Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

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brendangcarroll

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Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 6:35 am

An interview I gave in Vienna in 2007 has recently been uploaded to Youtube, which some here may find of interest:-

It is in 3 parts and the direct links are as follows:-

https://youtu.be/PJ0TtCjWeiY



https://youtu.be/EdCfbMtejbg



and

https://youtu.be/tenkjidaorw

Last edited by silentfilm on Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Embedded YouTube links
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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bobfells

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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 9:41 am

Brendan,

I just finished watching your three-part interview and enjoyed it very much. I didn't know that Steiner worked in television. Do you know any of the shows he wrote for? Did he write theme music as well as scoring the story?
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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostTue Jun 21, 2016 10:17 am

Bob -

As you know, Max Steiner was under regular contract to Warner Bros so when the studio ventured into television, he naturally had to perform all scoring duties assigned to him. I don't have a complete list of his TV credits but he did work on the 1955 series based on the 1942 film KINGS ROW and wrote a new main theme for that. I would love to know if Korngold ever saw it!

He also wrote music for Hawaiian Eye, FBI Code 98 (a TV movie from 1963) Sugarfoot and (I believe) some cues for the TV short lived series of Casablanca also in 1955!

I have never seen any of these and have no idea if they even survive in the vaults.
Perhaps others more knowledgeable on thisforum may know more...?

Glad you liked the interview!

Best,
Brendan
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 9:54 am

Brendan,

Not to question your expertise, but I understood (perhaps incorrectly) that Steiner's first symphonic score was BIRD OF PARADISE (1932), not KING KONG. Perhaps I'm just splitting hairs.

Bob
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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 12:33 pm

Bob -

It's really a question of what you'd call a "symphonic score". BIRD OF PARADISE is really accompanied by a kind of melandof South Sea Islands pastiche of popular melodies with an original theme by Max for the main title (that was also issued on a 78rpm shellac, in itself a kind of "first" I believe).

Some scholars like to declare SYMPHONY OF 6 MILLION as the first movie with a symphonic score (by Steiner), adroitly forgetting several important silent features that had bespoke musical scores especially written for them.

For Max, there is nothing before KING KONG that comes any where close - it uses an orchestra of 70 players (itself unheard of at the time) and once we get to Skull Island, the music is almost non stop. Oscar Levant called KONG "a Steiner Symphony accompanied by some nice pictures" and in a way his gag hits the mark. KONG is the first truly foreground score which, charming though it is, BIRD OF PARADISE is not.

Perhaps I was not too detailed as I might have bee in the interview but this was originally done for an Austrian TV audience (the original had subtitles) so I kept it tight and succinct. To get into specific STEINER films that most in Austria have never heard of, still less seen on TV, seemed to me to be a bit too much for the purpose.

Incidentally, Steiner's score for 1932's THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (aka THE HOUNDS OF ZAROFF) could also claim to be Steiner's first attempt at a symphonic score and also predates KONG.....

best always

BRENDAN
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 1:05 pm

Thanks Brendan. A short anecdote may amuse you. When I was about 8 years old and lived in NY, a local TV station owned by RKO, WOR-TV, began running the RKO library of films mostly from the 30s. For whatever reason, they ran SON OF KONG first but because it was too short for the time slot (shown twice on weekday nights and all day on Saturday/Sunday for the week), they added the last 15 mins or so of KING KONG. I didn't know it was two different films so I couldn't understand why SON had such a great opening but then went downhill!

Anyway, the point of this story is that I really became attuned to the music score and eventually WOR ran KONG all by itself. My sister had a reel-to-reel tape recorder that she let me use to record the soundtrack - it was low tech - by holding the microphone next to the TV speaker. Actually, the results were pretty good. I would play that tape every afternoon as I did my home work. I must have heard it a couple of hundred times at least. Later I did the same with Waxman's score for BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Scenes from a misspent childhood!
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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 2:38 pm

Bob -

It would seem that we both had a misspent boyhood.I recorded dozens of films by taping a microphone to my parents' TV and insisting on total silence! Somehow, I got my way. I usually recorded films because I loved the music - so Newman's Wuthering Heights, all of Korngold's greatest (naturally) Steiner's Now Voyager and especially A Dispatch From Reuters and Waxman's Rebecca were all recorded and played over and over again. This probably explains why I can still recite pages of movie dialogue from these films.

Of course it was long before home video, dvd or bluray and was the only way to revisit one's favourite films. Happy Days!

By the way, I still have all those old tape reels (not cassettes) and could never part with them.
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 6:01 pm

Well, that's three of us, although mine were on cassettes with the mike held up to the speaker on the teeveeola. To this day, because of those tapes, I can recite entire stretches of dialog from The Abominable Dr. Phibes as well as a partial "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz. Alas, on that one the tape ran out right in the middle of the song.

"I could dance and be merry life would be a..."
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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 6:27 pm

My room was in the attic and my two sisters' had their rooms directly beneath the attic of the second floor. When I played Waxman's BRIDE soundtrack - every day as I did my 7th grade homework, they would yell up to me complaining about the heartbeat theme (bump, bump, bump) in the laboratory scene. It drove them crazy.

One more: I would ask my schoolmates if they saw KONG or BRIDE on TV. If they said yes, I would ask what they thought of the music score. The answer I almost always got was "What music?"
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Re: Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

PostWed Jun 22, 2016 8:43 pm

oldposterho wrote:Well, that's three of us, although mine were on cassettes with the mike held up to the speaker on the teeveeola. To this day, because of those tapes, I can recite entire stretches of dialog from The Abominable Dr. Phibes as well as a partial "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz. Alas, on that one the tape ran out right in the middle of the song.

"I could dance and be merry life would be a..."



Count four, i did this too, except mine were long stretches of Marx Brothers and Fred Astaire movies. But i caught a lot of Fay Wray's screaming as well.

greta
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