"KORNGOLD PLAYS AND CONDUCTS KORNGOLD"
(Varese Saraband LP)
COMPLETE LINER NOTES
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
SUITE FROM THE INCIDENTAL MUSIC TO SHAKESPEARE'S PLAY
I. Overture (5:00)
II. Bridal Morning (3:23)
III. Dogberry and Verges (2:31)
IV. Intermezzo (2:44)
V. Masquerade (Hornpipe) (2:47)
THE AUSTRIA STATE SYMPHONY CONDUCTED BY ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD
* IMPROVISATIONS ON THE OPERA DIE KATHRIN (3:12)
FROM THE SONATA FOR PIANO OP. 2, IN C-MINOR (6:40)
THE DEAD CITY -Duet, First Act (5:51)
Hilde Zadek, soprano
Anton Dermota, tenor
THE AUSTRIA STATE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY WILHELM LOIBNER
* From FAIRYTALES, OP. 3
I. The Princess and the Pea (2:56)
ll. Fairy tale's Epilogue (3:36)
* IMPROVISATIONS ON THE OPERAS
I. THE DEAD CITY (3:23)
II. VIOLANTA (4:54)
From THE SONATA FOR PIANO, OP. 1,IN D-MINOR (5:06)
* ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD, PIANO
As recently as the late 1960's the reputation of Erich Wolfgang
Korngold (1897-1957) was in eclipse. Now, due in no small part to the
success of RCA's album "The Seahawk", that has changed. Additional
releases in the Charles Gerhardt/National Philharmonic film score
series have added luster to Korngold’s growing fame. Other recordings
on various labels have increasingly focused attention on his symphonic
and operatic works. A glance at the current Schwann catalogue listings
reveals the Violin Concerto, the Symphony, the opera "Dead City" and
various piano and chamber works. By contrast, in the 1950's and 1960's
only a few records of Korngold's music were available-and those were
generally hard to find.
The unique performances on this record were previously released in 1951
by Mr. Don Gabor on the Masterseal label (MW-46) - a product of
Remington Records. That issue was discontinued in late 1953 and is such
a raritv that manv collectors have not been aware of its
existence. Masterseal titled the album 'Korngold by Korngold". It
too included the First Act Duet from "Dead Citv" - which of course is
not conducted by the composer. However Korngold apparently
approved of the Loibner recording and of its inclusion on the record.
The number of selections here included and their sequence exactly
matches the original.
These studio recordings are Korngold's only known tape-recorded
performances and the only composer-performed document of his "serious"
music - which is, naturally, stylistically related to his film scores.
A few 78 r.p.m. sides of film music were made in the late 30's and
early 40's, but most have never appeared. Excerpts from some
actual soundtrack recordings have surfaced, but with the restricted
fidelity inherent in the optical film process.
This recording, good tor its time. has been re-equalizcd and remastered
from the recently-discovered 30 i.p.s. mastertapes. Tapes for the three
short improvisations, however, have not been found: necessitating
careful transfer from an original pressing. The sound is monaural, as
recorded. • Tom Null
In the first years of this century. when the word spread around that
the son of Dr. Julius Korngold, powerful music critic of Vienna's
leading daily, "Die Neue Freie Presse", was composing music at the age
of 6, skeptical people were inclined to see a new publicity stunt of a
man who was admired and attacked as a dictator of public opinion on
fine arts. However, impartial experts had heard young Erich
Wolfgang (born in Bruenn. 1897) play his first sketches at the piano
and praised his talent in the most glowing terms. Was the Mozart story
to repeat itself?
Sensational events followed in rapid succession: Gustav Mahler,
relieved from the burden of his job as Musical Director of the Vienna
Opera and uninfluenced by Julius Korngold, found words of highest
praise for the eleven year old's "Passacaglia". "The Snow Man". a
pantomime written the same year, was introduced with the boy composer
at the piano, in a private showing at the Palace of Austria's Prime
Minister, and opened at the Vienna State Opera with triumphant success
on October 4, 1910, Emperor Franz Joseph's name-day. Bruno Walter
consented to be the pianist at the first performance of a Trio Op. 1.
for violin, cello and piano, written at 12. Artur Schnabel scored
with the Sonata for Piano. op, 2. of 1910. Arthur Nikisch conducted
"Overture to a Play". op. 4. written at 14, in his famous Leipzig
Gewandhaus Concerts. Felix von Weingartner featured the boy's
compositions in the Vienna Philharmonic Society subscription nights.
