Franz Schalk (27 May 1863 – 3 September 1931) was an Austrian conductor. From 1918 to 1929 he was director of the Vienna State Opera, a post he held jointly with Richard Strauss from 1919 to 1924. Later, Schalk was involved in the establishment of the Salzburg Festival.
Schalk was born in Vienna, Austria, where he later studied under composer Anton Bruckner. From 1900 he was first kapellmeister of the Vienna Court Opera. Between 1904 and 1921 he was head of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Vienna. In 1918 he became director of the Vienna State Opera; however from 1919 he was co-director with Richard Strauss, and the well-known composer was "blatantly (though unofficially) the 'greater equal' of the pair". Tensions resulting from unclear division of responsibility between the two men eventually led to Strauss's resignation.
Schalk's most famous quote is "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."
Today Schalk is most famous for his work popularizing and revising the symphonies of his teacher Bruckner. He gave the premiere of Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 in 1894, but in a version much affected by cuts and changes, most of which are thought to have been made without Bruckner's approval. The ailing composer was too sick to attend the premiere. Schalk's version of the Fifth Symphony was the one chosen for first publication and was the only version heard by audiences for almost forty years.While many critics have attacked Schalk for his alterations to the original versions of Bruckner's works, others have pointed out that without his popularizing work Bruckner's music might have remained unknown. The conductor Leon Botstein is a prominent advocate of Schalk's versions of Bruckner's music. Schalk was also involved in the early publication of Mahler's Symphony No. 10.
Schalk gave the premiere of Richard Strauss's opera Die Frau ohne Schatten in 1919. Some of his work as a conductor has been preserved and is available on CD.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Leonore Overture no 3 in C major, Op. 72a
Date of Recording: 13.04.1928
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67
Date of Recording: 26, 28.09.1929
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral"
Date of Recording: 4, 11.04.1928
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93
Date of Recording: 12-13.04.1928
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Symphony no 8 in B minor, D 759 "Unfinished"
Date of Recording: 3, 6.12.1927
Berlin State Symphony Orchestra