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Korngold, Erich Wolfgang


KORNGOLD, ERICH WOLFGANG (1897–1957), composer. Born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, Korngold was the son of the Viennese music critic Julius Korngold (1860–1945), who was also his first music teacher. Hailed as a child prodigy when his first large-scale work, Der Schneemann, a pantomime, was performed in 1908, he went from success to success with instrumental and operatic works. His short operas Violanta and Der Ring des Polykrates were performed when he was only 19 and his best-known opera, Die Tote Stadt, had its premiere in 1920. In 1934 Korngold settled in Hollywood, where he arranged Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream music for Max *Reinhardt's film version of the play. His music was that of a conservative modernist, being colorful, melodious, and sensuous. Korngold's instrumental works include symphonic overtures, a sinfonietta, chamber music, a piano concerto for left hand, and a violin concerto. His later operas, Das Wunder der Heliane (1927), Kathrin (1939), and Die stumme Serenade (1954), did not attain the success of the earlier Die Tote Stadt.


R.S. Hoffmann, Erich Wolfgang Korngold (Ger., 1923); Grove, Dict; Current Biography Yearbook 1958, 234; mmg; Riemann-Gurlitt.

[Peter Emanuel Gradenwitz]

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