20 Nov 2016

Interrupted Cadences - Weber and the wine bottle

From The Sunday Feature, 2:00 pm on 20 November 2016
Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria von Weber Photo: Caroline Badua, Public Domain

Carl Maria von Weber had spent the evening, as usual, conducting at the opera house. He’d arranged that his friend Berner, a local organist, would come round afterwards to share a glass of wine. Weber wanted to show him the drafts of an opera he was composing. But Berner had been delayed. Weber, doubtless thirsty after his exertions, decided not to wait - perhaps it had been a particularly difficult night at the opera, as Weber was having serious disagreements with some of his orchestral players. At any rate, a wine-bottle was standing on the table so Weber decided to slake his thirst.

But what Weber drank from that wine-bottle wasn’t wine: it was something much more lethal.

What if Berner had decided it was too late at night to keep his appointment with Weber? What if he’d knocked at the door and, receiving no reply, had gone away again?


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