> Franz Schreker [TB]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934)
Ekkehard Overture
Fantastic Overture
Interlude from Der Schatzgräber
Prelude, Die Gezeichneten
Prelude, Das Spielwerk
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Edgar Seipenbusch
Rec 16 Nov 1985 (Ekkehard & Fantastic Overtures), 24 July 1987 (remaining items), Concert Hall of the Slovak Philharmonic, Bratislava
NAXOS 8.555246 [54.05]


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Being a contemporary of the likes of Strauss, Schoenberg and Mahler, Franz Schreker has been somewhat overshadowed by his German colleagues over the years. But the music, of course, remains the same. There is no question that he is a substantial talent, a late romantic artist with a penchant for lush, fully scored textures.

As for advancing Schreker's cause, this disc can only be given a lukewarm welcome. Some of the music comes from very early in his career, and sounds like it too. The opening items, the Ekkehard Overture and the Fantastic Overture, both date from the first years of the century when he was in his early twenties, and they lack a cutting edge.

The trend these two pieces set is admittedly typical for the whole programme, exhibiting a liking for sweeping lines and rich, chromatic textures. Of these features the best example is certainly the Prelude to Die Gezeichneten, an opera concerning a tragic tale of a crippled nobleman and his rival in love. The story justifies anguished music, which Schreker duly delivers. The Prelude has abundant atmosphere, using the orchestra with great imagination, including shimmering string tremolandi and arching melodic lines.

Edgar Seipenbusch conducts committed performances, but the results are rather flat. Neither the orchestral playing nor, it has to be said, the recorded sound, is of the front rank: adequate seems the best word to describe both. As a result, there is a general lack of tonal lustre and of impact and intensity, no matter how full-textured the climaxes may be. For the sound produced is rather dull and opaque, and that is why the music making feels the same. Schreker's may be a worthy cause, but it will not be hugely advanced by this disc.

Terry Barfoot

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.