Entartete Musik (VI)- Franz Schreker- Why he was blacklisted by the Nazis and how he became Entartete Musik Composer?

Franz Schreker is a late romantic composer and the counterpoint teacher of Ernst Krenek. He is known with his operatic works because he especially concentrates on opera and his operas are very successful. When they premiered in 1900s, they were loved by everybody. In addition to his operas, he has also a great number of orchestral, chamber and choral works. However, our contemporary world, his name is not known by much people. If in Schreker’s time he was one of the famous composers, it is worrying that nowadays he is almost forgotten.

His works were reflecting his period’s late romantic characteristics. In late romantic period, composers began to turn their inner psychology. Their sadness, happiness, love and even their sexual choice were only in their music. They could reflect themselves with music. These were their materials. Maybe all these psychological effects had not existed, their music would not have been impressive like this. Schreker was one of these composers. He was reflecting his music by using self-expression. His opera “Die Gezeichneten”(1915) was about 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 and with long harmonic lines and tone centers, which changed according to the mood, it became an important example of late romantic period.

His another opera “Der Ferne Klang” (1910) 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 addition to this, at that time, influence of American jazz reflected his music. As we know, jazz was the striking symbol of modernism in his period. All of these was enough for Nazis to eliminate Schreker because Nazi regime was opponent to the modernism and beside this, Scheker was using sexuality and eroticism. The regime did not accept these and Scheker was blacklisted by the Nazis. His opera “Christophorus”  (1929) was forced to cancel by Nazis and its premiere was performed in 1978. His other opera “Der Schmied von Gent” (1932) was premiered in 1932, however, after that it was canceled by the regime. 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, Schreker became one of the eliminated composers and he was blacklisted as Degenerate Music Composers.

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