In 1805 Spohr was quietly settled in his avocation at Brunswick as composer and chief Kam-mer-musicus of the ducal court, when he received an offer to compete for the direction of the orchestra at Gotha, then one of the most magnificent organizations in Europe, to be at the head of which would give him an international fame. The offer was too tempting to be refused, and Spohr was easily victorious. His new duties were not onerous, consisting of a concert once a week, and in practicing and rehearsing the orchestra. The annual salary was five hundred thalers.
One of the most interesting incidents of Spohr’s life now occurred. The susceptible heart, which had often been touched, was firmly enslaved by the charms of Dorette Schiedler, the daughter of the principal court singer, and herself a fine virtuoso on the harp. Dorette was a woman whose personal loveliness was an harmonious expression of her beauty of character and artistic talent, and Spohr accepted his fate with joy. This girl of eighteen was irresistible, for she was accomplished, beautiful, tender, as good as an angel, and with the finest talent for music, for she played admirably, not only on the harp, but on the piano and violin. Spohr had reason to hope that the attachment was mutual, and was eager to declare his love. One night they were playing together at a court concert, and Spohr after the performance noticed the duchess, with an arch look at him, whispering some words to Dorette which covered her cheeks with blushes. That night, as the lovers were returning home in the carriage, Spohr said to her, “Shall we thus play together for life?” Dorette burst into tears, and sank into her lover’s arms. The compact was sealed by the joyous assent of the mother, and the young couple were united in the ducal chapel, in the presence of the duchess and a large assemblage of friends, on the 2d of February, 1806.
In the following year Spohr and his young wife set out on a musical tour, “by which,” he says, “we not only reaped a rich harvest of applause, but saved a considerable sum of money.” On his return to Gotha he was met by a band of pupils, who unharnessed the horses from the coach and drew him through the streets in triumph. He now devoted himself to composition largely, and produced his first opera, “Alruna,” which is said to have been very warmly received, both at Gotha and Weimar, in which latter city it was produced under the superintendence of the poet Goethe, who was intendant of the theatre. Spohr, however, allowed it to disappear, as his riper judgment condemned its faults more than it favored its excellences. Among his amusing adventures, one which he relates in his “Autobiography” as having occurred in 1808 is worth repeating. He tells us: “In the year 1808 took place the celebrated Congress of Sovereigns at Erfurt, on which occasion Napoleon entertained his friend Alexander