Author Topic: Korngold's Cornucopia!  (Read 5428 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Korngold's Cornucopia!
« on: February 26, 2010, 02:52:49 PM »
No Korngold thread as far as I can see, although I suppose there was discussion in the movie music thread. I'm aware of the criticism of Korngold's non-movie music; 'Hollywood Schmaltz' - 'more corn than gold' etc.  However, I really like his epic Symphony, in memory of F D Roosevelt (1954). It's kind of Rachmaninov meets Mahler, but it has one of the best openings of a symphony known to me and a very powerfully brooding slow movement which (just about) avoids sentimentality.  Altogether, it is a memorable work which I often play. I have about five different versions, of which Previn's on DGG is my favourite - although I have a soft spot for the Rudolf Kempe version on Varese Sarabande - my introduction to this work on an old RCA Gold Seal LP.  I also like the 'Cello Concerto' (from 'Deception') which says a lot in c 11 minutes. His operas are highly rated but opera has always been a bit of a blind spot for me.  The Violin Concerto is probably his best known concert work.

Any views on Korngold?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 06:51:24 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2010, 03:03:41 PM »
I'm aware of the criticism of Korngold's non-movie music;

For that matter, his film music stinks just as badly.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2010, 03:10:44 PM »
For that matter, his film music stinks just as badly.
Oh, I don't agree - I think 'The Prince and the Pauper' and 'Elizabeth and Essex' etc are fine,  scores. Thanks for the reply anyway!
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Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2010, 04:09:01 PM »
I love his music, it has an entrancing quality, and his sense of orchestral coour is impeccable. Favourites include his early Sinfonietta, his Piano Concerto, the opera Das Wunder der Heliane, his Symphonic Serenade for string orchestra, the Symphonic Overture Sursum Corda, and his late Symphony in F sharp.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Scarpia

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2010, 05:12:51 PM »
I find the most noteworthy thing about Korngold to be his opulent orchestration.  I last listened to the big symphony in a recording by Philadelphia conducted by "Frankly Worse-than-Most" and was not too impressed.  But I do have another recording of the same piece that I should give a spin.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2010, 05:20:54 PM »
Oh, I don't agree - I think 'The Prince and the Pauper' and 'Elizabeth and Essex' etc are fine,  scores. Thanks for the reply anyway!

Oh, I think that Josquin is just being his ole contrary self -  ;) ;D

Personally, I also enjoy Korngold's film music, esp. those early flicks w/ Errol Flynn, like Robin Hood & Captain Blood (and so many others!) -  :D

I've also started to collect his non-film music, and so far have his String Quartets/Sextet (Flesch on Brilliant; 2 CDs), Trio/Suite (Trio Parnassus on MDG), and Violin Concerto (Naxos w/ the Goldmark VC) - plan to purchase more!  :)

So, looking forward to other comments and recommendations!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 05:51:02 PM by SonicMan »

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2010, 05:49:28 PM »
I'm a Korngold fan in the making, and will follow this thread with interest. I am not fully familiar with anything other than his operas at the moment, but everything else that I have heard is extremely fine (interesting how his contemporary EJ Moeran also composed one each of a very notable symphony and sinfonietta as well).

Of the operas, while Das Wunder der Heliane is musically richer, I prefer Die tote Stadt for having a more compelling (and slightly less overtly silly - although it's still very much of its time and place) plotline. It's wonderfully atmospheric, but slightly less outright hedonistic than Heliane's hyper-Romanticism. I must admit, the characters are not developed or believable on the level of the great opera composers, but it's still fine. I can highly recommend the following DVD (although people allergic to Eurotrash please avoid - though I find the production very well done):


(Click for Amazon link)
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Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2010, 06:07:44 PM »
like Robin Hood & Captain Blood (and so many others!) -  :D

I don't remember a whole lot from Robin Hood, but Captain Blood was a total bore, the only high light being when he borrows from Liszt. In retrospective, those films were pretty bad all around and Errol Flynn couldn't act his way out of a paper bag (Olivia de Havilland wasn't that great either, but she wasn't anywhere near as bad. I actually enjoyed her screen time). They are clean enough to be enjoyable in their own way, but sometimes the various flaws are hard to overcome.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2010, 06:27:33 PM »
I don't remember a whole lot from Robin Hood, but Captain Blood was a total bore, the only high light being when he borrows from Liszt. In retrospective, those films were pretty bad all around and Errol Flynn couldn't act his way out of a paper bag (Olivia de Havilland wasn't that great either, but she wasn't anywhere near as bad. I actually enjoyed her screen time). They are clean enough to be enjoyable in their own way, but sometimes the various flaws are hard to overcome.

Well, two of my favorite (probably because the 2 actors were young, esp. Olivia) films of the era & genre - as usual you remain of the opposite opinion,  and likely in a corner pretty much alone since I'm sure many of us enjoy these films and the music -  :D  But, as always your opinions are welcomed and enjoyed - Dave
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 08:28:54 PM by SonicMan »

Scarpia

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2010, 08:14:34 PM »
I'm a Korngold fan in the making, and will follow this thread with interest. I am not fully familiar with anything other than his operas at the moment, but everything else that I have heard is extremely fine (interesting how his contemporary EJ Moeran also composed one each of a very notable symphony and sinfonietta as well).

Of the operas, while Das Wunder der Heliane is musically richer, I prefer Die tote Stadt for having a more compelling (and slightly less overtly silly - although it's still very much of its time and place) plotline. It's wonderfully atmospheric, but slightly less outright hedonistic than Heliane's hyper-Romanticism. I must admit, the characters are not developed or believable on the level of the great opera composers, but it's still fine. I can highly recommend the following DVD (although people allergic to Eurotrash please avoid - though I find the production very well done):


(Click for Amazon link)

I did enjoy that DVD.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2010, 11:43:28 PM »
I find the most noteworthy thing about Korngold to be his opulent orchestration.  I last listened to the big symphony in a recording by Philadelphia conducted by "Frankly Worse-than-Most" and was not too impressed.  But I do have another recording of the same piece that I should give a spin.

Yes, I have that recording too and it is not one that I often play (the same applies to Werner Andreas Albert on CPO which sounds underpowered). Previn with the LSO on DGG, De Priest with the Oregon SO on Delos  and the old Kempe with his Munich band on Varese Sarabande are the best I think.  Oh, I forgot Edward Downes on Chandos - that is a great version (now at budget price) and a fine tribute to the late conductor.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 11:47:17 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2010, 11:57:32 PM »
Until the title is changed to Korngolds Cornucopia or something similarly ridiculous I don't expect the thread to attract much attention.

I do like Korngold, the symphony is one of the last major utterances in the Brucknerian tradition, the violin concerto sweet but delicious, and the Suite as played by Fleischer, Laredo, Silverstein and Ma very moving.

Offline Dax

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2010, 12:48:44 AM »
For that matter, his film music stinks just as badly.

seems a somewhat joyless contribution. Perhaps you could offer a post setting out the reasons for your apparent hatred of Korngold's music?

Here's a joyful contribution - the left hand piano concerto which has one of the preposterously joyful endings in music.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/j8stqt

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2010, 05:00:07 AM »
I'm puzzled by the negative comments directed towards Welser-Möst's brilliant recording of the symphony. I love it but was beginning to doubt my critical faculties  ;D  I checked a few reviews.

Gramophone says: "In the case of the Symphony we now have four to consider, though in fact the only serious rival for this newcomer is Sir Edward Downes and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra's superb account on Chandos. For me that recording seemed pretty unassailable but I have to admit that Welser-Möst and the Philadelphia Orchestra (as one would expect from such a team) make exceptionally strong contenders."

Complete review here

ClassicsToday says (in a 10/9 review): "Here's a no-brainer--the best recording of Erich Korngold's wonderful Symphony in F-sharp... the real star of this show is Franz Welser-Möst, who not only reveals himself sensitive to every cinematic detail of the orchestration...but who also understands how to hold the piece together symphonically. This means urgent tempos in the outer movements, and more importantly, accurate, tight rhythm. There's no way he's going to let this music degenerate into Hollywood mush."

Complete review here

You don't have to agree with them (or me) but I'm relieved others heard what I heard  8)  I own Downes too; the two recordings complement each other quite nicely: Welser-Möst sounding the most "modern" and uncompromising; Downes better at bringing out the sentiment. I'd like to hear the Previn but it's oop. Have to track down a used copy.

Sarge
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 05:08:52 AM by Sergeant Rock »
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Offline Bogey

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2010, 06:55:08 AM »
No Korngold thread as far as I can see, although I suppose there was discussion in the movie music thread.

This may add to your thread: :)

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,316.msg5234.html#msg5234
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2010, 07:31:33 AM »
Well, the discs below would 'fill-out' my Korngold non-film collection quite well w/ just a few repeats (i.e. violin concerto & piano trio) - the EMI twofer has the Symphony that Sarge & Jens seem to enjoy!  And the price is right! Comments please?  :D

 

snyprrr

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2010, 08:03:29 AM »
, and so far have his String Quartets/Sextet (Flesch on Brilliant; 2 CDs),

You knew this was coming, haha.

I have SQ No.2 on Vox. It is the Hollywood SQ. Nos. 1/3 are supposed to be more of the Pfitzner/Schmidt/Reger camp of totally overheated giant monster SQs. How are they (+Sextet)?

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2010, 08:45:43 AM »
You knew this was coming, haha.

I have SQ No.2 on Vox. It is the Hollywood SQ. Nos. 1/3 are supposed to be more of the Pfitzner/Schmidt/Reger camp of totally overheated giant monster SQs. How are they (+Sextet)?

There's a new recording of the quartets coupled with the Piano Quinrtet Op.15 on CPO played by the Aron Quartet. Costs four to five times as much as the Brilliant but possibly worth it. Has anyone heard both the Flesch and the Aron or seen a comparative review?

Sarge
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 08:50:07 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2010, 10:35:50 AM »
Sarge & Snyprrr - as mentioned, I own the Brilliant 2-CD set, and have 'eyed' the one on CPO but have not searched out a review - however, I just finished listening to both discs w/ the Flesch Quartet.

The Sextet is an early work (composed by Korngold at 17 y/o and labeled Op. 10, 1914/15) - late romantic in style a la Brahms; rather dense and heavy at times w/o the melodic invention that would be seen in the later chamber works and in his film music - probably the least interesting piece on the two discs.

The three String Quartets were composed over a period of 21 yrs (No. 1, Op. 16 in 1924; No. 2, Op. 26 in 1934 about the time of his immigration to Hollywood, pre-film music; and No. 3, Op. 34 in 1945); each of these works is different.  SQ No. 1 is post-romantic w/ a hand into the 20th century (some Schoenberg influence?), occasionally dissonant (but not atonal) and w/ some lovely interjected melodic creations.  SQ No. 2 is considered a Viennese piece according to the liner notes (well done by Brendan Carroll who is the author of a bio on Korngold) - this work is quite accessible harking back to yesteryear and even w/ some waltz themes (well who can blame him - a Jew & Hitler rising to power - he left Europe about the same time).  No. 3 is probably the simplest and easiest on the ears w/ the use of some of his music themes.

Bottom line - I believe that a recording of his SQs is certainly worth owning if you're a Korngold fan - is this set the one?  Not sure - I feel the performances are quite satisfactory and the recording excellent (released originally on ASV).  For some 'professional' comments, check HERE, and just scroll down to the ASV covers.  I'm certainly interested in comments on the CPO recordings - could easily take the quintet over the sextet - Dave  :D
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 03:28:39 PM by SonicMan »

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Korngold's Cornucopia!
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2010, 01:02:42 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts, Dave. I put the CPO in the basket but haven't pulled the trigger yet. The price difference between it and the Brilliant gives me pause  ;D

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"