Erich Wolfgang Korngotd became the talk of Europe. It was soon
generally accepted that the young composer - thoroughly educated in
music by his father, and Hermann
Graedner, as well as Alexander von Zemlinsky in Vienna - was neither a
second Mozart, nor the product of his father's intrigues, but a
fascinating and original talent in his own right. His most decisive
successes came outside of Vienna - somewhat later, Vienna followed.
At 18, Korngold entered the field which was to show his personal
approach in the most striking way: opera. Bruno Walter again was his
champion and, in 1916, "Violanta" opened in Munich under his baton. The
same year brought "Der Ring des Polykrates", a light comedy presented
by the Vienna State Opera together with "Violanta". The charming
incidental music to Shakespeare's play, "Much Ado About Nothing" is
dated 1919. First given by the Hamburg Opera in 1920, "The Dead City"
(later Maria Jeritza's first triumph at the Metropolitan) has become
his most popular opera.
Komgold has appeared on various occasions as a piano soloist, playing
his own com· positions, and has won fame as a conductor, though
his engagement at the Hamburg Opera, from 1919 to 1921 was the only
permanent conducting job he ever accepted. He has appeared quite
frequently as guest conductor in many major opera houses of
Europe. 1927 brought his appointment as Professor of theory and
conducting at the Vienna State Academy - and a new opera, the
mythological fairytale "Das Wunder der Heliane”, presented by the
Vienna State Opera in memorable performances with Lotte Lehmann and a
brilliant new tenor: Jan Kiepura.
The late Max Reinhardt, great admirer of Kornsold's talent, awoke his
interest in the music of the Viennese classical operetta. Reinhardt's
unforgotten staging of Johann Strauss' "Fledermaus", introduced in
Berlin in 1929. featured a reorchestrated and rearranged Strauss score
under Korngold. More recently, this production has been hailed by New
York audiences under the title "Rosalinda", in Korngold's version and
under his baton. It was Max Reinhardt who, in 1933, brought the
composer to Hollywood to arrange and conduct the music for his film "A
Midsummer Night's Dream". Korngold remained in Hollywood. The most
successful of his many films are "Anthony Adverse", "Robin Hood",
"King's Row", "Elizabeth and Essex" and "The Constant Nymph".
While Erich Wolf!!ang Korngold spent the ten years following the
completion of his last opera, "Kathrin" (1937), working chiefly on
motion pictures and Viennese operettas in New York, Los Angeles and San
Francisco, he has recently devoted himself to the field of absolute
music. A Quartet for Strings, a Concerto for Cello (in the repertory of
Gaspar Cassado), a Concerto for Violin (introduced by Jascha Heifetz),
a Symphonic Serenade (conducted by Wilhelm Furtwaengler) and a new
musical comedy are the fruits of the latest period.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold is a citizen of the United States, married to
Lucy von Sonnenthal (closely related to Austria's great actor, Adolf
von Sonnenthall, has two sons, and resides in Hollywood.
Masterseal Records is proud to have released the only records ever
issued featuring Korngold's music. conducted and played by the
composer. He is among us, writing and creating, and we expect new music
from him in the years to follow. But due to the child prodigy's
amazingly early success, the works which established his fame have
already become exempt from the violent discussion of the day. Musical
history has given Erich Wolfgang Korngold his definite and irrevocable
place: a fanatic of the theatre, he has mixed Richard Strauss' dazzling
orchestra colors, Puccini's nostalgic sentiment, and a breeze from the
Vienna Woods into something truly personal, new and original. It may be
too soon to declare any product of our time immortal, but Korngold's
music, with its sensuous vitality, romantic sentiment (and maybe,
sentimentality), radiant humor, and enchanting melodic inspiration, has
added a new voice to the concert of our century's Great Masters. It
will be heard.
Dr. Marcel Prawy
Erich Wolfgang Korngotd comments on the selections featured on this
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
I wrote the incidental music to Shakespeare's play in 1919, as op. 11.
It was performed at Schoenbrunn Castle and the Burg Theatre In Vienna,
later by more than one hundred symphony orchestras in Europe and the
United States. A special adaptation for violin and piano is in the
repertory of Fritz Kreisler, Mischa Elman and Jascha Heifetz.
A whirling comedy rhythm indicates the verbal duel between the hostile
lovers, Beaatrice and Benedick. A lyrical second theme reveals their
true feelings for each other. And the final percussion crescendo
confirms with the twinkle of an eye: Much ado about nothing ....
Beatrice: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he
loves me. Benedick: God keep your ladyship still in that mind! So some
gentleman or other
shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.
Beatrice: Scratching could not make it worse an 'twere such a face as
yours were. Benedick: Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
Beatrice: A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.
