BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2011, Concert Three from St David’s Hall in Cardiff, 15 June, 2011.
Valentina Nafornita (Soprano) from Moldova performs:
Gluck das mir verlieb (Die tote Stadt) – Korngold
Amour, ranime mon courage (Romeo et Juliette) – Gounod
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was a composer of operas, songs, orchestral works, and -most notably – film scores.
Kornhold was born on 29th May 1897 in a Jewish home in Brünn (Brno), Austria–Hungary, now the Czech Republic. He was the second son of the eminent music critic Julius Korngold. A child prodigy, Erich played his cantata Gold to Gustav Mahler in 1906; Mahler called him a “musical genius”, and recommended study with the composer Alexander von Zemlinsky. At the age of eleven he composed his ballet Der Schneemann (The Snowman), which caused a sensation when performed at the Vienna Court Opera in 1910, including a command performance for Emperor Franz Josef. This work was followed by a piano trio, then by his second piano sonata, which Artur Schnabel played throughout Europe. During his early years Korngold also made player-piano music rolls for the Aeolian Duo-Art system, all of which survive today.
Korngold wrote his first orchestral score, the Schauspiel Ouverture when he was fourteen. His Sinfonietta appeared the following year, and his first two operas, Der Ring des Polykrates and Violanta, in 1914. He completed his opera Die tote Stadt, which became an international success, in 1920 at the age of twenty-three. At this point Korngold had reached the zenith of his fame as a composer of opera and concert music.