Max von Schillings  
Max von Schillings
Max von Schillings (April 19, 1868 – Berlin, July 24, 1933) was a German conductor, composer and theatre director. He was chief conductor at the Berlin State Opera from 1919 to 1925.

Schillings' opera Mona Lisa (1915) was internationally successful and was performed at the Metropolitan Opera. The composer married Barbara Kemp, the soprano who sang the title role. Before Mona Lisa, Schillings had already written three operas: Ingwelde (1894), Der Pfeifertag (1899) and Der Moloch (1906).


Born in Düren, Max von Schillings was brother to the photographer Carl Georg Schillings. He received his first musical training in violin, piano and theory at the same time as his formal education in Bonn. His teachers were Caspar Joseph Brambach and Otto von Königslow. Schillings later studied jurisprudence, philosophy, literature and art history at the University of Munich. On October 1, 1892, he married his cousin Caroline Josefa Peill in Römlinghoven. They were divorced in 1923, and on June 11, 1923, he married the opera singer Barbara Kemp in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Max Schillings was given a professorship by the Royal Bavarian Ministry of the Interior (Königliches Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern) on February 16, 1903. In October 1911, he was named an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy by the Philosophy Faculty at the University of Heidelberg. He was awarded the Ehrenkreuz (Ger. honorary cross) by the Order of the Württemberg Crown, the fifth highest rank awarded. With this honor, he was allowed to use the name Max von Schillings. In Düren, the street between Goethestraße and Aachener Straße was renamed "Schillingsstraße".

As early as the 1890s, he was given a position as an assistant at the Bayreuth Festival; later he was engaged as a conductor and music teacher in Munich. Between 1908 and 1918 he was the Intendant at the Königlichen Hoftheater (Royal Court Theatre) in Stuttgart, for which he received the honor mentioned above. From 1918 to 1925, he succeeded Richard Strauss as intendant of the State Opera in Berlin, whilst concurrently being the musical director of the summer-time Zoppot Forest Opera. In the second half of this decade, he undertook concert tours which took him through Europe and to the USA.

Having returned to Germany, he took over the job of President of the Prussian Academy of the Arts in 1932, succeeding Max Liebermann. From March 1933 until his death, Schillings was also the artistic director of the Städtische Oper Berlin. He died in 1933 from a pulmonary embolism in Berlin. His ashes were entombed at Frankfurt-am-Main.

His composition work includes several operas, melodramas, choral works, chamber music pieces, violin and piano concertos, symphonic poems and works for stage (see list below). His most important work is undoubtedly his opera Mona Lisa (first performed on September 26, 1915 in Stuttgart), which became one of the most-performed operas in Germany until his death. He stands beside Engelbert Humperdinck and Richard Strauss as one of the composers who re-established the music form of melodrama at the start of the 20th century. Schillings was renowned as a music educator - one of his more famous students was Wilhelm Furtwängler. He was the dedicatee of "Sea Drift" by Frederick Delius.

Max von Schillings was an opponent of the Weimar Republic and a declared anti-Semite. The expulsion and exclusion of important Jewish and free-thinking artists from the Prussian Academy of the Arts began during his time as President - some artists affected were Käthe Kollwitz, Heinrich Mann, Ricarda Huch, Alfred Döblin, Thomas Mann, Max Liebermann, Alfons Paquet, Franz Werfel and Jakob Wassermann. He laid off Arnold Schoenberg from the teaching staff of the Academy, in contravention of Schoenberg's contract and in 1933, he ordered Franz Schreker, the leader of masterclasses in composition at the Academy, into early retirement.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Max von Schillings - Violin Concerto No. 1 (1910)
I. Allegro Energico - 00:00
II. Andante Con Espressione - 23:17
III. Allegro Con Brio - 35:04
Max von Schillings - 2 Symphonic Fantasies (1895)
I. Meergruss (Sea Greeting) - 00:00
II. Seemorgen (Lake Morning) - 19:35
Das Hexenlied, Max von Schillings, H.-D. Karras Orgel, G. Renz Rezitation
Melodrama „Das Hexenlied" nach der Ballade von Ernst von Wildenbruch (1845-1909) ein Mitschnitt aus der Veranstaltung „Nachtgesichte" Wort und Musik in der Klosterkirche St. Maria, Riddagshausen. An der Führerorgel 1979, nach Heinrich Compenius d. J. 1610, Kantor Hans-Dieter Karras, Rezitation Georg Renz.
Max von Schillings (1868-1933) : Symphonic Prologue « Œdipus Rex » (1900)
Symphonic Prologue « Œdipus Rex », after Sophocles (1900)
Dir : Jürgen Bruns
Max von Schillings "Violin Concerto op 25" Ernö Rózsa
Violin Concerto op 25 by Max von Schillings
1. Movement "Allegro energico"
2. Movement "Andante con espressione"
3. Movement "Allegro con brio"
Ernö Rózsa, violin
Czech-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra Kosice
Alfred Walter, conductor
Mona Lisa - 1915
Mona Lisa, Op. 31 is a 1915 opera by the German composer Max von Schillings on a libretto by Beatrice von Dovsky. It was dedicated to the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Heidelberg, where the composer was awarded the title of professor.

