|dc.description.abstract||In this thesis the orchestral techniques of the late romantic composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) are investigated. The aim is to approach an understanding of how the composer has established the musical fabric for the symphony orchestra. This gives a further understanding of why the music sounds as it does. The procedure of this investigation is entirely based on analysis of scores in relation to the actual sound.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold grew up in Vienna in the beginning of the 20th century. He proved to be a child prodigy, and during his teens, he established himself as a major composer of songs, chamber music, orchestral works and opera. His late romantic style soon became old fashion. Thus he reached the peak of his career before aged 30. In 1933 the famous director Max Reinhardt brought him to Hollywood. From 1935 he was one of the most influential film composers until he retired in 1946. At that time he had scored almost 20 motion pictures. In the last 10 years of his life he tried to make a comeback in the serious world of music. This failed largely because his late romantic musical language was far from the accepted trends in the 1950s.
This thesis focuses on Korngold s two most significant genres opera and film music. These genres also represent the link between the 19th century Teutonic tradition and the so called Golden Age of Hollywood.
A number of extracts from the opera Die tote Stadt (1920) and several adventure film scores are investigated in this thesis. The analyses show that Korngold s orchestrations are colorful, inventive and rather complex and detailed. Following the 18th and 19th centuries tradition, the strings form the fundament, while the winds usually add color and strength to selected string parts. Harps, celesta, piano and melodic percussion are very important factors in Korngold s orchestral sound. Their functions are similar to the winds, but they also add special effects and a certain finery to the score.
The superior textures of Korngold s opera and film scores are mainly rather simple, consisting of a foreground melody with a background accompaniment. The complexity lies within each textural element. Most textural elements in the score are continuously differentiated.
This complexity is especially evident in the opera. The differentiation occurs at a very detailed level. The music often tends to be over-scored. However, this is usually intentional to create a orchestral sound that can be difficult to clarify by ear. Hence, transparency and clarity may be avoided.
The same features are largely present in the film scores as well. Differentiation at detailed levels and colorful use of harps, celesta and melodic percussion are still prominent. Yet it seems more modestly worked out in this genre. Transparent orchestral textures are more prominent. The Golden Age of film music developed several musical prototypes as the Main Title (overture), Love Scene and Battle Scene . Such prototypes included certain orchestral idioms. Korngold is one of the most significant figures in developing such prototypes and idioms.
For the most the two genres show the same orchestral style and techniques. The differences between the two are largely caused by the following factors: Firstly, opera is written for live performance, while film music is recorded and has to compete with sound effects and speech in the film. The recording conditions of the 1930s were far from today s digital sound. Hence, there was no point in orchestrating in such detail. Secondly, Korngold matured as a composer and orchestrator. Although he had achieved a good deal of experience and was regarded as a major composer at the age of 20, he was still very young. Thirdly, the time schedules in Hollywood forced him to cooperate with orchestrators. Even though Korngold instructed the orchestration in detail, he had to rely on the orchestrators craft at certain levels.
During the last 15 years Korngold s music has experienced a renaissance in the concert hall. Today we find the influence of Korngold and his European colleagues in a number of film composers. The most prominent is probably John Williams, whose large production includes Star Wars, E.T., Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Schindler s List.||nor