MIDI sequences ©1999-2000 by Joe Monzo
Korngold as a teenager,
around the time he composed the Sinfonietta
Sinfonietta in Bb major for large orchestra (1912-13)
1st movement (first section)
Korngold began sketching the Sinfonietta in the Spring of 1912 (about a year after Mahler's death), just before his 15th birthday, and finished the sketches in August 1912. The orchestration of it dragged on for another year, until September 1913, by which time Korngold had composed his Sonata for Violin and Piano, op. 6, and had begun his first opera Der Ring des Polykrates, op. 7. The Sinfonietta was premièred in Vienna on 30 November 1913 under the direction of Felix Weingartner (to whom the work is dedicated, in thanks to his support of Korngold), and was a sensational success, resulting in further performances all over Europe and America.
There's a good reason why this symphony sounds like Hollywood movie music: in 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany, Korngold (along with many other German Jewish composers) emigrated to America, settled in Los Angeles, and got a job composing film scores for Warner Brothers. He wrote scores to such classic films as Errol Flynn's Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk, and Korngold's style was imitated by many later Hollywood composers and essentially became "the" Hollywood sound until jazz and pop music became predominant in film scores in the 1950s and '60s. The "Korngold sound" was revived in 1977 with John Williams's score to Star Wars (whose main title sounds almost identical to Korngold's King's Row) and persists to this day. The Trio here sounds like it's right out of a love scene from a vintage Hollywood film.
(see A Century of New Music in Vienna for further background info)