Franz Schreker

Biography

Born: March 23, 1878; Monaco   Died: March 21, 1934; Berlin, Germany  
Even in Germany and Austria, where he enjoyed his greatest successes, Franz Schreker remains a shadowy figure, slowly being rediscovered as Alexander Zemlinsky (1872-1942) has been. Like several lesser eminences born in the wake of Richard Strauss, Schreker conducted and taught as well as composed. Just before World War I, and briefly after, he became a musical celebrity, but without the controversy that surrounded his lifelong friend Arnold Read more Schoenberg. After the war, both taught in Berlin -- Schreker as director of the storied Hochschule für Musik starting in 1920, Schoenberg at the Prussische Kunstakademie in 1925 -- until the Nazis assailed them for being Jews. Schreker was forced to resign in 1932 and given a small consolation position at the same Akademie, from which he and Schoenberg were dismissed after Hitler became Reichskanzler in 1933. Schoenberg managed to leave Germany, but Schreker suffered a heart attack and died the next year.

By that time he had been stigmatized as a creator of Entartete Musik (along with Mendelssohn, Mahler, Schoenberg, Berg, Weill, Eisler, and so on), and had furthermore run dry creatively. In truth, the last four of his nine operas -- those after 1918 -- document this falling-off. He could not bring himself to exchange hyperchromaticism for Schoenberg's "free tonality." At the same time, his luridly erotic librettos -- inspired by Salome of Strauss -- were going out of fashion, to be replaced by Expressionism, parody, satire, Freudian Angst, and everything else that scandalized Weimar-Republicans at the same time as they were titillated.

The operas that made Schreker's reputation -- Die ferne Klang (Distant Chiming), Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessin (The Music Box and the Princess), Die Gezeichneten (The Stigmatized), and Der Schatzgräber (The Treasure Digger) -- were all premiered between 1912 and 1920, although he had begun the first-named as far back as 1901 without finishing it until 1910. The last two were outstandingly successful.

Professor Hans F. Redlich's lengthy entry in Grove V characterized Schreker's music as follows, in part:

