The Silver Screen Soundtrack Hour: Erich Korngold and the Sound of the Swashbuckler

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was much more than a film composer. The Austrian-born composer premiered his first cantata in 1906, at the age of nine, and was praised at an early age by the likes of Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Puccini.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)

By the 1930s, Korngold’s reputation earned him an invitation to Hollywood to adapt Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935). With the success of that project, invitations for more film work continued, including his first score for an Errol Flynn movie, Captain Blood (1935).

Here, Korngold’s neo-romantic style and use of leitmotifs perfectly suited the material of this swashbuckling adventure film. More notable swashbuckling scores, such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) firmly established romantic melodies, powerful brass, and sweeping strings as the sound that audiences expected for this genre.

On this week’s edition of The Silver Screen Soundtrack Hour, “Swashbucklers!”,  we’ll hear notable music from Korngold, as well as selections from Max Steiner, Alfred Newman, and more.

Produced and hosted by Ken Nail, The Silver Screen Soundtrack Hour airs on Charlottesvilleclassical.org every Thursday at 9 AM and 6 PM, plus Saturdays at Noon. Visit our Facebook page, or contact Ken on Twitter at @ken_classical.

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