The Last Prodigy: A Biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Brendan Carroll, Author Amadeus Press $34.95 (436p) ISBN 978-1-57467-029-5
Until the recent Korngold renaissance, he has been known mainly for his film scores. In his comprehensive biography, Carroll, president of the International Korngold Society, demonstrates that the composer's music should not be discounted. Born in Vienna, where his early compositions were admired by Mahler, Sibelius, Strauss and other notables of the day, Korngold (1897-1957) was a child prodigy who had a work performed publicly when he was 13. By age 20 he had a brilliant career in Europe as a pianist, conductor and composer of symphonies, operas and chamber music. In 1934, he was persuaded by director Max Reinhardt to come to this country to work on a film adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He remained in Hollywood, writing scores for such films as Anthony Adverse, The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk, returning to serious concert music only a few years before his death. Carroll's research is exhaustive and his analysis of Korngold's music lucid and perceptive. It remains to be seen whether his assessment of Korngold as one of the great composers of the century is accurate. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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