Franz Schreker's Masterclasses in Vienna and Berlin, Vol. 1: Piano Music (1915-1928)

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In the three-part series “Franz Schreker’s master classes in Vienna and Berlin,” pianist, violinist, and tireless treasure hunter Kolja Lessing takes an in-depth look at the outstanding and multifaceted talents who emanated from the talent forge of Franz Schreker – the German-speaking world’s most important composition teacher of the 1910s and ’20s alongside Busoni and Schoenberg. In 1912, the year of the spectacular world premiere of his opera Der Ferne Klang in Frankfurt, Schreker became the successor to his mentor Robert Fuchs at the Vienna Academy of Music. He soon gained recognition as an authority on progressive pedagogy. His circle of students in Vienna included such figures as Ernst Krenek, Alois Hába, Artur Rodzinski, Joseph Rosenstock, Felix Petyrek, Karol Rathaus, Wilhelm Grosz, and Max Brand. In 1920, at the pinnacle of his fame, Schreker was appointed director of the Berlin Musikhochschule. Along with him went Krenek and Hába, followed by the likes of Wunderkind Ignace Strasfogel, Berthold Goldschmidt, Jerzy Fitelberg, and many others, as well as – rather exceptional for the time – the female students Grete von Zieritz and Zdenka Ticharich.
The most interesting music personalities to emerge from Franz Schreker’s Vienna composition class include Felix Petyrek (1892–1951). Petyrek enjoyed great recognition as a piano and composition teacher in Salzburg, Berlin, Abbazia, Athens, and Stuttgart (where he succeeded Wilhelm Kempff). Petyrek’s friendship with Hans and Werner Reinhart in Winterthur led him to anthroposophy. His oeuvre was strongly influenced by the impressions that the decline of the Habsburg Empire had made on him in his youth. The clash between tradition and modernity, the ambivalence of nostalgia and irony, and above all the loss of all human values during the First World War: all this can be heard in the disturbing world of his Six Grotesque Piano Pieces, the most famous of which, Der Wurstelprater, was relentlessly championed by no less than Erwin Schulhoff. Petryrek’s interest in the folk music traditions of Eastern Europe, Byzantine music, and the traditional Greek folk music that he studied in Athens led him to reflect upon polyphony and dodecaphony and the possibilities of creating new scales as alternatives to the major and minor tonalities. In his 3rd Piano Sonata from 1928, the many different (and sometimes widely disparate) influences in his creation coalesced in a fascinating synthesis based on a scale of symmetrically formed tetrachords, which Oliver Messiaen later classified in his system as the “2nd Mode.”
Item number EDA 17
Barcode 4015380001727
Release date 11/1/2000
Category Classical Music
Label EDA Records
Number of units 1
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