The Clinton Symphony Orchestra will present their “Youthful Visions” winter concert on Saturday, February 9, 7:30 pm, Morrison IL High School Auditorium. Please enjoy the following program notes about Carl Maria von Weber and his work Der Freischütz .


Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) is one of the great figures in German Romanticism. He embodied the ideal of the Romantic artist, inspired by poetry, history, folklore and myths to create a national opera that would reflect the uniqueness of German culture. Weber composed his opera Der Freischütz between 1817 and 1821, and the work received its premiere in Berlin on June 18, 1821 (he was 35). The overture to the opera, one of the most famous nineteenth century works in this form, breaks with the eighteenth century style of overtures that contained only suggestions of the themes that would follow in the opera proper. The overture is larger in scope and scored in broader, more romantic terms than the classical overtures of Mozart and Beethoven.

Utilizing dark orchestral colors, Weber sets the tone of the opera and allows the overture to have a more important function than usually occurred in opera. He further ties the overture to the rest of the work by introducing themes and motifs from various arias, rather than merely suggesting them, and using the overture to develop those ideas. Without giving away the essentials of the opera, Weber prepares the audience for what is to come. In fact, the overture to Der Freischütz is a model that served as the standard for generations of composers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ~Program Notes by William Driver

Overture to Der Freischutz, J.277 – Program Notes

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