The Narropera Trio (founded in 2013) returns with its popular, concert-opera-narrated-version of 'Der Freischütz', the 1821 opera that changed the course of classical music. Carl Maria von Weber's masterpiece, 'Der Freischütz' (The Devil's Marksman), ushered in the 'Romantic Age' of music in spectacular style. With its infectious music, it conquered the 19th-century world of music just as surely its near contemporary, The Barber of Seville', did. 'Der Freischütz' is set in a Bohemian forest in the aftermath of The Thirty Years' War (1618 - 1648), that most European of wars. Weber's genius created the ubiquitous presence of the forest in musical terms, a musical invention of enormous influence. His brilliance of orchestration and his folk-music like melodies captured the imagination of scores of composers.
The music of the protagonist singers (the tenor Max and the sopranos, Agathe and Ännchen) is of memorable beauty and charm and has the quality of great vocal music. Its composer, Weber, like Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, belonged to an utterly musical family. His mother was a professional opera singer. His father was a fine violinist and later founded a travelling theatre company, in which young Weber made his stage debut aged five. Four of young Weber's first cousins, all sisters, were professional opera singers of the day (one of them married Mozart). Two of young Weber's half-brothers studied with Joseph Haydn, and later Weber himself was to study with Haydn's brother, Michael Haydn. 'Der Freischütz' took the musical world by storm and Carl Maria von Weber's name became as well known as Mozart's during his short lifetime and long after. Like Beethoven, Weber was a virtuosic pianist; like Berlioz, Weber was a fine guitarist. He was also an important figure in the development of the art of conducting. His reputation as a composer rests squarely on his four most important operas, piano works, chamber music and many pieces written for the clarinet, at a time when the instrument was still emerging into its present place in the orchestra.
Weber's influence on later composers was seminal: e.g.Mendelssohn, Marschner, Meyerbeer, Wagner, Liszt, Chopin, Glinka, Debussy, Stravinsky, Berlioz. Gustav Mahler completed his unfinished comic opera 'The three Pintos', Berlioz and Liszt each orchestrated an important piano work by Weber and Hindemith paid tribute to him in his own symphonic masterpiece, 'Metamorphosis on Themes by Weber'. Weber died in 1826 aged only 40. Beethoven died in the following year and Schubert, a year later, in 1828 aged 31. Collectively, the reputation and influence of these three great composers on the following generations of musicians were immense.