America to see Korngold masterpiece, at last

America to see Korngold masterpiece, at last


norman lebrecht

February 26, 2019

Erich Wolfgang Korngold is to be the focus of Bard Summerscape.

There will be a film series on Korngold and Cinema and a long overdue US premiere of the grand opera Das Wunder der Heliane by the German director Christian Räth.

Also: The festival will feature a broad sampling of Korngold’s own music, including childhood masterpieces, rare orchestral and chamber works, excerpts from iconic film scores, a special screening of The Constant Nymph, and a semi-staged production of his best-loved opera, Die tote Stadt.



  • Sue Sonata Form says:


  • El Grillo says:

    I don’t know why film music – even in THIS day – is neglected for the quality it is, in regards the “classical” genre. Without looking for examples, already two spring to mind:
    Nigel Hess in Ladies in Lavender, who at the end of the film has a lovely beautiful elegy or ballad that would be a soothingly exquisite concert piece. I’d rather hear it than the Brahms concerto 50 more times, and who recorded it? It’s an absolutely genuine piece, maybe just what came together after the needed effects in the film, like the “concerto at the end. But this is during the credits, after Maggie Smith and Judy Dench go walking into the autumnal mist of their lives, having been touched by something that unexpectedly came into their lives. A blessing.
    And then there’s Dario Marinelli’s music from Jane Eyre directed by Fukunaga.
    Those are just two examples from many.
    Why does “classical” so often have to sound disturbing, and heady? And then often not a drama that’s exposed to be released but one brimming underneath making it sound like it should be sustained rather than released?

    • John Borstlap says:

      We prevented JB from jumping into a corrective explanatory discourse about differences between film music and art music but we locked him up in the library. There is already discord enough in the world!


    • Nigel Hess says:

      Thank you, El Grillo!!

      • El Grillo says:

        Heh! LOL And I really was being completely sincere. That soft excursion into the twilight of two gentlewomen, of life’s dream, really touched me. I don’t think that without music and the rest of the arts we could remember forever, what life means, why it exists.

  • John Borstlap says:

    One of the most gifted and brilliant 20C composers, who fell victim to fascism, then from film music, and eventually from modernism. I don’t like his music at all (zu überschwänglich, sentimentalisch) but I would always defend and respect his music, because he was a true composer, getting into difficulties not of his own making.

  • aj says:

    That he was a competent orchestrator is a given, that he had nothing to say musically that hadn’t already been said
    is also a given .His music is in the 2nd.tier comfort zone.
    It reminds one of everything ,it has not the strength to stand on its own .First class second rate.

    • Harrumph says:

      What an imbecilic comment. It is you who has nothing to say.

      • aj says:

        Harrumph …Since there is no accounting for taste, your defense of this composer is
        understandable.While I wouldn’t be rude enough
        to note your response as imbecilic I do entertain
        the thought you comment comes from a basic ignorance to the art form .

        • Harrumph says:

          Imbecilic is putting it generously. Conceivably you might be able to comprehend the art of shining shoes but you would have to work your way up to Korngold’s.

          • aj says:

            Since you consider shining shoes an art
            form one can understand your ignorance
            especially to music as a creative endeavor .

    • Bone says:

      Yeah, well, you know, that’s like, uh, you’re opinion, man

    • John Borstlap says:

      His early works, and especially his Tote Stadt and Das Wunder der Heliane, do certainly suggest that had there not been WW I and II, and had he not gone to America and worked in Hollywood, and had he been performed normally and regularly in a normal music world, he would have developed as a major composer.

  • Karl says:

    Die tote Stadt was performed in concert by Boston’s Odyssey Opera in 2014.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    The U.S. of Colonies is a large country. It would be nice to know where and when. And yes, I’m well aware I could just Google it to find out for myself. But why not list it for everyone (or provide a link)