September 10, 2007
Erich Wolfgang Korngold Celebrated at USC
Concert and exhibit lead a two-month tribute to Golden Age composer
LOS ANGELES—The University of Southern California has launched an eight-week series of events designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
On Friday, USC's Doheny Memorial Library unveiled a new exhibit entitled "Operas Without Singing: The Film Music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold," featuring rare photographs, original sketches and fully orchestrated scores, correspondence and film memorabilia, most of it drawn from the Warner Bros. archives at USC.
The Film Music Society provided many of the photographs used in the exhibit, which includes rarities from such Korngold classics as his Oscar-winning scores for Anthony Adverse and The Adventures of Robin Hood as well as Captain Blood, Kings Row, The Sea Hawk, A Midsummer Night's Dream and others. The exhibit will remain open through Dec. 7.
More than 100 attended the opening-night reception, including members of the Korngold family as well as dignitaries from USC and friends in the film-music community. New USC Libraries Dean Catherine Quinlan made the opening remarks.
Also well-attended was the concert that followed in nearby Newman Hall, named after the late 20th Century-Fox music director Alfred Newman, who was a great admirer of Korngold's work and whose brother Lionel conducted a famous 1961 recording of Korngold excerpts for Warner Bros. Records.
Current and former USC students performed several Korngold concert works. Pianist Valerie Stern played excerpts from Sieben Marchenbilder, op. 3 (1910); soprano Maria Lazarova sang four songs (from op. 9, 14 and 38, dating from 1913, 1920 and 1940); the Blue Rose Trio (violinist Audrey Solomon, cellist Lars Hoefs, pianist Rose Chen) performed the Piano Trio in D Major, op. 1 (1909); and soprano Jacquelynne Fontaine sang Unverganglichkeit, op. 27 (1933). Pianist Clara Cheng accompanied the vocalists.
The program was a fascinating look into the chamber music and art songs of the young Korngold, and the performers were outstanding. Stern was flawless in her reading of the piano pieces; Lazarova and Fontaine were simply mesmerizing; and the Blue Rose Trio was dynamic and passionate in its performance of the piano trio. Interestingly, two of the performers (Solomon and Fontaine) are recent Miss America contestants.
Catherine Cooper, former USC music librarian who is currently penning her doctoral thesis on Korngold's Hollywood work, introduced the concert.
USC's tribute to Korngold will continue with four film screenings – The Sea Hawk on Sept. 26, the rarely screened The Constant Nymph on Oct. 7, Kings Row on Oct. 17 and Between Two Worlds on Nov. 7 – as well as a concert by The Haydn Trio on Oct. 3 and a lecture with film clips "Vienna to Hollywood: The Film Music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold" by Jon Burlingame on Oct. 24.
For more information, visit the USC arts and events calendar at www.usc.edu.