Concept

Franz Schreker

Summary
Franz Schreker (originally Schrecker; 23 March 1878 – 21 March 1934) was an Austrian composer, conductor, librettist, teacher and administrator. Primarily a composer of operas, Schreker developed a style characterized by aesthetic plurality (a mixture of Romanticism, Naturalism, Symbolism, Impressionism, Expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit), timbral experimentation, strategies of extended tonality and conception of total music theatre into the narrative of 20th-century music. He was born as Franz Schrecker in Monaco, the eldest son of the Bohemian Jewish court photographer Ignaz Franz Schrekker (Germanized from Ignácz Furencz, originally Isak), and his wife, Eleonore von Cloßmann, who was a member of the Catholic aristocracy of Styria. He grew up during travels across half of Europe and, after the early death of his father, the family moved from Linz to Vienna (1888) where in 1892, with the help of a scholarship, Schreker entered the Vienna Conservatory. Starting with violin studies, with Sigismund Bachrich and Arnold Rosé, he moved into the composition class of Robert Fuchs, graduating as a composer in 1900. His first success was with the Intermezzo for strings, Op. 8, which won an important prize sponsored by the Neue musikalische Presse in 1901. His first opera, Flammen, was completed in 1902 but failed to receive a staged production. Schreker had begun conducting in 1895, when he had founded the Verein der Musikfreunde Döbling. In 1907 he formed the Vienna Philharmonic Chorus, which he conducted until 1920: among its many premières were Zemlinsky's Psalm XXIII and Schoenberg's Friede auf Erden and Gurre-Lieder. Schreker and other composers, such as Schoenberg and Zemlinsky, were influential during the Jugendstil movement, which incorporated non-western styles inspired by Ancient Egypt and the Far East. His "pantomime", Der Geburtstag der Infantin, commissioned by the dancer Grete Wiesenthal and her sister Elsa for the opening of the 1908 Kunstschau, first called attention to his development as a composer.
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