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Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Born: 29th May 1897, Margraviate of Moravia

Died: 29th November 1957, Los Angeles, U.S.A

Nationality: Austrian

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was an Austrian-born American composer and conductor. A child prodigy, he became one of the most important and influential composers in Hollywood history. He was a noted pianist and composer of classical music, along with music for Hollywood films, and the first composer of international stature to write Hollywood scores.

When he was 11, his ballet Der Schneemann (The Snowman), became a sensation in Vienna, followed by his Second Piano Sonata which he wrote at age 13, played throughout Europe by Artur Schnabel. His one-act operas Violanta and Der Ring des Polykrates were premiered in Munich in 1916, conducted by Bruno Walter. At 23, his opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) premiered in Hamburg and Cologne.

Further Reading: Korngold

Presto Music Classical Podcast, Episode 30: Music from the Golden Age of Hollywood with John Wilson

James is joined by conductor John Wilson for a look back at some of his recordings with Sinfonia of London, followed by an in-depth chat about their latest album of Golden Age film music, Hollywood Soundstage.

Recording of the Week, Korngold's Die tote Stadt from Munich

Jonas Kaufmann and Marlis Petersen both thrive under the camera's close scrutiny in Korngold's early opera about a volatile widower who attempts to refashion a new love-interest in his late wife's image.

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