Benedick: I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a
But keep your way O' God's name; I have done.
On the morning of her wedding day, young Hero is torn between her
sentiments. While she adorns herself for the wedding, she must endure
vulgar jokes. Full of sinister forebodings in her heart ....
Margaret: I saw the Duchess of Milan's gown that they praise so.
Hero: O, that exceeds, they say.
Margaret: By my troth, it's but a night-gown in respect of yours, cloth
of gold, and cuts, and laced with silver; set with pearls,
down-sleeves, side-sleeves, and skirts
round, underborne with a blueish tinsel: but for a fine, quaint
graceful, and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on 't.
Hero: God give me joy to wear it, for my heart is exceeding heavy.
Dogberry and Verges:
March of the night guards. A grotesque jagged march rhythm, vacillating
in drunkkenness, portrays the two "foolish officers" and their state of
Comrade: Away! you are an ass.
Dogberry: Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my
years? 0 that he were here to write me down an ass! But masters,
remember that I am an ass;
though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.
A romantic and nostalgic cello melody. Beatrice has become conscious of
her love for young lord Benedick ....
Beatrice: Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu!
No glory lives behind the back of such.
And Benedick,love on: I will requite thee;
Taming my wild heart, to thy loving hand;
If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee
To bind our love up in a holy band ....
A gay and boisterous general dance leads to the final curtain.
Benedick: Strike up, pipers!
My last opera, "Die Kathrin”, was composed between 1932 and 1937 to
lyrics by Ernst Decsey. The opening. scheduled by the Vienna State
Opera for March, 1938, with Jarmila Novotna and Richard Tauber, was
forbidden by Hitler. "Die Kathrin" appeared first in Stockholm, on
October 7, 1939, and on October 19, 1950, at the Vienna State Opera.
My improvisation is based on the letter scene of the first act.
Kathrin, a Swiss servant girl working in southern France, writes a
tearful farewell letter to her soldier friend.
The Largo is a part of my sonata for Piano op. 2 in C-minor. It was
written in 1910 at the age of thirteen. Artur Schnabel, whose death we
mourned in August, 1951, introduced the work to Berlin and Vienna
THE DEAD CITY
It was the atmosphere of Bruges, "dead city" in G. Rodenbach's novel
"Bruges, la morte", which inspired my third opera, "The Dead City", op.
12. I worked on it from 1916 until 1920. when it was presented at the
Operas of Hamburg, Cologne and Vienna. Maria Jeritza's unforgettable
creation of the female lead was enthusiastically applauded at the
Vienna Opera and the Metropolitan. Eighty theatres followed.
We are in Bruges, at the end of the eighteenth century. Paul's wife.
Marie, has died. Since her death, Paul has lived only in the past - he
calls his home "An Altar to the Past". There are Marie's portrait and
long locks of her blond hair. One day Paul meets a young dancer who
impresses him as a living image of Marie. He invites her to his house,
drapes his wife's scarf about her. Marietta takes Marie's lute and
sings her song: "Glueck, das mir verblieb .... " It was Marie's
favorite - in a trance. Paul joins in. To him, for the duration of a
short and feverish adventure, Marietta has become Marie....
The improvisation is based on the main theme of the dead city, followed
by a song in which Pierrot, member of Marietta's dance group, expresses
his home-sickness for the Rhine.
In 1910, I composed seven short piano pieces. They were published as
op. 3 under the title of "Fairy tales" . For "International
Masterworks. Inc.", I have recorded two:
"The Princess and the Pea" and "Fairytale's Epilogue."
Hans Mueller's story for my first opera, "Violanta" - which Bruno
Walter introduced in Munich in 1916, and which was to become one of
Maria Jeritza's most admired roles - is set against a background of
fifteenth century Venice. Love, hatred and murder weave their threads
when beautiful Violanta wants to revenge the suicide of her beloved
sister who had been loved and deserted by Alfonso -- only to fall
himself a victim to the seducer. I have tried to recreate the
passionate atmosphere in my improvisation.
I was eleven, when my teacher Alexander von Zemlinsky gave me a test:
to compose a passacaglia based on a theme he had sketched. Gustav
Mahler suggested that I inncorporate it as finale into my first Sonata
for Piano, in D-Minor.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Remarks by the original producer and program notes by the composer,
from the 1951 edition.
Remasterlng: Bruce Leek
Prepared for release by: Dub Taylor, Thomas Rhymer, and Chris Kuchler
Cover: Pablo Picasso, "Bacchanal" (1959) Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena,
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