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On the Weber March in C

This orig­i­nal march for wind band, scored for flute, 2 oboes, 2 clar­inets, 2 horns, 2 bas­soons, 2 trum­pets and a trom­bone, may be the final com­po­si­tion of this famous Ger­man com­pos­er, who died on 5 June 1826 in Lon­don. Already seri­ous­ly ill, Weber went to Lon­don for the 12 April 1826 pre­miere of his opera, Oberon.1 The fol­low­ing month, on 13 May, there was an annu­al din­ner of the Roy­al Soci­ety of Musi­cians. The famous pianist, and teacher of Mendelssohn, Ignaz Moscheles (1794–1870), wrote of this din­ner,

Includ­ed among the music per­formed on these occa­sions was usu­al­ly one of the Fes­ti­val March­es for wind instru­ments that had been com­posed for the Soci­ety by such dis­tin­guished for­eign mas­ters as Haydn, Win­ter and Spohr. Weber did not attend but a new March by him was giv­en a first per­for­mance.

Weber’s son, Max von Weber (1822–1881), left us addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion:

At that very time Weber entered a new phase of dete­ri­o­ra­tion in his ill­ness and he was unable to com­pose any­thing worth­while. Much agi­tat­ed by this thought there occurred to him dur­ing the night of 5 May when he would not sleep, the theme of a March that was in his Six pièces à qua­tre mains. Oth­er ideas attached them­selves to it, and the result was the fine March … Lying back in an arm­chair in his fee­ble­ness he dic­tat­ed the sec­ond and third parts of this March to Fürste­nau, includ­ing what in his view was prop­er to the instru­men­ta­tion.

At the end of this man­u­script Weber wrote “March Da Capo,” togeth­er with his sig­na­ture. This man­u­script found its way into the col­lec­tion of the great author­i­ty of the music of Weber, Friedrich Wil­helm Jähns and is includ­ed in his cat­a­log of the composer’s works under the num­ber 307. The work is found today in the Pruss­ian Nation­al Library in Berlin under the call num­ber, Web. IV BXIV, 1278.

The first mod­ern edi­tion of this com­po­si­tion was made by an old friend of mine, the oboist, Josef Marx, and list­ed in the cat­a­log of his pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny, McGin­nis & Marx.3

This mod­ern edi­tion includes my edi­to­r­i­al marks as I believe were char­ac­ter­is­tic of the style.

David Whitwell
Austin, 2014

  1. Many musi­cians will be sur­prised to know that the orig­i­nal libret­to of this most famous opera by Weber was in Eng­lish. []
  2. {Anton Bern­hard Fürste­nau (1792–1852), a cel­e­brat­ed flautist and friend of Weber. []
  3. McGin­nis” was his pet cat. []