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Erich Korngold

Austro-Hungarian Composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold Died in 1957

Austro-Hungarian composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold died on this day in 1957 – aged 62


Erich Korngold was born in Brünn, Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Brno, Czech Republic, into a musical family. He showed exceptional musical talent at an early age, starting composition at age 7. He finished his first ballet "Der Schneeman" (The Snowman) at the age of 11.

Korngold played his cantata "Gold" for Gustav Mahler in 1909; Mahler later called him a "musical genius" and recommended he study with composer Alexander von Zemlinsky.

Richard Strauss also spoke highly of the composer, and along with Mahler, told Korngold's father there was no benefit in having his son enroll in a music conservatory since his abilities were already years ahead of what he could learn there.

At age 23, his opera "Die tote Stadt" (The Dead City) garnered international acclaim.

With the rise of the Nazi regime, Korngold, who was of Jewish heritage, emigrated to the United States in 1938. He soon became one of the pioneers of film music, earning widespread recognition for his film scores. His background in opera revolutionized cinematic music. In 1938 he was awarded an Academy Award for his score of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" – widely respected as one of the finest film scores ever written.

Korngold's major contributions to the violin repertoire include a sonata and his Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 35. The opening of his Violin Concerto borrows material from a film score he wrote in 1937, and the folk-dance theme of the final movement came from a different film score from the same year.



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