"Its skillful blending of Teutonic and romantic elements of style forms a twentieth century parallel to Meyerbeer's eclectic type of opera.... Schreker's melodic substance as well as his iridescent harmonies are heavily indebted to French Impressionism, and to the Italian verismo of Puccini and his Anglo-German imitator [Eugčne] d'Albert.... Works for the concert hall remain typical by-products of a theatrically inspired musician. As a musical colorist of great distinction...and finally as a musical mentor of a whole generation of continental composers, [he] undoubtedly made a substantial contribution to the artistic development of his time, even if his followers ultimately traveled in a quite different direction." To this add what another, more recent, unidentified German has written: "Schreker's music is strangely shimmering, capricious, seemingly diffuse, constantly shifting and flowing, not apparently disciplined...[but it] never quite loses [a] youthful glow.... Prelude to a Drama was in fact somewhat modified as the overture to Die Gezeichneten, and is a perfect example of Schreker's music as described. Strangely capricious, unable and unwilling ever to come to an end [the duration is 20 minutes, more or less], excessive yet formally circumscribed, it is the epitome of his unique, inimitable artistic achievement. He may never become world famous, but his place in German music is assured." Read less
Schreker: Die Gezeichneten / Zagrosek, Kruse, Connell
Release Date: 09/11/2012   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001727302   Number of Discs: 3
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Schreker: Irrelohe / Gülke, Devol, Randová, Pabst, Et Al
Release Date: 10/31/1995   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 66850   Number of Discs: 2
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Schreker: Der Ferne Klang / Harper, Et Al
Release Date: 06/13/2000   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8660074-75   Number of Discs: 2
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Schreker: Romantic Suite, Prelude To Memnon / Mund
Release Date: 04/16/2002   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8555107   Number of Discs: 1
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Entartete Musik - Schreker: Die Gezeichneten / Zagrosek
Release Date: 01/22/2009   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 444442   Number of Discs: 3
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Browse 1-25 of 64 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Gerard Schwarz Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503294 Release Date: 10/13/2017   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Webern,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Thelma Handy,  Kenneth Munday,  David Shifrin,  Richard Todd  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz,  Gunther Schuller,  Jason K. Fettig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra,  New York Chamber Symphony  ... 
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  • 2.
    Schreker: Irrelohe / Pabst, Gulke, Vienna Symphony
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985470362 Release Date: 10/06/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Helmuth Wildhaber,  Neven Belamaric,  Heinz Zednik,  Eva Randová  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Gülke
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
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  • 3.
    Auf dem Meer der Lust in hellen Flammen / Pachl, Haunhorst, Klaas
    Label: Thorofon   Catalog: 26333 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schreker,  Arnold Winternitz,  Max von Schillings,  Erich Wolff  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Haunhorst,  Rainer Maria Klaas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pianopianissimo-Musiktheater
    CD: $22.49
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  • 4.
    Schreker: Orchestral Music from the Operas / Renes, Royal Swedish Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2212 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Conductor:  Lawrence Renes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Swedish Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Portrait / Christiane Karg
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300788 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Schumann,  Richard Strauss,  André Modeste Grétry,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Christiane Karg,  Burkhard Kehring,  Malcolm Martineau
    Conductor:  Jonathan Cohen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcangelo
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  • 6.
    Schone Welt / Schwanewilms, Spencer
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5233 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Franz Schreker,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Performer:  Anne Schwanewilms,  Charles Spencer
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  • 7.
    Wiegen Lieder [deluxe-box]
    Label: Carus   Catalog: 83025 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Abraham P. Schulz,  Johannes Brahms,  Karl Friedrich Curschmann,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Kleber,  Lisa Trio Bassenge,  Michael Gees,  Ingeborg [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Danz  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Alber,  Carola Bischoff,  Frieder Bernius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Calmus Ensemble,  SWR Stuttgart Vocal Ensemble
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  • 8.
    Es Glanzen Die Sternlein Je Langer Je Mehr ...
    Label: Thorofon   Catalog: 2618 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Cornelius,  Hugo Wolf,  Edvard Grieg,  Erich Wolff  ... 
    Performer:  Hans-Martin Gräbner,  Peter P. Pachl,  Rebecca Broberg
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  • 9.
    Fin De Siecle / Anke Vondung, Christoph Berner
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553313 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker,  Alban Berg,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Alexander von Zemlinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Anke Vondung,  Christoph Berner
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  • 10.
    Suites & Overtures for the Radio / Theis, Staatsoperette Dresden
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777838 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Walter Braunfels,  Max Butting,  Eduard Künneke,  Franz Schreker  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernst Theis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchester Der Staatsoperette Dresden
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  • 11.
    Wohl Fuhl Ich, Wie Das Leben Rinnt
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99010 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker,  Alexander von Zemlinsky,  Wilhelm Kienzl,  Michal Salamon
    Performer:  Kristen Okerlund,  Norbert Ernst
    CD: $18.99
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  • 12.
    Wunderhornlieder / Holzmair, Lindquist
    Label: Col Legno   Catalog: 60024 Release Date: 02/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Louise Reichardt,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair,  Thérčse Lindquist
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  • 13.
    Zemlinsky, Mahler, Schreker: Lieder
    Label: Kmi   Catalog: 71115 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Alexander von Zemlinsky,  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Anna Holroyd
    Conductor:  Amaury Du Closel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Versailles Camerata,  Ensemble Voix Étouffées
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  • 14.
    Franz Schreker: Die Gezeichneten
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 376 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Conductor:  Winfried Zillig
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  • 15.
    Schreker: Die Ferne Klang / Zillig, Zeyen, Bensing, Sentpaul, Schier
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 374 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Sanders Schier,  Liane Fuchs,  Heinrich Bensing,  Ilse Zeyen  ... 
    Conductor:  Winfried Zillig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Schreker: Der Schatzgraber / Nederlandse Opera
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72591 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Alasdair Elliott,  Tijl Faveyts,  André Morsch,  Kurt Gysen
    Conductor:  Marc Albrecht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Schreker: Die Gezeichneten / Conlon, Kampe, Brubaker, Gantner
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9400 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Robert Brubaker,  Anja Kampe,  Martin Gantner,  James Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  James Conlon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Opera Chorus,  Los Angeles Opera Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Schoeck: Notturno For Baritone And String Quartet;  Schreker: Der Wind / Genz,  Leipzig Quartet
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 3071815 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Othmar Schoeck,  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Stephan Genz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig String Quartet
    CD: $18.99
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  • 19.
    Schreker: Der Ferne Klang / Albrecht, Nimsgern,  Juon, Appel, Hermann
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5178 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Roland Hermann,  Thomas Moser,  Victor von Halem,  Johann Werner Prein  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Schreker: Der Schatzgraber / Albrecht, Protschka, Schnaut, Stamm
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5175 Release Date: 07/30/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Gabriele Schnaut,  Harald Stamm,  Peter Haage,  Hans Helm  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hamburg State Opera Orchestra,  Hamburg State Opera Chorus
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  • 21.
    Schreker: Die Gezeichneten / Zagrosek, Kruse, Connell
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001727302 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Kaja Borris,  Heinz Kruse,  László Polgár,  Endrik Wottrich  ... 
    Conductor:  Lothar Zagrosek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Chorus,  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
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  • 22.
    Chamber Symphonies / Wolynec, Gateway Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 592 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  George Enescu,  Franz Schreker
    Conductor:  Gregory Wolynec
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gateway Chamber Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Schreker: Der Schmied Von Gent / Beermann, Zwarg, Riemer, Randall, Robert Schumann Philharmonie
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777647 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Victor Sawaley,  Judith Kuhn,  Undine Dreissig,  Andre Riemer  ... 
    Conductor:  Frank Beermann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Robert Schumann Philharmonic,  Chemnitz Opera Chorus
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  • 24.
    Schreker: Der Holdestein - Choral Works By Schreker, Fuchs, Braunfels
    Label: Carus   Catalog: 83399 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Braunfels,  Robert Fuchs,  Franz Schreker
    Conductor:  Michael Alber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Vocal Ensemble
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Schreker: Das Weib Des Intaphernes / Gulke, WDR Rundfunkorchester
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 7088 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schreker,  Ignace Strasfogel
    Performer:  Peter Dicke,  Gert Westphal,  Kolja Lessing
    Conductor:  Peter Gülke
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Cologne West German Radio Chorus
    CD: $19.99
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