Heinrich August Marschner

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Marschner, Heinrich August


Born Aug. 16, 1795, in Zittau; died Dec. 14, 1861, in Hanover. German composer and conductor.

From 1811 to 1816, Marschner studied composition under J. Schicht. Beginning in 1813 he studied law at the University of Leipzig. He made his debut in 1817 in Pressburg (now Bratislava), where his career as a conductor began. Between 1824 and 1826, Marschner conducted in Dresden and toured various cities. He was the musical director of the Leipzig opera house from 1827 to 1831 and the Hanover opera house from 1831 to 1859.

Marschner is an outstanding representative of early German romantic music. The best of his 14 operas are Der Vampyr (produced in 1828), Templer und Judin (1829), and Hans Heiling (1838). Based for the most part on medieval legends (with elements of fairy-tale fantasy), his operas were in the tradition of those of C. M. von Weber and, to a certain extent, anticipated Wagner’s musical dramas. Marschner placed increased importance on the role of harmony, the symphonic principle in opera, and the psychological bases of dramatic action. He also wrote songs, choruses, and instrumental compositions.


Kohler, V. Heinrich Marschners Biihnenwerke. Gottingen, 1955. (Dissertation.)
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When a music lover contemplates in Warrack's narrative such tenebrous names as Johann Caspar Kerll, Reinhard Keiser, Johann Adolf Hasse, Carl Graun, Johann Adam Hiller, Paul Wranitzky, and Heinrich Marschner, is he justified if his heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains his senses as if of New Grove he had drunk?
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