The Last Prodigy: A Biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

The Last Prodigy: A Biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

The Last Prodigy: A Biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

The Last Prodigy: A Biography of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Synopsis

A child prodigy in early 20th century Vienna and a pivotal figure in the 1920s, Korngold saw his star sink rapidly when the Nazis categorised his compositions as 'degenerate'. He emigrated to the US in the 1930s, and pioneered the symphonic film score.

Excerpt

Howcould a young man, resident of Liverpool, the nest of the Beatles, possibly know more about a Viennese composer, whose career ended in apparently dismal failure, than the composer's son? Should I give him access to the composer's correspondence, even though most of it was in German and the young man had no knowledge of German? Should I perhaps try to narrate the story to him as I saw it? Surely my version of the fate of this unusual musician would then be tinged by my own unavoidable prejudices and rejected by its readers with a shrug. That anyone would attempt to write a biography was remarkable, which would have to be a tale of Horatio Alger in reverse, with a brilliant beginning and an unsatisfying ending, of a composer whose works were wrested from him by all the distinguished artists of the era and performed all over the world, a world that first sent him accolades of praise and appreciation and then promptly forgot him.

I eventually decided that my best course would be to stay out of the young man's way entirely and simply await results. These results-the story that Brendan Carroll has chosen to tell -- is an amazing chronicle of a genial young man, handicapped by a willful father and the forces of the Third Reich, told without undue sentimentality and with a sense of humor, which Brendan undoubtedly shares with my father. It captures with astonishing accuracy the events leading to a prestigious, soaring career in serious . . .

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