Text-genetic studies on Carl Maria von Weber's opera fragment ‚Die drei Pintos‘

Authors: Obert, Salome

Date: Thursday, 7 September 2023, 11:15am to 12:45pm

Location: Main Campus, L 2.202 <campus:measure>


‚I think as seldom of the Pintos as I do of music in general. I’m pretty tired of it, and I don’t think I’ll be doing any more work on it in the near future.‘1

Thus Carl Maria von Weber commented on the sluggish development of his opera Die drei Pintos in a letter of May 17th, 1824 to his friend Hinrich Lichtenstein. For months, the composer reported various people in his private and professional circle discontentedly about his lack of creative drive and the lack of time due to other engagements which kept him from working on his comic opera in three acts on a libretto by Karl Theodor Winkler. The date of completion was postponed several times, but finally the work grind to a halt, so that the opera remained a fragment.

Weber’s surviving manuscripts of the Pintos can be termed as ‚drafts‘ and are today found under various signatures in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preussischer Kulturbesitz. The most extensive of these sources, WFN 3, begins with an introduction notated as a full score. The following pages are drafts of different shape, number of voices and extension, which are partly notated as a kind of piano reduction, partly as a – rather rudimentary – orchestral piece or short score. Due to different means of writing media, corrections, notes, and other codicological characteristics, WFN 3 can be classified as working manuscript. In 1871 Friedrich Wilhelm Jaehns, author of a comprehensive catalogue of Weber’s works, already remarked that this writing manner is not only specific for the compositional process of the Pintos, but can also be found in other manuscripts of the composer2. It can therefore be assumed that Weber used repeating writing strategies.

The starting point of my dissertation is the question of Weber’s compositional methods examined exemplarily in the manuscripts of the opera Die drei Pintos followed by a digital edition of the materials – encoding the musical sources in MEI and the libretto in TEI. Regardless of the fragmentary product of writing, Weber’s writing process will be reconstructed asking for Weber’s compositional approach: Can individual writing operations be identified or rather working routines? In which way are these routines subject-specific? In order to answer these questions, the WFN 3 source will be analyzed with the methods of genetic criticism developed by the research project Beethovens Werkstatt. In addition, Weber’s diaries and his correspondence will be consulted as well: What is the relationship between those written statements about his compositional process and the writing traces found in WFN 3?

Finally, an adequate presentation of the results of the work will be the subject of the dissertation as well. In doing so, the writing traces solidified in the manuscript are to be redynamized and contextualized within the creative process. The dissertation therefore has a dual alignment: on the one hand, it wants to contribute to the elucidation of text-genetic processes and working strategies, but on the other hand, it also wants to investigate new methods for their presentation.

In my paper which is to be presented at the Joint MEC and TEI Conference 2023 I will give an overview of the compositional project Die Drei Pintos and its sources.


Appel, Bernhard R. “Zum Textstatus von Kompositions-Skizzen und -entwürfen.”, Jahrbuch des Staatlichen Instituts für Musikforschung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, 1999, 177–210.

Appel, Bernhard R. “Über die allmähliche Verfertigung musikalischer Gedanken beim Schreiben.” 2003, Die Musikforschung, 56, no. 4 (2003): 347–65.

Appel, Bernhard R., and Reinmar Emanns, eds. Musikphilologie. Grundlagen – Methoden – Praxis. Vol. 3. Kompendium Musik. Laaber, 2017.

Bartlitz, Eveline, and Frank Ziegler. “‘Mit den Pintos ist es ein eigen Ding …’: Das Schicksal von Carl Maria von Webers unvollendeter Oper ‘Die Drei Pintos’ von 1826 bis 1852 aus dem Blickwinkel seiner Familie.” In Weberiana, 27:42–92, 2017.

Danuser, Hermann. “Urheber und Mehrer: Aspekte der Autorschaft Bei Weber/Mahlers komischer Oper ‘Die Drei Pintos’.” In Weber – Jenseits Des ‘Freischütz’. Referate des Eutiner Symposiums 1986 anläßlich des 200. Geburtstages von Carl Maria von Weber, edited by Friedhelm Krummacher and Heinrich W. Schwab, 41–58. Kieler Schriften zur Musikwissenschaft 32. Kassel, 1989.

Henze-Döhring, Sabine. Giacomo Meyerbeer. Briefwechsel und Tagebücher. Vol. 5. 1849–1852. Berlin, 1999.

Heusgen, Birgit. Studien zu Gustav Mahlers Bearbeitung und Ergänzung von Carl Maria von Webers Opernfragment ‘Die Drei Pintos’. Kölner Beiträge Zur Musikforschung 133. Regensburg, 1983.

Jaehns, Friedrich Wilhelm. Carl Maria von Weber in Seinen Werken. Chronologisch-Thematisches Verzeichniss seiner Sämmtlichen Compositionen nebst Angaben der unvollständigen, verloren gegangenen, zweifelhaften u. untergeschobenen m. Beschreibung der Autographen, Angabe der Ausgaben u. Arrangements. Berlin, 1871.

Konrad, Ulrich. Mozarts Schaffensweise. Studien zu Werkautograph, Skizzen und Entwürfen. Göttingen, 1992.

Veit, Joachim, and Frank Ziegler, eds. Carl Maria von Weber: “…wenn Ich Keine Oper unter den Fäusten habe, ist mir nicht wohl”. Eine Dokumentation zum Opernschaffen. Katalog zur Ausstellung der Staatsbibliothek Zu Berlin – Preussischer Kulturbesitz. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK. Ausstellungskataloge 45. Wiesbaden, 2001.

Weber, Carl von. “Karl Maria v. Webers unvollendet hinterlassene Komische Oper. Die drei Pintos.” Neue Zeitschrift Für Musik 55, no. 83 (January 11, 1888): 20.

Zychowicz, James Leo. “Mahler’s Instrumental ‘Entr’act’ for ‘Die Drei Pintos’ and his Emerging Symphonic Style.” Ad Parnassum 2, no. 3 (2004): 7–30.

Diaries and correspondence of Carl Maria von Weber edited by the Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesamtausgabe, available at https://weber-gesamtausgabe.de/.


D-B, Mus.ms.autogr. Weber, C. M. v., WFN 3

D-B, Weberiana Cl. I, 24

D-B, Weberiana Cl. III, vol. 5

D-B, Weberiana Cl. VII, vol. 26

About the author

Salome Obert studied cultural sciences and musicology in Hildesheim and Paderborn/Detmold with semesters abroad in Italy and Portugal. While working in the project Beethovens Werkstatt she wrote her master thesis on an analysis of scriptural problems in Beethoven’s autograph to his Flohlied op. 75/3. Currently she is working at the Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesamtausgabe and writing a dissertation on Weber’s opera fragment Die drei Pintos.


  1. Translated by the abstract’s author, original wording: „An die Pintos denke ich so wenig jezt, als überhaupt an Musik. habs recht satt, und werde wohl sobald keine größere Arbeit vornehmen.“ (WeGA: A042296). 

  2. Cf. Jähns 1871: 421. 

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