Marschner, Heinrich August
- A. Dean Palmer
(b Zittau, Aug 16, 1795; d Hanover, Dec 14, 1861). German composer. He was the most important exponent of German Romantic opera in the generation between Weber and Wagner.
Marschner's father was a master craftsman, working with horn and ivory. Although both parents possessed musical talent, Marschner's father encouraged him to pursue music only as an amateur and to choose a more stable career. From 1804 to 1813, therefore, the boy undertook courses in liberal studies at the gymnasium in Zittau and in nearby Bautzen. Some musical instruction was permitted, however, and his teachers included Karl Gottlieb Hering, August Bergt and Friedrich Schneider. His first stage work, Die stolze Bäuerin, was a ballet performed successfully in Zittau in 1810.
In spring 1813 Marschner left Zittau for Prague, where he met Tomášek. From there he went on to Leipzig to study law, but his interests seemed to centre less on legal studies than on his evening association with such men as the publisher Friedrich Hofmeister, the music critic J.A. Wendt and Friedrich Rochlitz, founder of the ...