Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35/Korngold

July 9, 2009

Quint KorngoldAs much of a child prodigy as Mozart, Korngold has the distinction of being perfectly at home in the concert hall or film stage. While Waxman, Goldenthal, Rozsa, Herrmann, and John Williams have composed works for symphony orchestra, only Korngold can boast of composing successful operas as a teenager, having a wonderful career as a highly successful composer for the silver screen, and then returning to the concert hall for the rest of his career.

This CD was released at the same time as the Tribute Film Classics (TFC1006) complete reconstruction recording of the 1937 Warner Brothers The Prince And The Pauper. In fact I’d just finished listening to it and was checking for grammar and spelling on my review as I began to listen to the new Naxos release of the Violin Concerto. What a special treat to be able to hear the Prince and Pauper theme fully developed in the 3rd (Finale) movement of the concerto. Warner Brothers had agreed to let Korngold re-use his themes in his concert works thus the D major Violin Concerto contains the themes from Another Dawn, Juarez, Anthony Adverse, and The Prince And The Pauper. The truly romantic melodic piece, with sections of virtuosity playing from Philippe Quint, puts you on that blanket in a favorite place sharing a lunch with someone you hold dear. Film music but in a different context.

Written at the age of 14, the Schauspiel Overture (Overture to a Drama), Op. 4 is certainly a mature work considering the young age Korngold composed and orchestrated it. It begins sounding much like a Wagner intro to an opera, quite Germanic and dramatic. However, it changes gear and you can hear his style he used in such films as “The Adventure of Robin Hood.” It’s a jovial carefree time where you envision people running about preparing for a huge festival.

The final selection on the recording is an orchestral version of the music from the 1918 play Much Ado Nothing. The original concept of chamber orchestra had to be re-arranged for violin and piano only and the version performed on this CD is rarely if ever heard. The concert suite is something that you’d expect to hear in music about the Shakespeare play. It is a jovial, lively, and romantic 16+ minute work that expresses the versatility of Korngold.

Film music lovers will relish the Violin Concerto and the performance of Philippe Quint and the themes it offers. The Schauspiel Overture and Much Ado About Nothing Suite are really nice additions and merely enhance this CD. Recommended.

Main titles Rating is ****

Produced by David Frost

Naxos CD# is 8.570791

Track List:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

1…Moderato nobile (8:49)

2…Romance: Andante (7:50)

3…Finale: Allegro assai vivace (7:01)

4… Overture to a Drama, Op. 4 (13:31)

Much Ado About Nothing-Concert Suite, Op. 11

5…Overture (5:11)

6…Bridal Morning (3:24)

7…Dogberry and Verges (2:42)

8…Intermezzo: Garden Scene (2:10)

9…Hornpipe (2:40)

Total Time is 53:40

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