Author Topic: Erich Wolfgang Korngold  (Read 58331 times)

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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold: 2 Articles on Korngold
« Reply #160 on: July 31, 2019, 02:38:15 PM »
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!

Thanks, Cato, for the articles. I plan to listen to Das Wunder der Heliane tomorrow.

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 Cato

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #161 on: July 31, 2019, 04:30:32 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.

5 or 6 years ago (Tempus fugit!!!) Leon Botstein produced via the Bard Festival an uncut performance of Sergei Taneyev's great opera The Oresteia (q.v.)

Thanks, Cato, for the articles. I plan to listen to Das Wunder der Heliane tomorrow.

Sarge

Then the few minutes to cut and paste everything were worth it!   0:)  I hope to hear some of it tomorrow as well!
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #162 on: August 04, 2019, 10:23:26 PM »
 I see Chandos are releasing another version of the Symphony in SACD with John Wilson conducting the "Sinfonia of London" which I assume is near enough "The John Wilson Orchestra" plus some other session players.  I seem to remember that name from some film score reconstructions as well as the famous Barbirolli/English String Music recording.  Not sure I need another version of the Symphony and I'm not Wilson's biggest fan...  I did some work in an orchestra with him a few times some years ago and he was fussy without being enlightening.  That annoying type of person - a non-string player who then tells string players how to play.  By all means tell me what you want but leave the how to those who know!

Amongst the many/nearly all of the available versions I know this one is surprisingly good.... sadly only available as a cheap but low bit rate download here (why write a symphony in F sharp major unless you dislike string players!!);



   
Korngold : Sinfonia Op.40 & Captain Blood [Excerpts]
Pedro Halffter y la Orchestra Filarmonica de Gran Canaria
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 02:44:52 AM by Roasted Swan »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #163 on: August 05, 2019, 12:49:40 AM »
I see Chandos are releasing another version of the Symphony in SACD with John Wilson conducting the "Sinfonia of London" which I assume is near enough "The John Wilson Orchestra" plus some other session players.  I seem to remember that name from some film score reconstructions as well as the famous Barbirolli/English String Music recording.  Not sure I need another version of the Symphony and I'm not Wilson's biggest fan...  I did some work in an orchestra with him a few times some years ago and he was fussy without being enlightening.  That annoying type of person - a non-string player who then tells string players how to play.  By all means tell me what you want but leave the how to those who know!
Interesting about the new recording and I'm not sure that I need another recording of the work. Sorry to hear that about Wilson. On the whole I've enjoyed his Copland recordings. I'm happy to stick with Previn's fine recording of the Symphony for now.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 12:51:58 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #164 on: August 05, 2019, 04:07:29 AM »
Interesting about the new recording and I'm not sure that I need another recording of the work. Sorry to hear that about Wilson. On the whole I've enjoyed his Copland recordings. I'm happy to stick with Previn's fine recording of the Symphony for now.

I might be eating my own words here...... just listened to the brief excerpts of this new recording on the Chandos website.  Tempi are MUCH faster than I'm used to - a full 8 minutes quicker than Previn for example making the work 44ish minutes instead of 52.  The scherzo sounds incredibly tight and brilliant.  I see Andrew Haveron is the leader as indeed he is for "The John Wilson Orchestra" so I think my guess above about the line-up of the band is right.  Not sure how this approach will work across the whole work but I must admit I'm tempted and intrigued!

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #165 on: August 05, 2019, 05:16:14 AM »
I might be eating my own words here...... just listened to the brief excerpts of this new recording on the Chandos website.  Tempi are MUCH faster than I'm used to[...] I must admit I'm tempted and intrigued!

Even faster than W-M....intriguing indeed.

Korngold Symphony F sharp major
                                     I         II         III         IV        Total
Welser-Möst            12:50    9:48    14:45    10:11    47:34
Kempe                     14:12    9:14    15:04    10:23    48:53
Albrecht                   14:50    9:56    15:20    10:25    50.31 
Downes                   14:14   10:14   16:28    10:24    51:20
Previn                      15:55   10:32   16:09    10:31    53:07
Storgards                15:55   11:03   15:36    11:11    53:48


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 #166 on: August 05, 2019, 05:20:14 AM »
I'm happy to stick with Previn's fine recording of the Symphony for now.

Of the six versions I own, Previn's my desert island pick.

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 Roasted Swan

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #167 on: August 05, 2019, 12:58:43 PM »
Even faster than W-M....intriguing indeed.

