Heinrich August Marschner

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Marschner, Heinrich (August)

Marschner, Heinrich (August), important German composer; b. Zittau, Saxony, Aug. 16, 1795; d. Hannover, Dec. 14,1861. He sang in the school choir at the Zittau Gymnasium, and also studied music with Karl Hering. In 1813 he went to Leipzig, where he studied jurisprudence at the Univ. Encouraged by the cantor of the Thomasschule, J.C. Schicht, he turned to music as his main vocation. In 1816 he became a music tutor in Count Zichy’s household in Pressburg, and also served as Kapellmeister to Prince Krasatkowitz. In his leisure hours he began to compose light operas; his first opera, Titus (1816), did not achieve a performance, but soon he had 2 more operas and a Singspiel produced in Dresden. His first signal success was the historical opera Heinrich IV und d’Aubigné, which was accepted by Weber, who was then music director at the Dresden Court Opera, and was produced there on July 19,1820. In 1817 he was in Vienna, where he was fortunate enough to meet Beethoven. In 1821 Marschner moved to Dresden where his Singspiel Der Holzdieb was staged at the Court Opera (Feb. 22,1825). He expected to succeed Weber as music director at the Court Opera after Weber died in London, but failed to obtain the post. He went to Leipzig, where he became Kapellmeister of the Stadttheater, and wrote for it 2 Romantic operas, in the manner of Weber: Der Vampyr (March 29, 1828) and Der Templer und die Jüdin, after the famous novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (Dec. 22, 1829). In 1830 he received the position of Kapellmeister of the Hannover Hoftheater. His most successful opera, Hans Heiling (Berlin, May 24, 1833), exhibited the most attractive Romantic traits of his music: a flowing melody, sonorous harmony, and nervous rhythmic pulse; the opera formed a natural transition to the exotic melodrama of Meyerbeer’s great stage epics and to Wagner’s early lyrical music dramas. Historically important was his bold projection of a continuous dramatic development, without the conventional type of distinct arias separated by recitative. In this respect he was the heir of Weber and a precursor of Wagner.

Works

dramatic: Opera: Titus, opera (1816; not perf.); Der Kyffhäuserberg, Singspiel (1816; Zittau, Jan. 2, 1822); Heinrich IV und d’Aubigné, opera (1817–18; Dresden, July 19, 1820); Saidar und Zulima, romantic opera (Pressburg, Nov. 26, 1818); Der Holzdieb, Singspiel (1823; Dresden, Feb. 22, 1825; rev. 1853 as Geborgt); Lukretia, opera (1820–26; Danzig, Jan 17, 1827); Der Vampyr, romantic opera (1827; Leipzig, March 29, 1828); Der Templer und die Jüdin, romantic opera (Leipzig, Dec. 22,1829); Des Falkners Braut, comic opera (1830; Leipzig, March 10, 1832); Hans Heiling, romantic opera (1831–32; Berlin, May 24, 1833); Das Schloss am Ätna, romantic opera (1830–35; Leipzig, Jan. 29, 1836); Der Bäbu, comic opera (1836–37; Hannover, Feb. 19, 1838); Kaiser Adolf von Nassau, romantic opera (Dresden, Jan 5, 1845); Austin, romantic opera (1850–51; Hannover, Jan. 25,1852); Sangeskönig Hiarne, oder Das Tyringsschwert, romantic opera (1857–58; Frankfurt am Main, Sept. 13, 1863). ba11et: Die stolze Bäuerin (Zittau, 1810). other: Incidental music. other: 2 unfinished syms.; choral works.

Bibliography

W. Neumann, H. M..(Kassel, 1854); E. Danzig, H. M. in seinen minderbekannten Opern und Liedern (Leipzig, 1890); M. Wittmann, H. M. (Leipzig, 1897); G. Münzer, H.M. (Berlin, 1901); C. Preiss, Templer und Jüdin (Graz, 1911); H. Gaartz, Die Opern H. M.s (Leipzig, 1912); G. Fischer, M. Erinnerungen (Hannover, 1918); A. Bickel, H. M. in seinen Opern (diss., Univ. of Erlangen, 1929); A. Gnirs, Hans Heiling (Karlsbad, 1931); G. Hausswald, H. M. (Dresden, 1938); V. Köhler, H. M.s Bühnenwerke (diss., Univ. of Göttingen, 1956); A. Dean Palmer, H.A. M., 1795–1861: His Life and Stage Works (1980); B. Weber, H. M.: Königlicher Hoftapellmeisters in Hannover (Hannover, 1995); A. Behrendt and M. Vogt, eds., H.A. M.: Bericht über das Zittauer M.-Symposium (Leipzig, 1998).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Marschner, Heinrich (August) (b Zittau, 1795; d Hanover, 1861). Ger. composer and conductor. Went to Vienna 1817 and met Beethoven. Success of his opera Heinrich IV und d'Aubigné, prod. by Weber at Dresden 1820, led to his appointment there as co-cond. with Weber. Appointed mus. dir. 1824, resigning on Weber's death 1826. Kapellmeister, Leipzig, 1827–30, where his Der Vampyr (1828) was successful. In Dec. 1829 Der Templer und die Jüdin, based on Scott's Ivanhoe, was prod. Court Kapellmeister, Hanover, 1831–59. Most famous opera, Hans Heiling, prod. Berlin 1833. 8 other operas followed, none successful. Wrote incidental mus. to Kleist's Prinz von Homburg, also 7 pf. sonatas, pf. trios, songs, etc. Occupies place between Weber and Wagner in history of Romantic opera.