Franz Schreker (1878-1934) was an Austrian composer and conductor. Schreker is most known for his operas as well as his work as a conductor.
This Chamber Symphony is subtitled for 23 soloist (or instruments). This concept is taken from Arnold Schoenberg's 1st Chamber symphony which is intended for 15 performers.
I would like to mainly examine the beginning of this work. Schreker works to blend late Romanticism with hints of modernism.. The use of a harmonium (pump organ) is a bit unique and is one key instrument in creating the atmosphere in the opening.
The use of chromaticism on the first page of the score raises a few question, but helps determine that the work is not atonal, however, it is reminiscent of the late romantic, sort of quassi Liszt.
The static nature of the opening has some resemblance to Debussy or impressionism, however, once the other instruments join in more linear motion is used than would be found in those styles.
I would like to compare Schreker's Chamber Symphony to The Romanian composer George Enescu's Symphony no. 3, also from 1916.
The beginning of Enescu's symphony paints a different picture. While, Enescu begins creating the background for his work, themes start to appear throughout the entire ensemble.( not to mention the increased usage of lower pitched instruments, whereas Schreker primary uses high pitched instruments to create the background for his work.
Enescu's work as a whole seems more in the vein of older tradition. The work is obviously far more tonal than Schreker's but the general treatment of themes is not something that would have been found in Schreker.
What I like most about this work is the atmosphere Schreker creates in the beginning. The harmonies as well as timbres help create a nice sonic landscape that eventually takes off.
"Franz Schreker: Chamber Symphony for 23 Solo Instruments (LACO/Gerard Schwarz)" YouTube video, 24:28. Posted by "noochinator2" upload March 17, 2014. video.
"George Enescu - Symphony No. 3 (1916)" YouTube video, 54:04. Posted by "GoldieG91" upload May 10, 2012. video.