Miklos Rozsa (1907-1995) And Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)

'Films are fantasy', said Hollywood mogul Jack Warner, 'and fantasy needs music'. We follow two European emigres, born 10 years and 200 miles apart, on the epic journey to provide the soundtrack to Hollywood's Golden Age.

Donald Macleod hears from Hollywood film music historian Jon Burlingame and conductor John Mauceri, who share some first hand reminiscences of both composers.

Episodes

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01The Talent20071126

'Films are fantasy', said Hollywood mogul Jack Warner, 'and fantasy needs music'. We follow two European emigres, born 10 years and 200 miles apart, on the epic journey to provide the soundtrack to Hollywood's Golden Age.

Donald Macleod hears from Hollywood film music historian Jon Burlingame and conductor John Mauceri, who share some first hand reminiscences of both composers.Both young composers enjoyed considerable acclaim in their own countries and across Europe. Korngold was a respected opera composer, while Rozsa was championed by conductors Karl Bohm and Charles Munch. However, between Schoenberg and Stravinsky, there wasn't much call (and certainly no money) for the lush scores of late Romanticism.

Korngold: Overture (Der Schauspiel)

BBC Philharmonic

Matthias Bamert (conductor)

Rozsa: Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song, Op 4

Isabella Lipp (violin)

John Novacek (piano)

Korngold: Marietta's Lute Song (Die Tote Stadt)

Barbara Hendricks (soprano)

Philadelphia Orchestra

Franz Welser-Most (conductor)

Rozsa: Theme, Variations and Finale, Op 13a

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

James Sedares (conductor)

02Hooray For Hollywoodland20071127

The financial desolation of the late 1920s and 30s forced Rozsa to keep the wolf from the door by writing fanfares for Pathe newsreels, while Korngold turned to arrangements of Viennese operetta. Fateful diversions both, as they marked the beginning of an unlikely but rewarding journey to the bright lights of Beverly Hills.

Nic Tomay (aka Miklos Rozsa): Bobbi Cherie; Tous la Haut la Haut; Two for Me

Daniel Robbins (piano)

Korngold: Tales from Strauss

Linz Bruckner Orchestra

Caspar Richter (conductor)

Korngold: Captain Blood Soundtrack (excerpts)

Brandenburg Philharmonic

Richard Kaufman (conductor)

Rozsa: Four Feathers Soundtrack (excerpts)

National Philharmonic Orchestra

Charles Gerhardt (conductor)

Rozsa: King's Fanfare; The Harbor (The Thief of Baghdad)

Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra

Miklos Rozsa (conductor).

03The Blockbusters And The Bombs20071128

Two Hollywood careers were born. A half-finished film sent Rozsa from London to Los Angeles, while Korngold saved his family from the gas chamber with the help of Robin Hood. Alfred Hitchcock, Errol Flynn and the theremin pop up along the way.

Korngold: No Father, No Mother, No Name; In the Forest (Anthony Adverse)

National Philharmonic

Charles Gerhardt (conductor)

Korngold: Soundtrack to Robin Hood (excerpts)

Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

John Mauceri (conductor)

Korngold: Sursum Corda (excerpt)

BBC Philharmonic

Matthias Bamert (conductor)

Korngold: Robin's Escape from Nottingham Castle (Robin Hood)

Moscow Symphony Orchestra

William Stromberg (conductor)

Korngold: Soundtrack to The Sea Hawk (excerpts)

Utah Symphony Orchestra

Varujan Kojian (conductor)

Rozsa: Soundtrack to Spellbound (excerpts)

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra

Allan Wilson (conductor)

04High Definition20071129

Korngold's Hollywood resume took a downward turn while Rozsa entered the most productive years of his Hollywood career, leading to the era of the epics Quo Vadis and Ben-Hur. And another emigre musician caught the eyes, and ears, of both composers: violinist Jascha Heifetz.

Korngold: King's Row (main title)

National Philharmonic

Charles Gerhardt (conductor)

Rozsa: Madame Bovary (Waltz)

City of Prague Philharmonic

Kenneth Alwyn (conductor)

Rozsa: Ave Caesar (Quo Vadis)

Rozsa: Violin Concerto, Op 24 (3rd mvt)

Anastasia Khitruk (violin)

Russian Philharmonic

Dmitry Yablonsky (conductor)

Korngold: Violin Concerto (1st mvt)

Gil Shaham (violin)

London Symphony Orchestra

Andre Previn (conductor)

Rozsa: Ben-Hur Suite

North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra

Laszlo Kovacs (conductor).

05 LASTCameos And Cutaways20071130

On a visit to their homelands, Korngold and Rozsa questioned whether they had betrayed their heritage. This led both men to take stock of their careers and turn to a familiar musical idiom, the symphony.

Korngold: Prelude to Violanta

Austrian Radio Orchestra, Vienna

Max Schonherr (conductor)

Korngold: Theme and Variations

Rozsa: Hungarian Nocturne, Op 28

Philharmonia Hungarica

Werner Andreas Albert (conductor)

Korngold: Symphony in F sharp, Op 40 (2nd mvt)

BBC Philharmonic

Edward Downes (conductor)

Rozsa: Symphony in Three Movements (3rd mvt)

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

James Sedares (conductor)

Rozsa: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (Finale)

Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra

Elmer Bernstein (conductor).