SYMPHONY IN F SHARP, ETC.
of London / John Wilson
Chandos CHSA 5220
Korngold (1897-1957), born in
Brno, Czechoslovakia, was a child
prodigy who had composed a widely
performed pantomime at the age of
11 and a piano trio at 12. He
seemed set for the career of a
respected classical composer in
Vienna, where most of his early
life was centred.
But in 1934, when
he was beginning to fall out of
favour with Herr Hitler and his
ghastly gang, he accepted a
commission to adapt A
Midsummers Night Dream
for Hollywood. This led to Warner
Brothers giving him a free option
to write music for any film that
took his fancy.
Some of the finest
film scores ever written were the
result, including 'Anthony
Adventures of Robin Hood'
(both winning Academy Awards), 'Captain
Blood', 'The Private Lives of
Elizabeth and Essex', 'Of Human
Bondage' and 'The Sea
Over 13 years
Korngold became one of the
foremost in his field. He then
found time to return to writing
classical music and in 1947 his
violin concerto was premiered by
Jascha Heifetz, in his day the
world's greatest violinist.
in F Sharp heard here
started in 1947 and completed
five years later is
dedicated to the memory of
President Franklin D Roosevelt.
In his detailed liner notes
Korngold's biographer, Brendan G
Carroll, calls it arguably the
composer's most important
The album is
completed by two shorter works
the last that Korngold
wrote commissioned by the
American School Orchestras
Association. Theme and
Variations is marked to be
played 'like an Irish folk tune',
which is then treated to seven
contrasting variations. The
second work, Straussiana,
is an arrangement and
re-orchestration of music by one
of Korngold's own musical idols,
Johann Strauss II.
The Sinfonia of
London is a name from the past.
Originally formed in 1955, its
recordings were among the first I
started to collect as a member of
the World Record Club. It was
re-established in 2018 by John
Wilson and this is its first CD,
issued in partnership with
Chandos Records. The orchestra
leader is Andrew Haveron who used
to lead John's wildly successful
hand-picked BBC Proms orchestra.
recording, made in the Church of
St Augustin, Kilburn, London, is
of the customary high standard
set by this label, although the
timing is rather less than we
have come to expect.
We can look
forward to another SoL release
early in 2020.