Korngold Symphony F sharp major
                                     I         II         III         IV        Total
Welser-Möst            12:50    9:48    14:45    10:11    47:34
Kempe                     14:12    9:14    15:04    10:23    48:53
Albrecht                   14:50    9:56    15:20    10:25    50.31 
Downes                   14:14   10:14   16:28    10:24    51:20
Previn                      15:55   10:32   16:09    10:31    53:07
Storgards                15:55   11:03   15:36    11:11    53:48


Sarge

Wilson                    12:37     8:27    13:45    9:54        44:43
Halffter                   15:38    10:54   17:14    11:02      54:48

Yer pays yer money yer takes yer choice.......!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #168 on: August 05, 2019, 09:58:27 PM »
I might be eating my own words here...... just listened to the brief excerpts of this new recording on the Chandos website.  Tempi are MUCH faster than I'm used to - a full 8 minutes quicker than Previn for example making the work 44ish minutes instead of 52.  The scherzo sounds incredibly tight and brilliant.  I see Andrew Haveron is the leader as indeed he is for "The John Wilson Orchestra" so I think my guess above about the line-up of the band is right.  Not sure how this approach will work across the whole work but I must admit I'm tempted and intrigued!
Yes, it's quite tempting I must agree. I'm glad that Sarge thinks highly of the Previn as well. I must own about six versions of the symphony on CD including the Kempe, which was my LP introduction to the symphony on RCA Gold Seal I think. That was a very special pioneering recording.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 10:16:58 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Andy D.

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #169 on: August 06, 2019, 12:09:27 AM »
I started listening to guys like Steiner and Korngold after I learned my favorite movie score composer (Alfred Newman) was somewhat influenced by them both.

The Sea Hawk and Robin Hood are essential imo.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #170 on: August 09, 2019, 01:37:05 AM »
I succumbed..... and am probably having to eat my words re John Wilson at least as far as this recording of the Korngold Symphony is concerned.

As ever, I think a great work can be effectively interpreted in differing but valid ways.  For me people like Kempe/Previn/Halffter see it as an "end of era" work so the power of their performances lie in the nostalgia, the sadness of time past and lost.  This might seem like a slightly simplified view, but it strikes me that Wilson emphasises the elements that link this late score to the early brilliant film scores.  This does result in tempi that are always at the faster end of the performance spectrum but in this he is helped by simply stunning playing from the orchestra - the more I hear it the more I am certain its his own hand-picked "John Wilson Orchestra" showing off just how virtuosic they are.  Chandos - certainly on the evidence of the Studio Master download I bought - provide one of their finest recent recordings; a perfect balance of detail, warmth and dynamic range. 

The least successful movement is definitely the slow/3rd movement.  This is where weariness and sorrow must surely triumph and although beautifully played here I think Wilson misses that quality.  Another bonus are the two fillers - easily the best/most brilliant/joyful versions of the "little" Theme & Variations and Straussiana.  Both benefit from the sheer virtuosity of the orchestra and the joie de vivre of the interpretations.

Sorry to bring added pain to your pockets..... but admirers of this composer/these works will need to hear this disc.........


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #171 on: August 09, 2019, 03:25:25 AM »
I succumbed..... and am probably having to eat my words re John Wilson at least as far as this recording of the Korngold Symphony is concerned.

As ever, I think a great work can be effectively interpreted in differing but valid ways.  For me people like Kempe/Previn/Halffter see it as an "end of era" work so the power of their performances lie in the nostalgia, the sadness of time past and lost.  This might seem like a slightly simplified view, but it strikes me that Wilson emphasises the elements that link this late score to the early brilliant film scores.  This does result in tempi that are always at the faster end of the performance spectrum but in this he is helped by simply stunning playing from the orchestra - the more I hear it the more I am certain its his own hand-picked "John Wilson Orchestra" showing off just how virtuosic they are.  Chandos - certainly on the evidence of the Studio Master download I bought - provide one of their finest recent recordings; a perfect balance of detail, warmth and dynamic range. 

The least successful movement is definitely the slow/3rd movement.  This is where weariness and sorrow must surely triumph and although beautifully played here I think Wilson misses that quality.  Another bonus are the two fillers - easily the best/most brilliant/joyful versions of the "little" Theme & Variations and Straussiana.  Both benefit from the sheer virtuosity of the orchestra and the joie de vivre of the interpretations.

