A Suggestive Detail in Weber's Freischutz

Taruskin, Richard

But in Der Freischiitz I could never rejoice enough or without tears at the beginning of the third act. We are still full of horrible dark impressions from the gloomy Wolf's Glen-and all at once the curtain goes u~a calm, tranquil room, in which, through the green window drapes, a ray of sunshine brightly gleams, and about the sun, in which the presence of God is so palpable, and about the clouds, Agathe and the cello sing together! There is poetry, and scene-painting, and music-all together! (quoted in Gozenpud and Obram 1962:234).

Thus waxed the twenty-three-year-old Alexander Serov to the nineteen-year-old Vladimir Stasov in a letter announcing his ambition to become a composer. Weber's Agathe is apt to strike even today's most sympathetic critics as "a little dull" (Warrack [1968] 1976:227), but nineteenth-century audiences loved and admired her as Weber intended. Intended? But yes.


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August 18, 2022