Austrian composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) is considered one of the founders of film music, along with music giants Alfred Newman and Max Steiner. Korngold won the Academy Award for his score to The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938, widely recognized as one of the best film scores ever composed. Korngold’s biographer Brendan G. Carroll wrote about his music the following: Treating each film as an ‘opera without singing’ (each character has his or her own leitmotif), Korngold created intensely romantic, richly melodic and contrapuntally intricate scores, the best of which are a cinematic paradigm for the tone poems of Richard Strauss and Franz Liszt. He intended that, when divorced from the moving image, these scores could stand alone in the concert hall. His style exerted a profound influence on modern film music.
That was exactly Korngold’s great contribution to film music (not to forget that Alfred Newman, Franz Waxman and Max Steiner did the same): leitmotif (musical theme) became the key of every future film score.
It’s no secret that John Williams’ score to Star Wars was influenced by Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s music for the 1942 film Kings Row , which you can listen here.
TOP 5 SCORES:
1. Kings Row (1942, dir: Sam Wood)
2. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938, dir: Michael Curtiz)
3. The Sea Hawk (1940, dir: Michael Curtiz)
4. Anthony Adverse (1936, dir: Mervyn LeRoy)
5. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939, dir: Michael Curtiz)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Kings Row (Suite)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold – The Adventures of Robin Hood (Suite)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Anthony Adverse (Suite)