This two-cd survey of Franz Schreker’s forty-eight completed songs concludes with a selection that provides a sweeping overview of his lyric accomplishment, from prize-winning early efforts as a student at the Vienna Conservatory to a crowning masterpiece, written at the height of his international fame. Although by their number Lieder do not loom large in his creative output (that place is given to his operas, and secondarily to his orchestral works) Schreker’s songs nonetheless document each stage of his stylistic development and contain some of his finest music. Songs are among Schreker’s earliest surviving works, and among these first scores is the “Lied der Fiorina”, completed on 12 August 1896, when the composer was 18 years old. The manuscript itself is torn in such as way as to obscure both the source and portions of the text, as well as four measures of the vocal line, which, however, can be reconstructed with reasonable assurance. The setting is relatively straightforward although one can already observe Schreker’s penchant for melodic and harmonic modal inflections. Two songs from the following year (“Waldeinsamkeit” and “berwunden”, both dated April 1897) reveal still greater harmonic freedom and an expanded range of rhythmic and accompanimental resources. The curious final measures of “berwunden” seem to combine allusions to Saint-Sans’ Delilah and the Liszt piano sonata, a particularly striking example of the composer’s gradual and sometimes awkward assimilation of a range of influences…….Download booklet
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