Rediscovering Korngold

It has been an incredibly long time that I last listened to Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s opera “The Silent Serenade”. It was back in my student years at the University of Bayreuth and it was just this week that I rediscovered Korngold – through a magnificent music festival called young euro classic. The Berlin summer is unimaginable without it because only young euro classic enriches our cultural lives with beautiful music performed by emerging artists.

This summer young euro classic embarked on new territory. For the first time an opera became part of the program. Korngold’s “The Silent Serenade” proved to be an excellent choice. A comedy with a serious background, a comedy with unforgettable music and a comedy with a moving love story. Is there anything more delightful to enjoy on a summer night in Berlin? I can’t think of anything better.

The NJO Sinfonietta and the Dutch National Opera Academy did an outstanding job and performed the opera with great precision, passion and lasting impact on the audience. Each and everyone of the musicians and singers passed their excitement and joy about Korngold’s wonderful work to the ladies and gentlemen in the audience. What crowned this performance were the humorous elements in “The Silent Serenade”.

Most charming about this year’s young euro classic was that the festival brought a great composer like Erich Wolfgang Korngold into our music world. For far too long Korngold has been forgotten in Europe. The Austrian wunderkind with a Jewish heritage saved his own life by seeking a new career in Hollywood. What was the United States gain, was our loss in Europe. The unique combination of popular melodies, irony and impeccable quality of music in his work make Erich Wolfgang Korngold worth to be rediscovered much more intensely.

About the Author
Saba Farzan is a German-Iranian journalist and Executive Director at Foreign Policy Circle, a strategy think tank in Berlin.