Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
inspired expression of a great soul which the world will some day accept as great art. Probably the true position of Franz Schreker--as more than one clear- sighted critic has pointed out--lies somewhere between these two widely divergent points of view. Schreker was a brave and fearless pioneer who influenced modern music enormously. In his operas, he produced many moments of great power and enormous expressiveness. However, Schreker could be insufferably dull and heavy-handed; his operas often moved with heavy, leaden feet. It is quite unlikely that his operas will survive him, or that Schreker's importance in modern music will be more than a historical one.Principal works by Franz Schreker:
OPERA: Der Ferne Klang; Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessin; Die Gezeichneten; Irrelohe; Memnon, etc.
ORCHESTRA: Ekkehard; Romantic Suite; The Birthday of the Infanta; The Wind; Dance Suite; Kleine Suite für Kammerorchester.

About Franz Schreker:

Bekker Paul. Franz Schreker; Kapp Julius. Franz Schreker; Hoffman R. S. Franz Schreker.

Musical Digest 5:20March 25, 1924.; Musical Leader 53:5September 15, 1927.

Important recordings of music by Franz Schreker:

POLYDOR: Birthday of the Infanta ( Schreker) ; Kleine Suite ( Schreker); Suite from Der Ferne Klang.


Cyril Scott 1879-

" Cyril Scott is one of the rarest artists of the present generation."--DEBUSSY

CYRIL MEIR SCOTT was born in Oxton, Cheshire, on September 27, 1879. His mother was a very talented amateur musician. His father, a celebrated Greek scholar, turned his son at an early age to serious academic study. But music appealed too strongly to Scott ever to become merely a plaything, and even as a child he definitely decided to devote himself entirely to the art. Moreover, Cyril Scott revealed such an enormous alertness for music as a child as to make it unmistakable that his greatest talent lay in that direction. As a mere child he could play the piano by ear, and began to sketch his original musical ideas on paper. It was the insistence of the mother that finally wore down the father's resistance to Cyril Scott's adopting music as a major study--and young Scott took to music with enormous enthusiasm and zest.

His early music studies were pursued in Germany, at Frankfurt-on-the Main, first at the Hoch Conservatory and then, four years later, under Ivan Knorr. His musical education having ended in Frankfurt, Scott returned to England, settling in Liverpool where he turned to the teaching of the piano as a livelihood and where, in spare hours, he composed prolifically and wrote poetry. 1900 saw the first performance of his music when his Heroic Suite and First Symphony were performed by Hans Richter in Liverpool, Manchester and Darmstadt. These early works, however, were later destroyed by Scott who considered them merely youthful indiscretions.

In 1901 his Piano Quartet in E-Minor was heard in London, with none other than Fritz Kreisler playing the violin part; two years later Henry J. Wood introduced the Second Symphony. The brave and pungent originality of Cyril Scott's style made him before long the center of violent musical discussion in London. Percy Grainger informs us: "When I first went to London, around 1900, Cyril Scott seemed to me to be the leading English compositional thought. It was largely his musical ideas and innovations that his fellow composers discussed and drew esthetic nourishment from."

In his earliest works for piano and chamber-groups, written while a very young man, Cyril Scott was already the inventor of a novel speech--electric in its modernity--which created considerable hostility among music audiences, who were bewildered by the strange sounds which poured towards them. Disregarding all rules of composition, Cyril Scott seemed interested only in dynamic effects, vitriolic sensations in tone which brazenly defied all tradition. In this early music, Cyril Scott posed himself as the freest, most independent and most original thinker in English music

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