Slippedisc daily comfort zone (49): Too much?

Slippedisc daily comfort zone (49): Too much?

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

June 04, 2021

This is the height of decadence from Franz Schreker, a swansong from the start of his career.


  • John Borstlap says:

    A type of music in the tradition of Brahms’ works for chorus and orchestra like:

    Schicksalslied, Op. 54
    Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53
    Begräbnisgesang, Op. 13
    Nänie, Op. 82
    Gesang der Parzen, Op. 89

    The harmonies are added with Wagnerian chromaticism but underneath the music is as Gründlich as Brahms’, in its structure. It is beautiful, and almost exactly in the style of Schoenberg’s early music (Verklärte Nacht, Gurrelieder, Pelles und Melisande). This closeness will certainly have contributed to Schoenberg’s wish to take distance – Schreker quickly became very successful, so it must have been ‘bourgeois fake music’.

    Decadence? I don’t hear that at all. It’s very full music, it’s rather like sitting in a heavy-scented full flower garden after a meal that was too bulky. Norman, you sound like the early Viennese modernists, who discussed the destruction of the bourgeois Kaffeehauskultur in its very premises.

    Later-on, Schreker added French impressionist colours to his orchestral palette.

    More attention for Schreker is something to be welcomed, I think – much of it is very good and full of surprises. Also it would be fair, reading about the Untergang of his life and career.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Way back in the 1970s, London records (Decca in the UK) released an LP of rare overtures conducted by the doughty veteran Kurt Herbert Adler with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, released to honor the 50th anniversary of his conducting debut and his 25 years with the San Francisco Opera. It’s title was “Adler of the Opera.”

    One of the most intriguing was Die Gezeichneten (“The Branded”) Overture by Schreker — richly orchestrated and dripping with decadence. It was as if Gustav Klimpt’s style and methods had been set to music. I’m not sure I could sit through an entire opera’s worth but that Overture became the most-played part of that LP at my house. I put the LP aside in the CD era but am actually glad I found it to write this comment as I’d like to re-listen and see if my enthusiasm for the music has changed any now that I am in my dotage.

  • sabrinensis says:

    There’s nothing decadent about Schreker. It’s a ridiculous characterization of his and others advanced orchestral capabilities. A triad plus added notes hardly equals decadence. This really needs to stop.