LANSDOWNE

SYMPHONY

ORCHESTRA

Weber Clarinet Concertino Program Notes

Carl  Maria  von  Weber  was  an  innovator  at  the  beginning  of  the  Romantic  era,  an  industrious  and  serious  musician.    His  father  had  believed  young  Carl  to  be  another  child  prodigy  like  Mozart,  which  led  to  a  childhood  of  travel.  Clearly  he  was  very  talented,  composing  operas  and  taking  on  music  director  positions  while  still  a  teenager.  Actually,  Weber  and  Mozart  were  connected  by  marriage  -  Weber’s  father’s  older  half-brother  was  the  father  of  Mozart’s  wife  Constanze.  (Sharing  one  grandparent,  this  makes  Carl  Maria  and  Constanze  half-cousins.)  Touring  in  1811,  Weber  met  clarinetist  Heinrich  Bärmann,  a  virtuoso  member  of  the  orchestra  in  Munich,  and  composed  this  Concertino.    It  was  so  successful  that  theKing  (Maximilian  Joseph  of  Bavaria)  immediately  commissioned  another  two  concertos.  Other  members  of  the  orchestra  requested  works  for  their  instruments,  and  the  resulting  Bassoon  concerto  remains  a  staple  of  the  repertoire.  Weber’s  other  innovations  in  a  new,  dramatic  style  of  German  opera  provided  inspiration  to  Wagner.    (Also,  it  would  be  King  Maximilian  Joseph’s  great-grandson,  King  Ludwig  II,  who  bankrolled  Wagner’s  Bayreuth  Festspielhaus.)