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'You will never be a musician!'

Donald Macleod explores Weber's childhood in his family of travelling players; his first opera aged 14 and his arrest and banishment from the kingdom of Württemberg.

Carl Maria von Weber's father wanted a child prodigy like his niece's husband Mozart. But he was unimpressed by his son's attempts at learning the violin and rapped him over the knuckles with the bow, telling him: "Whatever will be made of you Carl, it will never be a musician!"

Donald Macleod traces Weber's childhood in the Weber family of travelling players through to the staging of his first opera in Freiburg aged 14. Then came a near tragic episode when the young composer somehow managed to mistake a bottle of nitric acid for a bottle of wine, which left his voice badly affected for the rest of his life. He eventually got a job at the Court at Württemberg in Stuttgart, but he and his father were arrested there for a scam and were banished from the kingdom.

Overture Der Freischütz
Berlin Philharmonic
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Variations for the Pianoforte Op 2
Alexander Paley, piano

Piano Quartet
Isabelle Faust, Violin
Alexander Melnikov, piano
Boris Faust, viola
Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, cello

Ein steter Kampf ist unser Leben
Martin Hill, singer
Christopher Hogwood, piano

Producer: Rosie Boulton for BBC Wales.

1 hour

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