Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) composed some of the finest Hollywood film scores of the 1930s and 40s, including The Adventures of Robin Hood and Anthony Adverse (he won Oscars for both) and Kings Row. But before Hollywood, Korngold was a young composer of distinction in his native Austria. Indeed, he was aged only 11 when he composed the music for the ballet Der Schneemann (The Snow Man) which was performed at the Vienna Court Opera in 1910 (it was orchestrated by his teacher, Alexander Zemlinsky). His other works for the stage include the opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City), a weird and wonderful work about grief, obsession and dreams. Korngold was lured to the United States by celebrated Austrian director Max Reinhardt for his 1934 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Korngold, who was Jewish, remained in America – a wise move given the Anschluss in 1938 and the anti-Semitic pogroms which followed. Among Korngold’s music for the concert hall is the Violin Concerto, which was premièred by Jascha Heifetz in 1947. A lush and tuneful work, it makes use of themes from some of Korngold’s film scores.
© Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra