Author Topic: Erich Wolfgang Korngold  (Read 28684 times)

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jlaurson

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #140 on: May 29, 2016, 05:39:53 AM »
Happy Birthday, Wolferl!

Latest on Forbes.com:
An Introduction To Erich Wolfgang Korngold

...It wasn’t that far from his Snowman to Korngold’s first works of artistic maturity – and the Sextet, op.10, premièred in Vienna just before the composers’ 20th birthday May 29th, 1917, already shows a composer in the fullest bloom of creative prowess. Think Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht or Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen and you get a fair idea of its perfectly developed chromatic romanticism. Add to that a touch of Viennese gaiety in the Intermezzo, and an Adagio that teases the ear with unfamiliar harmonies—not unlike the opening of Mozart’s “Dissonance Quartet” or Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata op.1—before offering up the notes that reel us back into familiar, lush territory...


http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/05/29/korngold_surprised-by-beauty/

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #141 on: May 29, 2016, 06:23:56 AM »
Excellent article, Jens  8)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #142 on: May 29, 2016, 07:35:50 AM »
I still am of the opinion that Korngold's Violin Concerto is his best work. I haven't quite warmed up to much else, although I do recall enjoying the Piano Trio quite a bit.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

jlaurson

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #143 on: May 29, 2016, 07:51:37 AM »
Excellent article, Jens  8)

Sarge

Thanks kindly. If you like this, you will love "Surprised by Beauty".   ;)

I still am of the opinion that Korngold's Violin Concerto is his best work. I haven't quite warmed up to much else, although I do recall enjoying the Piano Trio quite a bit.

I tend to agree. Or at least I wouldn't disagree. It's one of his great works... but there are others that serve different tastes better, I'd argue. Here, on ionarts, is an accompanying piece with favorite recordings and the VC is right up the first item.


The Sounds of Korngold

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2016/05/TheSoundsofKorngold.html
« Last Edit: May 29, 2016, 08:05:41 AM by jlaurson »

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #144 on: May 29, 2016, 08:03:44 AM »
Excellent article, Jens  8)

+1 - excellent article - I'll have to pull out my 10 discs or so of Korngold today!  Dave :)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #145 on: May 29, 2016, 09:40:40 AM »
Coincidentally was listening to his symphony (Storgards, Helsinki PO) earlier today. I like that work best of all.
Interesting new (reissue) release:

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #146 on: May 29, 2016, 10:15:08 AM »
Thanks kindly. If you like this, you will love "Surprised by Beauty".   ;)

There's a Kindle edition, yeah! I'll order it.

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"

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #147 on: May 29, 2016, 10:17:36 AM »
Coincidentally was listening to his symphony (Storgards, Helsinki PO) earlier today. I like that work best of all.
Interesting new (reissue) release:



That reissue includes my favorite performance of the Symphony...although Jens' pick (Welser-Möst) is sensational too, much faster in the first movement, more dramatic.

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"

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #148 on: May 29, 2016, 11:11:28 AM »
That reissue includes my favorite performance of the Symphony...although Jens' pick (Welser-Möst) is sensational too, much faster in the first movement, more dramatic.

Sarge
I rate this version very highly too Sarge, although I like Kempe's pioneering version as well.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Jo498

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #149 on: May 29, 2016, 10:27:35 PM »
The Sextet and Piano Quintet are certainly worthwhile for everyone liking very late romantic chamber stuff (e.g. Verklärte Nacht). I don't think I have ever heard the symphony and I am not enough into opera, but Die tote Stadt used to be quite popular and still is staged once in a while.
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #150 on: May 30, 2016, 11:21:17 PM »
Yeah, his chamber works are pretty good.
My favorite recording of the 2nd String Quartet in Eb, Op.26 is by the New World Quartet, recorded back in 1978 - issued on LP by Vox and currently on CD along with other new music from old world composers.



^ click to enlarge
The Aron Quartett, the Doric Quartet and the Flesch Quartet have recorded the string quartets more recently.



« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 01:14:29 AM by Scion7 »
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #151 on: May 29, 2017, 09:57:22 AM »
Happy Birthday, Wolferl!

Latest on Forbes.com:
An Introduction To Erich Wolfgang Korngold

...It wasn’t that far from his Snowman to Korngold’s first works of artistic maturity – and the Sextet, op.10, premièred in Vienna just before the composers’ 20th birthday May 29th, 1917, already shows a composer in the fullest bloom of creative prowess. Think Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht or Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen and you get a fair idea of its perfectly developed chromatic romanticism. Add to that a touch of Viennese gaiety in the Intermezzo, and an Adagio that teases the ear with unfamiliar harmonies—not unlike the opening of Mozart’s “Dissonance Quartet” or Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata op.1—before offering up the notes that reel us back into familiar, lush territory...


http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/05/29/korngold_surprised-by-beauty/


It's his birthday again! 120th, this time.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #152 on: May 29, 2017, 10:19:23 AM »
It's his birthday again! 120th, this time.
😀
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #153 on: May 29, 2017, 02:16:18 PM »
😀

Missed the birthday party...and it's too late (after 1a.m.) to celebrate now. Tomorrow, then, a belated celebration.

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"

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #154 on: June 10, 2017, 08:26:39 PM »
Playing the Suite for 2 violins, cello and piano (left hand), op. 23: It's quite quite good, an exceptional chamber piece. What a great discovery for my ears!! His symphony, Sursum Corda and the Violin concerto are other great favorites of mine. Having heard this, the most probable thing is there are other jewels in his chamber output.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 02:42:58 PM by SymphonicAddict »

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #155 on: June 07, 2018, 08:09:55 AM »
This is something I've long wanted to do, and of course it took several OTHER projects that I should be working on right now for me to finally do that, namely the cleaning, updating, and generally sprucing-up of the Recommended Recordings Sections of the Surprised By Beauty website.

Now I've tackled Ahmad Saygun & Erich Wolfgang Korngold:


Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Recommended Recordings


https://surprisedbybeautyorg.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/erich-wolfgang-korngold-recommended-recordings/




Offline Maestro267

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #156 on: June 08, 2018, 05:28:18 AM »
Oh, just as this thread shows up on the front page of Composer Discussion, I happen to be listening to the Sinfonietta in B major. A deceptive title for such a large-scale work, both in duration and in orchestral forces.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #157 on: June 09, 2018, 10:36:23 AM »
Oh, just as this thread shows up on the front page of Composer Discussion, I happen to be listening to the Sinfonietta in B major. A deceptive title for such a large-scale work, both in duration and in orchestral forces.

It is a proper symphony, the diminutive title is in conjunction to its sunny disposition and ebullient character. Also, I imagine, due to the fact that wunderkind Korngold was in his teens when he wrote it and wouldn't have wanted to take himself too seriously. It is, however, a seriously brilliant work, full of good - and clever! - humour, superb ideas, resplendent orchestration and tons of swagger. I wish it were performed more often.

Offline Cato

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold: 2 Articles on Korngold
« Reply #158 on: July 31, 2019, 04:04:59 AM »
Today's (July 31, 2019) has a full-page devoted to Erich Wolfgang because the Bard (college) Festival, thanks to conductor Leon Botstein, is offering an opera by Korngold, i.e. Das Wunder der Heliane!

The first article is by Barrymore Scherer:

Quote


Now that film music enjoys an unequivocal presence on contemporary orchestral programs, it’s no surprise that the Bard Music Festival, that bastion of imaginative programming, is marking its 30th anniversary season by turning to a figure somewhat unfamiliar as a “serious” composer: Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957). Korngold was arguably the pre-eminent film composer during Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” Yet, by the time he died, his work there during the 1930s and ’40s had effectively obliterated the exceptional stature he had achieved in Europe’s concert halls and opera houses.

The son of a powerful Viennese music critic, he was a child prodigy whose early compositions astounded leading figures of the time. In 1906, at age 9, he played his cantata “Gold” for Gustav Mahler, who pronounced him a genius. When Korngold was 14 his his Piano Sonata in E Major was championed throughout Europe by the great pianist Artur Schnabel, and he dedicated his “Schauspiel-Ouvertüre” (1911) to the eminent conductor Arthur Nikisch, who conducted its premiere that year in Leipzig.

Korngold found his personal idiom from the start, one rooted in the richly melodic late-Romantic language of the newborn century. It was the post-Wagnerian vernacular employed by Mahler, Richard Strauss and Rachmaninoff. And Korngold never felt the desire to alter what came naturally to him, especially as it so successfully answered his dramatic needs.

His operas earned critical and popular acclaim, climaxing with “Die tote Stadt” (“The Dead City”) in 1920 and “Das Wunder der Heliane” (“The Miracle of Heliane”) in 1927. During that period, Korngold also collaborated on several theatrical projects with the leading Viennese stage director Max Reinhardt, who brought him to Hollywood in 1934 to adapt Mendelssohn’s incidental music to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for Reinhardt’s epochal film of Shakespeare’s play. The success of this pioneering effort by Warner Bros. to popularize Shakespeare led to Korngold’s employment at the studio.

Starting with “Captain Blood” (1935), Korngold contributed mightily to perfecting the symphonic film score as an art form. With his considerable theatrical experience, he approached film music no differently than opera and symphonic music. Having essentially invented what became identified as the lush “Hollywood sound” decades before arriving there, he simply transferred his accustomed idiom to the new medium. He regarded his film scores as operas without singing—with Wagnerian-style leitmotifs for characters and a richly orchestrated symphonic continuity that moved the drama along while subtly underscoring its shifting emotions. Korngold intended them eventually to be played at concerts, like Beethoven’s “Egmont” music or Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” suite.

Nevertheless, while it was Korngold’s good fortune to arrive in Hollywood when he did, that he concentrated on film at a time when music critics accorded no serious consideration to such “commercial” work proved to be his tragedy. Indeed, by establishing himself in Hollywood, Korngold unwittingly struck a Faustian bargain that only later became evident.

Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938 cut short the transatlantic career he had been pursuing between the world wars and cost the Jewish Korngold his personal and professional ties with Vienna—as well as his home and property there. Following the war’s end, and after writing one of his last film scores—“Deception” (1946), from which he fashioned his Cello Concerto—he focused on composing straightforward concert works, including his Symphony in F-sharp (1947-52).

Naïvely hoping to resume his old life, he traveled back to Vienna in 1949, only to be crushed by dismissal of his music as ephemeral and out of touch with contemporary trends. Embittered and ill, yet faithful to his musical ideals, he died at 60 believing himself forgotten. And he was, until the 1970s, when revived interest in his film scores began to spread to his symphonic and chamber works.

Through performances, pre-concert talks and panel discussions, the Bard Festival will investigate the Korngold question by offering a comprehensive sampling of his music, including his early “Much Ado About Nothing” Suite (1918-19); the Piano Concerto in C-sharp, for the left hand (1923); the Piano Quintet in E (1921–22); the Symphony in F-sharp and “A Passover Psalm” (1941); excerpts from iconic film scores; as well as a special screening of “The Constant Nymph,” and a semi-staged production of his best-known opera, “Die tote Stadt.” Korngold’s work will be presented in the context of music by predecessors, contemporaries and successors ranging from Alexander von Zemlinsky, Franz Schmidt, Ernst Krenek and Paul Hindemith to such Broadway doyens as Jerome Kern and George Gershwin.

“The festival will try to show that the 20th century wasn’t only about Schoenberg, Bartók, Stravinsky, but about a continuous allegiance to tonality,” notes Leon Botstein, Bard Music Festival co-director. “Like Shostakovich, Strauss and Rachmaninoff, Korngold remained faithful to the traditions. Yet his music raises the unsettled debate over what meaning aesthetic beauty has in a world full of ugliness—must you break with the past or can you reconstruct your ties with it, as Korngold did?”


See:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/serious-works-from-a-hollywood-composer-11564518246?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

The second is a review of the opera by Heidi Waleson:


Quote


 Each summer, as part of its one-composer focus, Bard Summerscape exhumes an opera from the repertory graveyard. The Austrian-born Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), the subject of this year’s examination, is best known in the U.S. for his movie scores, whose symphonic lyricism swept Hollywood (he resettled there in the 1930s, after the Nazis invaded Austria), and for his crowd-pleasing Violin Concerto, given its premiere by Jascha Heifetz in 1947.

Korngold was a major star in Europe before he scored films like “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” A child prodigy, he attracted attention with a ballet at age 11, and his opera “Die tote Stadt” (1920) was an enormous hit, receiving multiple productions after its premiere in Germany. Bard will present “Die tote Stadt” in concert on Aug. 18, but its fully staged opera production, which opened on Friday, is the truly obscure “Das Wunder der Heliane” (“The Miracle of Heliane,” 1927).

With its weird, mystical story, “Heliane” was out of step with Weimar-era operatic fashion, since audiences were more interested in pieces with contemporary themes. The Bard production, directed by Christian Räth, tried to play down the opera’s heavy-handed, fairy-tale symbolism and religious aura in favor of the emotional journey of the heroine, with some success. However, “Heliane” still seemed less a buried treasure than an intriguing curiosity, worth hearing for its massive, Technicolor orchestration and the way that Korngold’s distinctive idiom recalls not just Strauss and Wagner, but also the clangorous fortissimos of Bartók and the rhapsodic lines of Puccini.

 Hans Müller-Einigen’s libretto is based on a play by Hans Kaltneker. Heliane, the only character with a name, is married to the despotic Ruler of an unhappy country. The Ruler has arrested and condemned to death the charismatic Stranger, who has tried to bring joy to the country’s downtrodden people. Heliane secretly visits the Stranger in prison, and to comfort him on the eve of his execution, she shows him her naked body. Her jealous husband, who has never himself gotten past what he calls her “icy innocence,” has her put on trial for adultery (the penalty is death). When the Stranger kills himself to protect her, she is ordered to prove her purity by raising him from the dead, which, indirectly, she does. The overarching theme is the power of love—the act of accepting her own erotic nature allows Heliane to finish the Stranger’s work and free the people. Unsurprisingly, she has to die for this to happen.

Led by Leon Botstein, the 80-member orchestra—complete with triple and quadruple winds, extra brass, two harps and multiple keyboards, including organ, harmonium and celesta—excelled in big statements. Other than the voluptuous eroticism of the encounter between the Stranger and Heliane, Act I was mostly muscular and noisy. However, the court scene of Act II had the dramatic urgency of Puccini. By Act III, the mystical trial, we were well into the realm of Wagnerian apotheosis, with ecstatic melodies enveloped in opulent harmonies.

The massed forces require powerful singers, and soprano Aušrine Stundyte was consistently impressive as Heliane, able to soar over the orchestra yet still maintain an affecting vulnerability, especially in the purity trial, when she sounded like a woman who wanted her lover back. Bass-baritone Alfred Walker clearly conveyed the vicious cruelty of the Ruler with his clipped, aggressive delivery. The Stranger is a challenging Heldentenor part, and Daniel Brenna acquitted himself with clarion distinction in the first two acts, but sounded weary after his resurrection in the third. As the Messenger, who is also the Ruler’s ex-lover, mezzo Jennifer Feinstein infused her performance with bile; tenor Joseph Demarest had a sweetly lyrical cameo moment as the Young Man, who speaks in defense of Heliane. The capable chorus captured the fickle nature of the crowd.

Designer Esther Bialas created an ingenious, if gloomy-looking, Rubik’s cube of a set—several translucent panels, with stairs behind them, that were rearranged throughout to create the various locations. The best was the courtroom, where the six bald judges, in red robes with flowing sleeves and giant ruffs, arrayed themselves forbiddingly on steep bleachers. Ms. Bialis also came up with a good solution for Heliane’s nakedness: a gauzy, semi-transparent garment that revealed just enough to make the point. However, neither the Stranger’s unflattering orange prison jumpsuit nor his resurrection outfit, which looked like plastic wrap, helped reinforce the character’s seductive appeal. Thomas C. Hase’s lighting also took the story’s dark environment a bit too literally: In Act I, it was sometimes difficult to see what was going on.

Mr. Räth’s directing emphasized the story’s human aspects—the Ruler’s festering anger at his wife, Heliane’s gradual awakening as she discovers that she actually loves the Stranger, and how the power of the state is arrayed against her. Catherine Galasso’s movement direction added texture, contrasting the rigid exercises of the guards with a flowing dream sequence during the radiant Act III prelude: A bevy of women, costumed, like Heliane, in the nakedness garment, danced with her, demonstrating the awakening of her true feelings. (They then put her into a straitjacket for the purity trial to come.) The transcendent music at the end of the opera suggests some kind of supernatural union of the two deceased lovers, but Mr. Räth left the dead Heliane alone on the stage at curtain, her “miracle” having cost her everything. So much for fairy tales.


See:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/das-wunder-der-heliane-review-love-sex-and-death-11564517199?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=2
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #159 on: July 31, 2019, 01:22:07 PM »
It’s great to see that Bard College is devoting a festival to Korngold’s music, unlike most orchestras/festivals who seem to do a Beethoven celebration every year. They’re programming many of Korngold’s major works, most of which are rarely programmed here in the states (with the notable exception of the Violin Concerto). I’ve always admired conductor Leon Botstein’s adventurous programming.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 07:20:51 PM by kyjo »
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