Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Biography

Born: 1897   Died: 1957   Period: 20th Century
Erich Wolfgang Korngold's career bridged astonishing gaps in history and music -- from the final years of Imperial Austria, when he was hailed as "a new Mozart," to Hollywood in the heyday of the studio system, to the darkened era of postwar Europe. In Vienna of the 1920s, his name evoked the best that engagingly melodic, tonal music had to offer in the concert hall or the opera house; in Hollywood he was synonymous with the swashbucklers of Read more Errol Flynn. Born in Brünn, in Moravia (now Brno, Czechoslovakia) he was the son of Julius Korngold, one of the most influential music critics in Vienna. Korngold was beating time with a spoon by the age of three, playing basic melodies at age 5, and composing at age 6. He was encouraged by Gustav Mahler to pursue his musical studies, and his teachers included Alexander Von Zemlinsky. He'd written a Piano Sonata in D minor and a ballet entitled The Snowman before he was 10, and at 13, he saw his second piano sonata premiered by Artur Schnabel. He wrote his first two operas, Der Ring des Polykrates and Violanta, in his teens, and in 1920, at 23, Korngold completed his most celebrated operatic work, Die tote Stadt; it was an immediate hit in Austria and Germany, and quickly entered the repertory of opera companies around the world.

The 1920s saw Korngold add theatrical music to his activities -- his adaptation of Johann Strauss' Eine Nacht in Venedig was a worldwide success, as was his Strauss pastiche, Waltzes in Vienna. In 1929, Korngold was commissioned by the producer Max Reinhardt to work on a new stage production of Die Fledermaus. Reinhardt was pleased with the results and impressed with Korngold's work; three years later, when Warner Bros. studios engaged Reinhardt to adapt his stage version of A Midsummer Night's Dream into a film, he engaged Korngold to arrange Felix Mendelssohn's music for the movie. The resulting film was a financial failure, but the studio was impressed with what Korngold had done with the music. He was offered a contract, which he accepted after some slight hesitation.

His first film score, for Captain Blood (1935), delighted both the studio's executives and millions of filmgoers -- Korngold's music added a richness to the sweeping tale of heroism and triumph over injustice that startled viewers with its inventiveness, adding an extra dimension to the drama, and excitement and beauty of the movie. Over the next two years, Korngold turned in dazzling musical scores for Anthony Adverse (1936), Green Pastures (1936), and The Prince and the Pauper (1937).

In late 1937, he returned to Vienna in hope of premiering a new operatic work, but the growing Nazi influence over politics and art made it impossible for Korngold and his family (all of whom were Jewish) to remain. In early 1938, he accepted a new contract offer from Warner Bros. and got himself and his family to America just before Germany annexed Austria. Korngold spent the next nine years in Hollywood among the movie colony's artistic elite, able to pick and choose his films and always doing superb work. Korngold turned in a dozen memorable scores that defined elegance in film music -- from costumed adventures like The Sea Hawk (1940) to serious drama such as Kings Row (1942).

Following the end of World War II, he returned to Austria and got a harsh reception from a populace resentful of his years in Hollywood, and derision from critics over his melodic, tonal music. Korngold lived his final years comfortably in California, in near complete artistic eclipse. Read less
The Film Music Of Erich Wolfgang Korngold / Gamba
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Chandos Movies  
Catalog: 10336   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-9 of 9 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7705395 Release Date: 05/24/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Alexander Borodin,  Bedrich Smetana,  Giovanni Bononcini  ... 
    Performer:  Esther Réthy,  Adele Kern,  Anton Dermota,  Elena Nikolaidi  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss,  Leopold Ludwig,  Rudolf Moralt,  Max Schönherr  ... 
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  • 2.
    10 Great Tenors
    Label: Membran International Gmbh   Catalog: 1203165 Release Date: 08/14/2007   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Ferruccio Tagliavini,  Mario Lanza,  Enrico Caruso,  Mario Del Monaco  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Constantin Callinicos,  Tomaso Benintende-Neglia,  Tullio Serafin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Orchestra,  MGM Studio Orchestra,  Milan Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    The Film Music Of Erich Wolfgang Korngold / Gamba
    Label: Chandos Movies   Catalog: 10336 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Conductor:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Richard Tauber Favourites Vol 1
    Label: Naxos Nostalgia   Catalog: 8120513 Release Date: 03/20/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Franz Lehár,  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Walter Jurmann  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tauber
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Franz Lehár,  Ernst Hauke,  Frank Collinson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    The Prima Voce Treasury Of Opera Vol 1
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1742 Release Date: 02/15/2000   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Franz Lehár  ... 
    Performer:  Eidé Noréna,  Conchita Supervia,  Tito Schipa,  Riccardo Stracciari  ... 
    Conductor:  Henri Défosse,  Angelo Albergoni,  Giorgio Polacco,  Nils Grevillius  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odeon-Künstler Orchestra,  Rome Opera Teatro Reale Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Jan Kiepura Volume 1
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 9976 Release Date: 11/23/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Frédéric Chopin,  Traditional,  N. Rutkowski  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Kiepura,  Otto Herz,  Wolfgang Rebner,  Urstein,
    Conductor:  Frieder Weissmann,  Robert Stolz,  Hans Swarowsky,  Werner Schmidt-Bölke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Odeon-Künstler Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Korngold: From The Operas / Loibner, Janowitz, Hoppe
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1032 Release Date: 08/23/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Performer:  Anton Dermota,  Alfred Poell,  Rosl Schwaiger,  Ilona Steingruber  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Gottfried Kassowitz,  Wilhelm Loibner,  Joseph Strobl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Adventures Of Robin Hood
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 8104 Release Date: 12/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Performer:  Basil Rathbone
    Conductor:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold
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  • 9.
    Prima Voce - Lotte Schone And Richard Tauber In Operetta
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7833 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Viktor Nessler,  Carl Zeller,  Karl Millöcker  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tauber,  Lotte Schöne
    Conductor:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Franz Lehár,  Ernst Hauke,  Anton Paulik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Odeon-Künstler Orchestra,  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Künstlertheater Orchestra  ... 
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