Schreker: Die Gezeichneten Enormously popular in pre-World War I Germany and Austria, Franz Schreker (1878-1934) saw his fame precipitously crash. By the mid-1920s, the music world had little… Schreker: Die Gezeichneten Enormously popular in pre-World War I Germany and Austria, Franz Schreker (1878-1934) saw his fame precipitously crash. By the mid-1920s, the music world had little… William Cochran Sigmund Cowan Edo de Waart Dutch Radio Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra Marilyn Schmiege Classical

Enormously popular in pre-World War I Germany and Austria, Franz Schreker (1878-1934) saw his fame precipitously crash. By the mid-1920s, the music world had little use for the overripe romanticism of Schreker's operas, with their lurid, mystical plots in which Freud and de Sade seem to dance arm-in-arm. Schreker, a Jew, was later forced off Germany's stages by the Nazis and died in oblivion. As such things often go, Schreker is again on the ascent; the 1915 Die Gezeichneten (The Marked Women) is his third opera to show up on record in recent years, and the best-performed. The plot — rape, murder, and sybaritic orgies on an island called Elysium — is mere nuisance, but the richly scored, soaring music holds its own. Its honeyed opulence is not recommended, however, for the calorie-conscious. B+

Originally posted Aug 16, 1991 Published in issue #79 Aug 16, 1991 Order article reprints