The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Hugo Wolf; Henry Pleasants | Go to book overview
28. 1821, generally assumed, until recently, to be by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Wolfgang Krons, in a detailed study titled "Die angeblichen Freischütz-Kritiken E.T.A. Hoffmanns" ( The Supposed E.T.A. Hoffman Freischütz Critiques), published in Munich in 1957, challenged persuasively the accuracy of the attribution. Hoffman's writings on Beethoven, Don Giovanni and Gluck were the product of a long and important association with the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung.
4.
Heinrich Lichtenstein ( 1780-1857), professor of zoology at the New University of Berlin and co-director of the Berlin Singakademie, a lifelong friend and correspondent of Weber.
5.
Carl Wilhelm Gropius ( 1793-1870), stage designer at the Royal Theater in Berlin, a pioneer of modern theater decoration. The twentieth century painter. Walter Gropius, was the grandnephew of Martin Gropius ( 1824-1880), Carl Wilhelm's cousin.
6.
A dramatization by Pius Alexander Wolff ( 1782- 1828) of "La Gitanillo," the first of Cervantes' Novelas Exemplares, for which Weber had written incidental music.

96. Weber and Oberon

December 19, 1886

Carl Maria von Weber was already a doomed man when he created his last great work, Oberon. That this creation, a luxuriant flower garden of life, should be the work of one thus condemned, a man whose life hung from the minute hand of time, whose every painful breath had to be wrung from lowering death, to whom a mere handful of hours was conceded for the completion and production of his last work and then, far from his own people, to lay his weary head for ever in alien earth? Frightful, capricious, horrible fate! To dash the fragile vessel, and with it to destroy the fragrant, blossoming contents as they wafted aloft once more as enchanting incense! Seldom has an artist's genius been so sovereign over earthly affliction. Thoroughly aware that he had only a short time to live, he set to work on Oberon.

"Dear friend," he said to Gubitz1 when the latter, concerned for Weber's health, pointed out to him the dangers of a journey to England. "I shall earn in England a substantial sum of money. That much I owe my family. But I know perfectly well that I go to England, there to die. No, don't contradict me. I know it."

On another occasion he said to Böttiger. 2 who also tried to dissuade him from crossing the channel:

" Böttiger, it's all the same. Whether I travel or whether I don't. I shall be dead in a year. But if I travel my children shall eat, even though their father is dead, while if I remain they will starve. What would you do in my place? But I would like to return to see Lina, Max and Lexel once again. Then let God's will be done in God's name. But to die there — that would be hard."

-241-

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