Joseph Miroslav Weber
Septet in E Major "Aus Meinem Leben"
For Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet, Bassoon & 2 Horns
"Joseph Miroslav Weber's Septet is first rate from start to finish and striking for its very fine part writing"---The Chamber Music Journal.
Joseph Miroslav Weber (1854-1906) was born in Prague. He studied violin and organ there and enjoyed a career as a solo violinist and conductor, holding posts in Thuringia, Prague, Wiesbaden and Munich.
Most of his chamber music, including his Septet for Winds and Strings in E Major, was written during the last decade of the 19th century. They are all of the highest quality, several winning prizes in important competitions. The Septet which was published in 1899 by Josef Aibl was awarded the highest prize in a prestigious competition held by the Vienna Composers Society (Wiener Tonkünstlerverein).Like some of his other works, it is programmatic, in this case autobiographical. No doubt recalling Smetana’s string quartets of the same name, Weber titled the Septet “From My Life” (Aus meinem Leben). Each of the four movements is given a subtitle. The first movement is subtitled “On the Banks of the Moldau, Youthful Dreams". The Moldau is the German name (Vlatava in Czech) for the river, made famous by Smetana’s tone poem Ma Vlast, which flows through the center of Prague. One hears the flowing water in the opening bars with the soft 16th notes in the cello as the horns play a dreamy, romantic melody above it. One can well visualize a youth sitting day dreaming by the river on a warm day. The second theme, march-like and thrusting, brings to mind thoughts of future accomplishments. The second movement is a scherzo, subtitled "Student Life, Life’s ideal". The busy, bustling fugue with which the movement begins brings to mind the hectic and joyful life of student days at university. Exciting new ideas, much to do, to see, hardly a moment to reflect. The third movement, subtitled “At the graveside of his love” , is as one might expect sad, a funeral dirge. It is the longest and clearly the center of gravity for the Septet. The seriousness of life has come upon the composer with this loss. The finale is marked “In a struggle for existence, Disappointed hopes, Memories of youth”. The music opens with a frenetic, theme. Not desperate, yet full of angst. This is followed by a rather solemn section, conveying the disappointment felt for unrealized hopes. Quickly mixed with this one hears memories from youth as themes from the first movement are heard.
Our edition is based on the original 1899 Aibl edition, however, that edition not only called for the horns to transpose to a different key in each movement, but often several times within the same movement. We have eliminated the need for this. Both horn parts are in F throughout the entire work requiring no further changes.