Franz Schreker

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Schreker, Franz


Born Mar. 23, 1878, in Monaco; died Mar. 21, 1934, in Berlin. Austrian composer, conductor, and teacher.

Schreker received his musical education at the Vienna Conservatory, where he studied violin with A. Rosé and theory with R. Fuchs and H. Grädener. In 1908 he organized and led the Vienna Philharmonic Chorus, which under his direction premiered many works by modern composers. He achieved his greatest popularity as a composer of works for the stage, written, as a rule, to his own librettos.

Schreker’s works show certain symbolist features and are distinguished by an erotic sensuousness and by subjectivism; at the same time they are notable for their brilliant color and dramatic tension. This combination of qualities explains the widespread, though short-lived, popularity of Schreker’s music in the 1920’s, when his operas Der ferne Klang (A Distant Bell; 1912), Der Schatzgräber (The Treasure-seeker; 1920), and Irrelohe (Errant Flame; 1924) were widely performed.

Schreker taught composition at the Akademie der Tonkunst in Vienna from 1912 to 1920, when he was appointed director of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin; in 1932 and 1933 he was a professor at the Prussian Academy of Arts, where he held a master class for composition.


F. Shreker i ego opera “Dal’nii zvon”: Stat’i. Leningrad, 1925.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Until recently, Franz Schreker (1878-1934) was treated as a footnote to the history of early 20th-century opera, though during his day he was regarded as the true successor to Wagner and Strauss and was championed by the likes of Fritz Busch, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer and Bruno Walter.