Sorry to bring added pain to your pockets..... but admirers of this composer/these works will need to hear this disc.........
Interesting review. The CD doesn't come out until September so I might put it down for Christmas. However, your comment about the slow movement slightly puts me off.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #172 on: September 02, 2019, 02:34:29 PM »


Yesterday I discovered the magnificent score for Kings Row, especifically the Part 1 from the CD above. Holy God! How beautiful this is! The incredibly and memorably epic theme (some have said that John Williams reworked that melody into the Main Title music from Star Wars) from the beginning and how it is taken throughout the music is just gorgeous, struck me powerfully. The gift of melody and orchestration Korngold had is palpably perceived. It's a wallow, so much so it sounds kitsch at times, but frankly I don't care for it.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #173 on: September 03, 2019, 12:01:12 PM »


Yesterday I discovered the magnificent score for Kings Row, especifically the Part 1 from the CD above. Holy God! How beautiful this is! The incredibly and memorably epic theme (some have said that John Williams reworked that melody into the Main Title music from Star Wars) from the beginning and how it is taken throughout the music is just gorgeous, struck me powerfully. The gift of melody and orchestration Korngold had is palpably perceived. It's a wallow, so much so it sounds kitsch at times, but frankly I don't care for it.

I'm confused. Your review was mostly positive up until the "I don't care for it." So, do you like it or not?

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"

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #174 on: September 03, 2019, 02:06:34 PM »
I'm confused. Your review was mostly positive up until the "I don't care for it." So, do you like it or not?

Sarge

Oh, sorry about the confusions. Yes, I DO like it. What I meant is that I don't care if it sounds kitsch or a bit overblown at times. The music is so colourful and inspiring.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #175 on: September 04, 2019, 09:40:54 AM »
Oh, sorry about the confusions. Yes, I DO like it. What I meant is that I don't care if it sounds kitsch or a bit overblown at times. The music is so colourful and inspiring.

I agree its a wonderful soundtrack - never seen the film but always wanted to see Ronald Regan waking up - quite literally - legless

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #176 on: September 04, 2019, 02:34:22 PM »
Oh, sorry about the confusions. Yes, I DO like it. What I meant is that I don't care if it sounds kitsch or a bit overblown at times. The music is so colourful and inspiring.

Excellent. I'm listening to it now on YouTube.

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 Wanderer

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #177 on: December 03, 2019, 03:26:19 AM »
This Tuesday at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich:


Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Die tote Stadt

Paul: Jonas Kaufmann
Marietta/Die Erscheinung Mariens: Marlis Petersen
Frank/Fritz: Andrzej Filonczyk
Brigitta: Jennifer Johnston
Juliette: Mirjam Mesak
Lucienne: Corinna Scheurle
Gaston/Victorin: Manuel Günther
Graf Albert: Dean Power

Kinderchor der Bayerischen Staatsoper
Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper
Bayerisches Staatsorchester
Kirill Petrenko

Kaufmann and Petersen were both in superlative form, incandescent from start to finish, both vocally and theatrically. Second roles were very nicely-sung, with several moments of excellent singing (with the exception of Pierrot’s Lied, which was sung – and conducted – rather matter-of-factly, a missed opportunity).

The night was marred, unfortunately, by Petrenko’s willfully interventionist, prosaic conducting, which denied Korngold’s multi-layered, prismatic orchestral score its full impact – or, at times, any impact at all. It was also, in its misguided willfulness, quite inconsistent; while the first and parts of the third act were conducted with inexcusable disregard for the score and consequently ruined, the second act was conducted without shenanigans, with panache, imagination and gusto (following Korngold’s instructions and dynamics) to brilliant effect, and about 1/3 of the third act as well – thankfully the most poignant parts. The remaining 1/3 of the third act was an uncomfortable mixture of Korngold and Petrenko trying to re-orchestrate on the spot, with Korngold mostly winning. Petrenko’s gestures, most of the evening, consisted in silencing rather that coaxing colours, rhythms and melody from his orchestra, which played brilliantly, as much as their conductor allowed. At one point, his extreme and inconsistent silencing of the orchestra (distorting not only orchestral colour, but also harmonic contour; Korngold spreads chords throughout the orchestra and ruining the quite superlatively thought-out intraorchestral dynamics made for some cringing moments) made both Kaufmann and Petersen to start their singing on the wrong note – the only wrong notes of the evening.

Petrenko’s misunderstanding of the score was further painfully apparent as the undercurrent rhythmic arc of the work was either ignored or not perceived at all, the overarching ebb and flow of the music was mostly absent and the surface jagged rhythms were left hanging and at times unsupported, grossly accentuated, forlorn, denied their connection to the work’s rhythmic and melodic flow. In short, the conductor appeared, apart from arrogantly interventionist, rather unprepared to tackle the score’s complexities and it seemed like certain parts were rehearsed much more than others to painfully obvious effect to those familiar with the music.

