Marschner, Heinrich



One of the most talented disciples of Weber and Spohr in German romantic opera; was born at Zittau. In childhood he studied music and made such rapid progress that he soon outgrew the teachers under whom he was placed. He studied at the Gymnasium and sang in the choir of the church at Bautzen, He went to Leipsic to study law in 1813 and while there pursued the study of music under the cantor, Schicht. In 1817 he went to Vienna with Count Thaddaus von Amadee, and while there met Beethoven, Klein and Kozeluch, who advised him to devote himself to the composition of sonatas, symphonies and such music. He taught music for a time in Presburg, and wrote Der Kyffhauserberg, Saidor and Heinrich IV., which Weber produced at the German Opera in Dresden in 1820. This made so favorable an impression that in 1823 Marschner was made chapelmaster of German Opera, acting with Weber. This relationship proved a harmonious one, and in 1824 Marschner was made music-director. He resigned his position on the death of Weber and became chapelmaster of the Leipsic Theatre. The following year he produced Der Vampyr, which in spite of its gruesome libretto attained remarkable success, and was even produced in England in 1829, where it ran for about two months and received great applause. In 1829 he produced Der Templer und die Jüdin, for which with his brother-in-law, Wohlbrück, he constructed the libretto from Scott's Ivanhoe. In 1831 he became Court chapelmaster at Hanover, a post he held for twenty-eight years. In 1833 he produced his masterpiece, Hans Heiling, to a libretto by Eduard Deyrient. This opera immediately attained the greatest success and has ever since held a place on the stage in Germany. In 1830 he directed its performance at Copenhagen and made so good an impression that he was offered the general music directorship of Denmark, which honor he declined. This opera proved his last important work; in 1859 he was pensioned and given the title of General - music - director; two years later he died at Hanover. Some of his other compositions are Schon Ell; Der Babu; Adolf von Nassau; La Fiancee du Fauconnier; Le Chateau au Pied du Mont Etna; overture to Le Prince de Hombourg; Austin; Lucretia; Der Holzdiet; Incidental music to Die Hermannsschlacht; ten collections of songs for four male voices; twenty collections of songs; romances; German and Italian airs for high voice with piano accompaniment; sonatas; songs and fantasies. f As a writer of the dramatic romantic school, Marschner ranks next to Weber and Spohr. His compositions are smooth and melodious and have excellent and full orchestration, which shows him a master of his craft. His ideas show the influence of Rossini and still more of Weber. His favorite subject seems to have been the ghostly and uncanny, which he treated with unusual skill. He wrote rapidly in spite of the elaborate orchestration of most of his works and the difficult harmony he employed. Although most of his minor works are forgotten, Der Vampyr, Hans Heiling and Der Templer und die Jüdin are standards of the German opera stage today.