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.


01The Talent20071126"

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
03The Blockbusters And The Bombs20071128
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).