern Germany, the first child of fifty-year-old Franz, an accomplished violinist and impressario, and sixteen-year-old Genoveva. Impressed by the success of Mozart as a child prodigy, Franz set about developing in his son the same talents and gifts. Carl completed his musical studies in Vienna and became a conductor at age eighteen. He suffered a series of career setbacks and took to heavy drinking, but straightened up and entered a period of prolific composing. There followed many successful engagements in Dresden, Leipzig, Prague and Berlin and appointment as Director of the German Opera Dresden. Richard Wagner credited Weber with being the father of the Romantic Opera, and though he composed few operas, they had great audience appeal and received many performances in their time.

Last updated on July 5, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band