The Marksman

Carl Maria Von Weber...Happy Birthday
Today is Carl Maria Von Weber's birthday - of course he would be a bit old..227 I think. No matter.

He was roughly what could be a "bridge" composer - helping to take the musical world out of the classical period of Haydn and Mozart, and into the romantic period of Beethoven, Schuman, etc..  He reached back and pushed it forward.

His music is a lot of fun to play.  A favorite is an Overture to the Opera "Freischutz" (the Marksman) from 1821. If you care to read a synopsis of the first act (below), the takeaway is that it should have been made into a 30's black and white with Eryol Flynn or someone like that as the hero.

Anyway, it is neat stuff.

Act 1

The young assistant forester Max loves Agathe and is to become the successor to Cuno, the head forester and Agathe's father. But a test of skill in marksmanship is required, the trial to be held the following day.
At a target shooting, Max loses to the young peasant Kilian, who is proclaimed "King of marksmen." (Chorus: "Victoria! der meister soll leben"/"Victory! Long live the master"; the good-naturedly mocking song of Kilian: "Schau der Herr"/"Let him gaze on me as king.")
Last scene from Act I - Max kills the eagle

Because Max has had ill luck for several days he easily falls under the influence of Caspar, who persuades Max to cast seven magic bullets to be used in the contest. Caspar, whose soul is to be forfeited to the devil on the following day, hopes to obtain three more years of grace by substituting Max in his place. (Trio: Cuno, Caspar, Max; chorus: "O diese Sonne"/"O the sun, fearsomely it rises.")
Left alone, Max sinks into deep melancholy at the thought of losing Agathe through failure at the shooting contest. (Aria: "Durch die Wälder"/"Through woods and fields.") Caspar with weird incantations tries to imbue him with courage. (Song: "Hier im ird'schen Jammerthal"/"Here in this vale of tears.")
He hands Max his gun loaded with a magic bullet, and to his own astonishment Max kills an eagle soaring at a great height. He resolves to go with Caspar at midnight to the terrible Wolf's Glen to cast the magic bullets, which will kill anything the shooter wants, in order to win the prize. Caspar, left alone, triumphs. (Aria: "Schweig! damit dich Niemand warnt"/"Silence, let no one 
warn him.").