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
Browse 51-64 of 64 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Schrecker: Flammen / Windfuhr, Sabrowski, Uhl, Chafin, Et Al
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 999824 Release Date: 01/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Jörg Sabrowski,  Manuela Uhl,  Heike Wittlieb,  Robert Chafin  ... 
    Conductor:  Ulrich Windfuhr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Kiel Opera Chorus
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  • 52.
    Schreker: Orchestral Works Vol 2 / Sinaisky, Karneus, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9951 Release Date: 10/23/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Katarina Karnéus
    Conductor:  Vassili Sinaisky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 53.
    Kolja Lessing Plays Schreker And Strasfogel
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 10873 Release Date: 07/24/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ignace Strasfogel,  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Kolja Lessing
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  • 54.
    Schreker: Der Ferne Klang / Harper, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8660074-75 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Rüdiger Bunse,  Thomas Harper,  Andreas Haller,  Reinhard Leisenheimer  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hagen Opera Chorus,  Hagen Philharmonic
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  • 55.
    Schreker: Fantastic Overture, Etc / Vassili Sinaisky, Bbc Po
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9797 Release Date: 03/28/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Conductor:  Vassili Sinaisky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 56.
    Schreker: Orchestral Works / Conlon, Gurzenich
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 56784 Release Date: 11/02/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Conductor:  James Conlon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra
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  • 57.
    20th Century German Opera - Zemlinsky, Schreker, Et Al
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 10724 Release Date: 03/24/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manfred Gurlitt,  Franz Schreker,  Alexander von Zemlinsky,  Franz Schmidt
    Performer:  Celina Lindsley,  Roland Hermann,  Peter Haage,  Josef Protschka  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerd Albrecht,  Stefan Soltesz,  Hans Graf,  Christoph Perick
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 58.
    The Music Survives - An Introduction To Entartete Musik
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 452664 Release Date: 06/10/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erwin Schulhoff,  Ernst Krenek,  Pavel Haas,  Berthold Goldschmidt  ... 
    Performer:  Krister St. Hill,  Heinz Kruse,  Michael Kraus,  Martin Petzold  ... 
    Conductor:  John Mauceri,  Lothar Zagrosek,  Berthold Goldschmidt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Hawthorne String Quartet
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  • 59.
    Schreker: Irrelohe / Gülke, Devol, Randová, Pabst, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66850 Release Date: 10/31/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Goran Simic,  Eva Randová,  Luana DeVol,  Monte Pederson  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Gülke
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Friends of Music Society,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Schreker: Flammen / Strobel, Theisen, Kruzel, Bollinger
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 223422 Release Date: 07/14/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Wolfgang Bergius,  Frank Strobel,  Caroline Bergius,  Adam Kruzel  ... 
    Conductor:  Frank Strobel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  PPP Music Theatre Orchestra Munich,  PPP Music Theatre Chorus Munich
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  • 61.
    Marco Polo - The Label Of Discovery - Sampler 1
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 223001 Release Date: 12/17/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Ottorino Respighi,  Reinhold Gliere,  Louis Spohr  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki
    Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd,  Daniel Nazareth,  Keith Clark,  Libor Pesek  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rhenish Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 62.
    Schreker: Die Gezeichneten / Edo De Waart
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 223328 Release Date: 12/17/1992   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  William Cochran,  Marilyn Schmiege,  Sigmund Cowan,  Wout Oosterkamp  ... 
    Conductor:  Edo de Waart
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Symphony,  Netherlands Radio Chorus
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  • 63.
    Label: Antes Edition   Catalog: 319012 Release Date: 09/01/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Matthias Monn,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ottorino Respighi,  Friedrich Wilhelm Hans  ... 
    CD: $22.49
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  • 64.
    Mahler, Schrecker, Strauss, Wolf: Songs / Lipovsek, Werba
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 176891 Release Date: 03/01/1989   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf,  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Strauss,  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Marjana Lipovsek,  Erik Werba
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