An Impressive Opening of the Korngold Exhibition

Austrian Press Agency (11/28/2007)

Vienna – “With this exhibition, my grandfather returned once again to Vienna,” explained Kathrin Korngold-Hubbard, the granddaughter of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, obviously touched in her speech at the opening of the exhibiton, “The Korngolds. Clichée, Critique and Composition.” Not only numerous members of the Korngold family, including grandchildren and great grandchildren, attended. Among the many guests of honor were also Barbara Schönberg Zeisl and her husband. State opera director Ioan Holender, speaker at the opening touched upon the significance of Korngold’s works and pointed out the fact that Korngold’s opera, “Die Tote Stadt,” counts as one of the most successful premiere productions in opera history. In the performances under the direction of Karl Albrecht Weinberger and music curator Michael Haas, father and son Korngold took center stage. Weinberger pointed out the exhausting restitution of Korngold’s possessions and Haas sketched a differentiated picture of the relationship between father Julius Korngold and his son.

The Korngolds – A Viennese Musical Family
There is scarcely any other family that mirrored Vienna’s musical life at the beginning of the 20th century better than that of the Korngolds. The father, Julius Korngold, was one of the most powerful and most highly-feared critics of his time. Theodor Herzl named him successor of Eduard Hanslick as music critic for the Neue Freie Presse, which was the most important German-language newspaper at that time. His son, Erich Wolfgang, on the other hand, was a musical prodigy who was often compared to Mozart. Works like the opera, “Die Tote Stadt,” belonged to the most frequently performed pieces of his time. With the expulsion of the Jewish composer, beginning in 1933 by Germany and then by Austria, Erich Wolfgang found himself in Hollywood. Different from many of his other comrades sharing a similar fate, he was able to build upon working successfully with Max Reinhardt, among others, who had him come to Hollywood back in 1934 for the production of Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” As composer of film music, Erich Wolfgang Korngold made film history by creating the “Hollywood Sound.” Awarded two Oscars, among others as well as for the legendary film, “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, Korngold is considered today as one of the most successful and most important Hollywood composers. The exhibition focuses on the father-son relationship as the most important creative period of E.W. Korngold, his success as child prodigy, his triumphs as composer and worldwide also as writer of operetta arrangements, his cooperation with Max Reinhard, his success in Hollywood, but also his failed attempt to regain footing in Vienna after the war. Audio excerpts taken from Korngold’s music and film cuts illuminate his great success and allow also for a closer look at Korngold as a private man, his family and his friends.

The Korngolds. Klischee, Klritik and Kompostion can be seen in the Vienna’s Jewish Museum until May 18, 2008 (1010 Vienna, Dorotheergasse11).