Korngold: Works for Orchestra

Korngold: Works for Orchestra

Sinfonia of London

Editor's Choice

Born in what is now Czechia, the Austrian composer Erich Korngold was declared a genius by Mahler at the tender age of ten and composed his first ballet the following year. Following a short stint as a professor at Vienna's University of Music and Performing Arts, he departed for the USA. Escaping before Austria was in the full grip of Nazism proved a good move both personally and professionally for Korngold, and he spent a great deal of the next 20 years composing Hollywood film scores. In his later years, he returned to composing concert music and the three works presented on this album all date from this period. Korngold's only symphony is curious for having had its first performances broadcast on the radio, with its first concert performance taking place 15 years after the composer's death. 'Theme and Variations' was one of his final works, and is an unapologetically cinematic set of melodies on a theme he described in his performance direction as "like an Irish folk tune". 'Straussiana' was the perhaps inevitable zenith of Korngold's lifelong relationship with the music of his fellow Viennese wunderkind, Johann Strauss II. Having spent much of his early career reconstructing, reviving and championing the Waltz King's work, he marked the end of his career with this unabashed celebration of Vienna's musical heritage. Featuring mazurkas, polkas and - of course - waltzes, 'Straussiana' is irresistibly nostalgic, given Korngold's choice not to return to Europe following the war's end. read more

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