He called himself one of the last melodic composers. Erich Wolfgang Korngold, born on May 29, 1897, stunned the music world at the beginning of the 20th century. When he was ten, his musical talents caught Gustav Mahler's attention, and at age 18, he brought his first opera to the stage. When the Nazis marched into Vienna, his fame saved Korngold who was Jewish. He was able to escape because Warner Brothers brought him to Los Angeles to write film music. However, the transition had its down side. When the war was over, atonal music had become the dominant avant-garde style, and Korngold was dismissed as an entertainer who had mainly commercial interests. Even a violin concerto and a symphony were unable to restore his reputation while he was alive. Yet, 40 years after his death Erich Wolfgang Korngold is once again one of the most popular composers of the 20th century. As the Centennial of his birth is coming up, Georg Hirsch followed his tracks in Los Angeles.
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