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In Search of Korngold

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Erich Wolfgang Korngold, c. 1920. Erich Wolfgang Korngold Collection, Music Division.

On this Saturday, February 23rd at 11am, yours truly, Paul Sommerfeld, will offer a #Declassified talk in the Mary Pickford Theater focused on the film music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold. A screening of Captain Blood (1935), one of Korngold’s earliest film scores, will follow at 12pm.

In this interactive #Declassified event, I’ll be focusing on how Korngold’s techniques proved to be a powerful influence in defining the sound and style of music in Hollywood film. We’ll pay particular attention Captain Blood so we can first discuss the film, and then experience it in full cinematic glory. Korngold’s musical sketches, correspondence, and other ephemera – such as film production stills and marketing materials – will weave the story of how the sound of Classical Hollywood both defines the past and continues to shape the present.

Tickets are not required, but you may register for both the talk and the film screening on Eventbrite. Hope to see you there!


  1. As I used to emphasize when we gave tours/introductions to the riches of the Music Division, US benefitted greatly from the refugees fleeing huge transformation of Europe from pre-WWI to Nazi Europe and WWII.

    But what must it have been like emotionally to be live such cataclysms? How did Korngold adapt from bring fêted when a boy as the new Mozart by the likes of Mahler and then plunked down in LA/Hollywood? Granted he had lots of other amazing artist expats he may have reminisced with, from European film, music, and art world.

    But on a personal level, I wonder how difficult it was, or if it was difficult for Korngold to adapt.

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