Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
May 29
Did You Guess?
Even if you didn't get it, there's no need to feel sheepish.  Not everyone knows of McCartney's take on Mary Had a Little Lamb!
Can You Guess?
Erich Wolfgang Korngold was born in Brünn, Moravia (today, Brno, Czech Republic) May 29, 1897, the second son of Dr. Julius and Josefine Korngold. When Erich was 4 the family moved to Vienna so his father could take a job as music critic at the Neuen Freien Presse (New Free Press) newspaper.

Erich started piano while very young, and produced his first compostions around 1905.  In 1906 Gustav Mahler suggested that Erich be taught by the renowned teacher Alexander von Zemlinsky. Zemlinsky was, in essence, Erich's only music teacher.
1860 - Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz, was born in Camprodón

1873 - American premiere of Brahms's Serenade No. 1 in D, at Steinway Hall, by the New York Symphony, under Theodore Thomas.

1901 - Paderewski's opera Manru, premiered in Dresden

1911 - British lyricist Sir William S. Gilbert (of "Gilbert & Sullivan" fame), died at age 74, from a heart attack after rescuing a drowning woman

1913 Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), premiered in Paris, by Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, Pierre Monteux conducted

- Premiere of Cowell's Symphony No. 11 ("Seven Rituals"), by the Louisville Orchestra

1963 - The New York Philharmonic "Promenade" concert series was inaugurated.

1965 - Bob Dylan's album Bringing It All Back Home hit #1 in the U.K. It knocked his album Freewheelin' Bob Dylan out of the #1 spot.

1969 - The debut album Crosby, Stills and Nash was released.

1971 - The Rolling Stones' single Brown Sugar hit #1 in the U.S.

1973 - Mike Oldfield released his Tubular Bells LP.
What Else
Erich came to public attention when he was 10 with the premiere of his two-act ballet/pantomime Der Schneemann (The Snowman) at the Vienna Hofoper. It had been written as a four-hands piano score and was orchestrated by Zemlinsky.  A few months later came the Munich premiere of his Piano Trio, Op. 1.  The public was so amazed by his talent that he was declared a “miracle child” by the press.

In 1911, Artur Schnabel premiered Erich’s Piano Sonata #2 in E-major, Op. 2.  The same year Artur Nikisch gave the world-premiere of Erich’s first orchestral work, the Schauspiel Ouvertüre, Op. 4, displaying for all Erich’s gift for orchestration.  In 1913, his “Sinfonietta” in B-major, Op. 5 premiered in Vienna under Felix von Weingartner, and Karl Flesch premiered the Violin Sonata in G-major, Op. 6.

In 1916 Erich produced two one-act operas, “Der Ring des Polykrates” and “Violanta.  Both were successes.  1917 saw the Rose Quartet premiere the Sextet for Strings in D-major. 1920 brought incidental music for a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, and the double world-premiere of Korngold’s operatic triumph, Die tote Stadt (The Dead City), in Hamburg and Cologne.

Erich produced an arrangement of Johann Strauss’s Eine Nacht in Venedig in 1923.  During the next several years he would continue to arrange operettas, and compose original works including his first String Quartet, Op. 16, one-movement piano concerto (for Paul Wittgenstein), and  Three Songs, Op. 18.

Erich considered 1927's opera Das Wunder der Heliane his most important work, but it was not as well received as much of his earlier work.  In spite of this Korngold was named a Professor at the Vienna Academy of Music.

1929 saw a new production Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus.  About this time Korngold's Suite for 2 violins, cello and piano (left hand), Op. 23 premiered as well as his third Piano Sonata, Op. 25.  Baby-Serenade (1932) saw Korngold incorporate elements of jazz into his music.

In 1934 Korngold went to Hollywood to arrange Mendelssohn’s incidental music for Max Reinhardt’s film version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  The next year Korngold composed film scores for both Paramount and Warner Bros.  Then he signed an exclusive contract with Warner Bros.   His first original score was Errol Flynn's Captain Blood in 1935.  1936 saw Korngold win the Oscar for his score for the movie Anthony Adverse.

Although he was kept busy with film scores, Korngold continued to work on opera and concert music.  As World War II approached Korngold moved to the United States and concentrated solely on film scores until the end of the war. 

His movie score for The Adventures of Robin Hood won him his second Oscar.  Other movies he worked on wereThe Prince and the Pauper (1937), Juarez (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940), The Sea Wolf (1941), King’s Row (1941), and Deception (1946).

1946 saw Korngold return to concert music.  He began with  String Quartet #3, Op. 34, Korngold had an agreement with Warner Bros., that he could use themes written for his film scores in his concert works.  These played a key role in his Cello Concerto, Op. 37, the Violin Concerto (premiered by Jascha Heifetz in 1947), and Symphonic Serenade, Op. 39.

In 1949 Korngold traveled to Austria.  The Vienna Philharmonic premiered his Symphonic Serenade in B major Op. 39.  Reaction of press and public were not nearly as favorable as before the war.  He returned to the USA.

Korngold traveled to Europe in 1954 for the unsuccessful premiere of his Symphony in F# op. 40.  He eventually traveled to Munich to work on a film biography of Richard Wagner called Magic Fire.  It was his last motion picture score.

In 1955 Korngold suffered a stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed.  He planned to start work on a second symphony and a sixth opera, but died November 19, 1957 believing himself forgotten by Hollywood and the public.
Erich Wolfgang
1897 - 1957
Mutter Plays Korngold Violin Concerto--Click for Music Samples
Korngold's Music--Click for Sound Samples
On this date in 1972 Paul McCartney realeased his version of a famous nursery rhyme.  Can You Guess what nursery rhyme it was? Don't get too frustrated, it's really not a baaaaaaad question! 

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
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Brahms Serenade 1 and 2  Click For Sound Samples
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