131. Into the woods: Weber, Der Freishütz overture

Terror, excitement and delight – all there in handfuls as Carl Maria von Weber takes us into the depths of the forest for a folk tale of magic, sorcery,  love, good and evil. One of my long time favourites and a brave new world for German opera in Der Fresichütz (“The Free-shooter”). Are you brave enough to go down to the woods today?

Listening time, c20mins (podcast 9′, music 10′)

Performances here on Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon with the Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Carlos Kleiber:

If you like it, you can buy it as a high quality download here

I don’t generally like hacking big chunks from an opera, but the Wolf’s Glen scene is quite something and worth a listen on its own. It’s 15 or so minutes: Caspar goes down to the glen, summons Samiel (some sort of satanic spirit) and makes the deal for the bullets. Max comes to join him – he’s fearful and plagued by a vision of Agathe, Caspar somehow convinces him to stay and the seven bullets are forged in the magic fire amid increasing terror and desperation. It’s all in German, but the only words you need to know are the numbers 1-7 (eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, sechs, sieben) and help – hilf! Youtube and Spotify links here.

There’s a hyper-real movie version (Hunter’s Bride) which is quite gruesome makes for great viewing and almost manages to do Weber’s requested special effects justice.

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