Thursday, May 29, 2008

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Today is the birth anniversary of Erich Wolfgang Korngold who was born in Czechoslovakia 111 years ago on this day. He was an amazing composer with a Piano Trio and Sonata for Violin and Piano completed by age 15. He would go on to compose operas, lieder, a Symphony, and concertos for both Piano and Violin. His opus 2 Sonata for Piano was championed by Artur Schnabel. He began composing for Hollywood at the request of Max Reinhardt in 1934 and in 1938 moved permanently due to the political changes in his homeland. His music was from the beginning the epitome of high romanticism and his film scores were some of the greatest for films like Anthony Adverse, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Prince and the Pauper, The Sea Hawk, and Deception. He won two academy awards for his scores but in the late forties returned to "classical" music with the creation of such works as his Violin Concerto (premiered by Jascha Heifetz) and the Symphony in F#. I find Korngold's music invigorating in its intense harmonies and vigorous melodies.

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