OP2853. DIE GEZEICHNETEN (Schreker), Live Performance, 1990, w.Edo de Waart Cond. Dutch Radio Ensemble; William Cochran, Marilyn Schmiege, Sigmund Cowen, Wout Oosterkamp, etc. [Tender intimacies and unsettling revelations, of veiled allusions and naked truths – and all couched in music of a supple lyric beauty that has few equals in operatic literature.] (Germany) 3-Marco Polo 8.223328/30. Brilliant sound! - 4891030233287
“DIE GEZEICHNETEN (The Branded or The Stigmatized) is an opera in three acts by Franz Schreker, libretto by the composer. An expanded concert-version of the overture to the opera was performed at the Vienna Musikverein on 8 February 1914 by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Felix Weingartner. The complete opera was first performed on 25 April 1918 by the Frankfurt Opera in the Alte Oper, conducted by Ludwig Rottenberg. It established Schreker as the pre-eminent opera composer of his generation and won him the support of Germany's foremost music critic, Paul Bekker. Before the composer's music was banned in 1933 due to his Jewish ancestry, a further two dozen productions followed in fifteen different cities in Germany and Austria. The playbill of the first performance in Vienna (January 1920) mentions 66 previous performances of the opera in five different opera houses (Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Dresden and Breslau).
Conductor Michael Gielen revived the opera at the Oper Frankfurt in 1979. A major staging took place at the Salzburg Festival in 2005 directed by Nikolaus Lehnhoff and conducted by Kent Nagano with Robert Brubaker (Alviano) and Anne Schwanewilms (Carlotta) in the leading roles, though the opera was heavily cut for this production. The American premiere was staged at the Los Angeles Opera on 10 April 2010, followed by three more performances. James Conlon conducted and Robert Brubaker (Salviago), Anja Kampe (Carlotta) and Martin Gantner (Tamare) sang the principal roles. This event was hailed by critics as the first ever performance of a Schreker opera in the Western Hemisphere. Also, in April 2010 it was performed six times at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo in a production by Graham Vick.”
“Schreker was born in Monaco, the eldest son of the Bohemian Jewish court photographer Ignaz Schrecker and his wife Eleonore von Clossmann, who was a member of the Catholic aristocracy of Styria. Schreker entered the Vienna Conservatory, starting with violin studies with Sigismund Bachrich and Arnold Rosé, then he moved into the composition class of Robert Fuchs, graduating as a composer in 1900.
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 XXII’ and Schönberg's FRIEDE AUF ERDEN and GURRE-LIEDER.
November 1909 saw the stormy premiere of the complex orchestral interlude (entitled ‘Nachtstück’) from DER FERNE KLANG, the opera he had been working on since 1903. In 1912, the first performance of the complete opera in Frankfurt consolidated his fame. His next opera, DAS SPIELWERK UND DIE PRINZESSIN, which was given simultaneous premières in Frankfurt and Vienna (15 March, 1913) was less well received (the work was subsequently revised as a one-act 'Mysterium' entitled simply DAS SPIELWERK IN 1915), but the scandal caused by this opera in Vienna only served to make Schreker's name more widely known.
The outbreak of World War I interrupted the composer's success but with the première of his opera DIE GEZEICHNETEN (Frankfurt, 25 April, 1918) Schreker moved to the front ranks of contemporary opera composers. The first performance of DER SCHATZGRÄBER (Frankfurt, 21 January, 1920) was the high point of his career. The Chamber Symphony, composed between the two operas for the faculty of the Vienna Academy in 1916, quickly entered the repertoire and remains Schreker's most frequently performed work today. In March 1920 he was appointed director of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin and between 1920 and 1932 he gave extensive musical tuition in a variety of subjects with Berthold Goldschmidt, Alois Hába, Jascha Horenstein, Julius Bürger, Ernst Krenek, Artur Rodzinski, Stefan Wolpe, Zdenka Ticharich and Grete von Zieritz numbering among his students.
Schreker's fame and influence were at their peak during the early years of the Weimar Republic when he was the most performed living opera composer after Richard Strauss. The decline of his artistic fortunes began with the mixed reception given to IRRELOHE (Cologne, 1924 under Otto Klemperer) and the failure of DER SINGENDE TEUFEL (Berlin, 1928 under Erich Kleiber). Political developments and the spread of anti-Semitism were also contributory factors, both of which heralded the end of Schreker's career. Right-wing demonstrations marred the première of DER SCHMIED VON GENT (Berlin, 1932) and National Socialist pressure forced the cancellation of the scheduled Freiburg première of CHRISTOPHORUS in 1933 (the work was finally performed there in 1978). Finally, in June 1932, Schreker lost his position as Director of the Musikhochschule in Berlin and, the following year, also his post as professor of composition at the Akademie der Künste. In his lifetime he went from being hailed as the future of German opera to being considered irrelevant as a composer and marginalized as an educator. After suffering from a stroke in December 1933, he died in Berlin on 21 March, 1934, two days before his 56th birthday.
Although Schreker was influenced by composers such as Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, his mature style shows a highly individual harmonic language, which, although broadly tonal, is inflected with chromatic and polytonal passages.”
- Loyal Bluto