It's Korngold's birthday! He would have been 113. To celebrate, here's a bit of good old Viennese schwung: Korngold conducts Johann Strauss, an abridged version of the waltz Kunstlerleben (An Artist's Life) which he made for the film The Constant Nymph of 1942. Brendan Carroll has kindly extracted it so that we can have a snapshot of that vital side of Korngold's world. He tells us:
Erich Wolfgang Korngold was a renowned interpreter of the music of Johann Strauss II but (aside from one extremely rare 78rpm disc made in 1931) left no commercial recordings of his performances in this repertoire. I am delighted therefore to present this very rare recording, made in Hollywood in 1942...as part of a sequence to accompany a party scene in THE CONSTANT NYMPH. The rubato, phrasing and effervescent lilt of this short recording demonstrates why Korngold was such a star on the podium, when conducting Viennese operetta, as he did hundreds of times in the 1920s and 30s. Totally authentic. Enjoy!
Enjoy indeed. Please put on your dancing shoes...
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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