Composition history

In the spring of 1913, Beatrice von Dovsky presented the libretto to the composer, who prepared a piano sketch during the following summer. He completed the opera during his eight-month military duty as a medical soldier in France and Belgium. The subject was very topical at the time, because the painting by Leonardo da Vinci had been stolen from the Louvre in 1911, and rediscovered in Florence in 1913.

Performance history
The opera was first performed on 26 September 1915 in the Hofoper in Stuttgart, with the composer conducting. In the same year it was also performed in Vienna (with Maria Jeritza in the title role), Berlin (Richard Strauss conducting the first two performances), Breslau, Hamburg and Budapest.

The North American premiere took place at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on 1 March 1923, Artur Bodanzky conducting, with Barbara Kemp, Michael Bohnen (both making their Met debut) and Curt Taucher in the principal roles.

Post war revivals at the Städtische Oper Berlin in 1953 and at the Badischen Staatstheater in Karlsruhe in 1983 were cut in length. It was revived complete at the Kiel Opera House in November 1994 and subsequently performed at the Wiener Volksoper in 1996.

Place: the house of Francesco del Giocondo in Florence
Time: present (prologue and epilogue), 1492 (Acts 1 and 2)


A couple is visiting a palace in Florence. A lay brother tells them the history of the house and its occupants, among them Fiordalisa Gherardini, Francesco Giocondo's wife painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

Act 1
Together with his guests, Francesco is celebrating the last night of the Carnival, while his wife, the beaufiful Mona Lisa, has gone out for confession. A procession led by the courtesan Ginevra passes, but the preacher Savonarola together with a chorus of monks interrupts the Carnival activities with a call to do penance. Ginevra is invited into the house, and explains to Lisa, just returning from confession, that sin is the salt of all delight.

Francesco explains to Pietro why he is consumed with jealousy. On the painting made by Leonardo, his wife smiles in a way that she has never smiled at him. She has always been reserved and serious towards him, and Francesco wants to solve the enigma of her smile.

Giovanni has come on behalf of the Pope to purchase a pearl form Francesco's famous collection, which is kept in a shrine specifically designed in a way that no one can breathe in it for longer than an hour. In order to preserve the pearls' brightness Lisa has to wear them every night.

Lisa and Giovanni know each other, they have been in love before she was unhappily married to Francesco. Giovanni persuades her to flee with him the next morning, when he will come back to collect the pearl. When Francesco returns, he sees the mysterious smile on his wife's face and suspects he has a rival. He systematically locks all exits, so Giovanni has no other choice than to hide himself in the pearls' shrine. Francesco plays a diabolical game with Lisa, pretending not to have noticed anything, intentionally misinterpreting her unrest and fear for Giovanni's life as love and desire. Lisa goes along with this after Francesco promises her to fulfil a wish. She succumbs to his desire, and then asks for the key to the shrine. Again, Francesco intentionally misinterprets this as her being jealous of the pearls, and to prove his "love" he throws the only key into the river.

Act 2
The next morning, Lisa can hardly remember what happened the night before. She blames herself for having done nothing to save Giovanni, hopes for a sign of life from the shrine, but in vain: Giovanni has suffocated. Lisa's stepdaughter Dianora enters, and gives her the key to the shrine she had found in her boat the night before. Francesco appears, irritated by his wife's self-control. When she presents him with the key, he assumes Giovanni has escaped. Lisa now insists on wearing the pearls, and with a smile she waits for the moment Francesco enters the shrine. She then locks the door behind him.

The lay brother's story comes to an end. The couple leave and the lay brother thinks he recognises Mona Lisa in the woman.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mona Lisa
Preludio de la ópera MONA LISA de Max von Schillings

Kiel Philarmonic Orchestra
Klauspeter Seibel

MONA LISA: Epilogo
MONA LISA de Max von Schillings

Epilogo: Das war...

Albert Bonemma (Ein Laienbruder)
Beate Bilandzija (Eine Frau)

Kiel Philarmonic Orchestra
Klauspeter Seibel

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