Entartete Musik (VII)- Franz Schreker and his romantic opera ‘Die Gezeichneten’

Schreker was one of the most important composers in his period. His compositions were reflecting repercussions of late romantic. In this period, composers turned their direction to their inner psychology and because of that subjects of their compositions were about people’s emotions which projected problems of daily life. Generally, Schreker followed this way in his compositions.

‘Die Gezeichneten’(Damgalılar) was one of his operas which counted as romantic piece. At first, this opera was actually thought for order of Zemlinsky who was the musician friend of Schreker. He wrote the libretto in 1911 ,however, Schereker later decided to use the libretto in his opera which was actually written for Zemlinsky. Opera was completed in 1915 and its score was published in Vienna. In 1914, overture of opera was performed in also Vienna by the Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra and in 1918, the whole opera was performed at the Frankfurt Opera. Schreker was one of the most famous composers in his time. He composed several operas and became the dominant for opera composers who came after Schreker. Die Gezeichneten’s first performance had big successful and became effective in many cities of Germany and Austria. In these countries, this opera was also performed several times. However, I can not understand that in our times, his name is not known by many people, unfortunately. It is worrying that when he was so important in his life time, now he was almost forgotten.

The subject of the opera was love. Its story was based on a women’s love who was in the two men’s love. Because of the story’s intrigues, it had many complex moods. With long harmonic lines and tone centers, which changed according to the mood, it became an important example of late romantic period. However, at that time, it was containing sexuality and eroticism. For Schreker, sexuality and eroticism was very important and because of that he was using these subjects almost in his each operatic works. In 1933, he was blacklisted by the Nazis and their compositions were banned. In my opinion, one of the reasons was his excessive usage of sexuality and eroticism. And the other reason was usage of jazz. Like all musicians in his time, Schreker also tended to jazz and used this in his some compositions. Jazz had already counted as symbol of modernism. All of these were enough for his music to be banned. And of course his name was also in Entartete Musik Composers and in the Entartete Kunst exhibition. In the Entartete Kunst exhibition in Dusseldorf, 1938, it was written like that for Schreker: “There is no sexual heresy that Schreker can not transfer it to music”. Thus, he became one of the blacklisted composers and his compositions were not performed through the Nazi regime.



•          Rye, M., Doğanay H., Ölmeden Önce Dinlemeniz Gereken 1001 Klasik Müzik, SNP Leefung Printers Ltd., 2007, p.624-625.

•          http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/politics-and-propaganda/third-reich/schreker-franz/


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