However, this was not the most obvious debacle of the evening’s conducting. The most disturbing and inexcusable trait of Petrenko was, as mentioned, his decision to mostly efface the orchestra for significant amounts of time, to reduce it to a whisper, to treat it like a disposable continuo in a recitative, to deny it its role in the score and to rob Korngold’s soundscape of colour and nuance; in such times, the magisterial interconnection between orchestra and voices was simply lost. Whenever that happened, the effect was jarring – considering that the singers did not have any need for reduced orchestral volume in order to be heard. In fact, the singing was at least two degrees of magnitude louder than the orchestra whenever this happened, to an incongruous effect.

The production was very insightful and poignant, without needless mannerisms and with some acute psychological insights. In this production, Paul’s wife Marie is not just dead, but dead of cancer; his visions of her are flashbacks of their last moments together when she dies in his arms – these are all actually acted by Kaufmann and Petersen to powerful effect (instead of being projected on a screen like some older productions did, a rather underwhelming solution). The set consists of several rooms on a revolving base, which come in and out of center stage as needed.

All in all, a rewarding, but mixed evening. Magnificent singing, a splendid production, but very inconsistent conducting by Petrenko, half brilliant, half atrocious. This is the second time I left unimpressed by Petrenko’s work on the pit (first one was Fidelio in January where, to a much lesser degree, he managed to make Beethoven’s last paean sound rather rushed and tedious, a feat in itself). He seemed embarrassed by Korngold’s score and tried very hard to manipulate it to something unrecognizable – a cardinal sin that cannot be excused under any circumstances. He is clever enough to perceive that when there are keyboard instruments (which cannot be ppppp’ed to oblivion)  in the soundscape (Korngold calls for three, piano, harmonium and celesta, all judiciously used to brilliant effect), such an approach would be exposed for the fraud it is even to an untrained ear and so those sections of the music were mostly spared any manipulation and shined; however, his approach to much of the rest of the score was disgraceful. The orchestral interludes, second act and most of the third act were conducted with panache, acute dramatic understanding and brilliant colours, but, elsewhere in the score, whenever someone was singing he reverted to a timid accompanist’s mode. As far as I’m concerned, he can’t leave for Berlin fast enough (I’d love to see him try to impose such misguided ideas to the Berliners) and for the love of Bach, if he intends to keep this up, someone keep him away from the opera house.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #178 on: December 03, 2019, 03:37:42 AM »
As far as I’m concerned, he can’t leave for Berlin fast enough (I’d love to see him try to impose such misguided ideas to the Berliners) and for the love of Bach, if he intends to keep this up, someone keep him away from the opera house.

I wasn't at that performance, which might well have been a horror. But I was at plenty KP-led performances in Munich (including his revelatory first: Jenufa) and Bayreuth + concert performances ins Vienna (and I know enough musicians in the orchestra and how they play for him) to know that that's a very lonely opinion, indeed.

One ruined Tote Stadt should not have you close your door on a conductor who can make any orchestra play more willing and more detailed and more nuanced than any other conductor I know of. Not all that he touches is gold and sometimes he gets praised over the moon for performances that were "only" very good, at best (the Castorf Ring, for example), but he's better than anyone before or after him at the bavarian state opera.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
« Reply #179 on: December 03, 2019, 04:06:00 AM »
I wasn't at that performance, which might well have been a horror. But I was at plenty KP-led performances in Munich (including his revelatory first: Jenufa) and Bayreuth + concert performances ins Vienna (and I know enough musicians in the orchestra and how they play for him) to know that that's a very lonely opinion, indeed.

One ruined Tote Stadt should not have you close your door on a conductor who can make any orchestra play more willing and more detailed and more nuanced than any other conductor I know of. Not all that he touches is gold and sometimes he gets praised over the moon for performances that were "only" very good, at best (the Castorf Ring, for example), but he's better than anyone before or after him at the bavarian state opera.

Note the qualifier: "if he intends to keep this up".  ;)
I, as well, think that he has extraordinary qualities, which were present during the evening in intermittent fashion, but also in copious amounts whenever he chose to reveal them (for instance, his way with the orchestral interludes was breathtaking). This made the soulless mess he tried to turn Korngold's score into during other parts of the evening even more aggravating. It seems to me that in opera he's entering a dangerous phase in which all those lauds of him being a "singer's conductor" result in him turning more and more into grotesque mannerisms regarding orchestral balance in order to "facilitate" singers and justify the credential. I hope he has more sense than making it a habit resorting to this kind of tasteless hyperbole and that it's simply Korngold he was unable to connect with. However, given the tendencies, it might be a good idea for him to stick to orchestral music for a while. I expect great things in Berlin, unless he has any similar misguided ideas for them, too.