Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Korngold - Piano Quintet Op 115

Erich Wolfgang Korngold
1897 - 1957
Erich Korngold was a post-romantic film and music composer. Like many unappreciated geniuses, in his time Korngold's compositional style was not particularly well-recieved. However, today he is known by many musicians as 'the last prodigy' - after Mozart of course! (Korngold's father even gave him the middle name Wolfgang to pay tribute to the man himself). Along with Max Steiner, Korngold is now considered to be one of the pioneers of film music, as his time was between the first silent movies, and the introduction of the 'talkies'.

Before entering the film business, Korngold worked in the world of opera and operetta, which meant that when it came to film music, he had a particularly good skill for creating dramatic musical atmospheres, as well as his knack for scoring historical subjects and his sensitivity to dialogue. His film music fit into the post-romantic style of the Hollywood 'golden age' and was influenced heavily by Wagner, who structured his works thematically with leitmotifs. This soon became the typical style of all film music, and even now there are films that are instantly recognisable by their scores - for example, Tara's theme in Steiner's score for 'Gone With the Wind' (1939) that is heard in the film's overture. However, Korngold went further than the other composers around him, and made his music original with his grand scores for huge orchestras, and his incredible attention to detail. Despite the fact his most famous work is the film score for 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' (1938), my favourite of his works is the Piano Quintet below.

The piece carries a recurring theme of rising sequences that alternate between the violins and the piano, while being accompanied by the deep and warm tones of the lower strings. The piece is a wonderful example of the romantic style that makes Korngold the iconic figure he is today. A link of the video is posted below:

No comments:

Post a Comment