"Rio Rita" performed by the Marek Weber Orchestra on the musician's 135th birthday
The outstanding violinist, conductor and pop orchestra leader Marek Weber was a man of unusual destiny, and it is not easy to "connect" him with a particular country, since he can be considered equally an Austrian, Ukrainian, German and American musician.
Marek Weber became interested in music from early childhood, he learnt to play the violin masterfully, and already at the age of 12, the young prodigy performed in variety shows. Already in 1908, when he was only 20 years old, Marek Weber created his own pop orchestra, and from 1914, he managed the salon orchestra of Berlin Hotel “Adlon”. In the 1920s and 1930s, recordings of Marek Weber's orchestra were released on vinyl records. In these years, the orchestra of M. Weber was one of the most popular in Europe. Everyone got to know the unforgettable “Rio Rita” (1932) performed by this very orchestra. Marek Weber most accurately conveyed the character of this music in his recording. One can feel the Spanish temperament in it, and it was played brilliantly. It was this recording that reached the Soviet Union in 1937, and became the most popular tune of the time. The museum Sound Library features a gramophone record with pasodoble "Rio Rita" performed by the orchestra under the baton of Marek Weber.
It is interesting that Marek Weber could not tolerate jazz, which was very fashionable in those years, but as the leader of a salon orchestra, he took into account the tastes of the public and allowed the musicians of his orchestra to play jazz tunes. However, at that time he would defiantly retire to the bar for a drink or two.
The orchestra of Marek Weber was multi-ethnic and even included an African-American, Arthur Briggs. In 1933, when the National Socialist German Workers' Party led by Adolf Hitler came to power and the purge of "racially alien elements" in music began, Marek Weber, being a Jew, as well as most of the musicians in his orchestra, were forced to emigrate to the United States. There Weber reconstituted his orchestra, performed extensively, and even received the honourable title of "King of the Radio Waltz". However, he was no longer as popular as before. In Europe, he was considered "the number one musician", but the American public had different tastes.
After the Second World War, Marek Weber stopped his musical activities and took up farming. Marek Weber subsequently retired and died on February 9, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.