Academic Day at the Forsaken Music Festival in Schwerin, Germany I November 10, 2023

This year’s 6th International Music Symposium as part of the Forsaken Music Festival in Schwerin, Germany, was dedicated to film music, under the title:

“Music is music. Whether it’s for the stage, the conductor’s stand or for the cinema.”

(Erich Wolfgang Korngold, 1946)

In the 1930s, numerous composers emigrated from Europe to the west coast of the USA, where they found a new field of activity in Hollywood: film music. Among the composers who would shape this genre for the coming decades are, among others: Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Waxman, Max Steiner, Hanns Eisler, Ernst Toch and Alexandre Tansman should be mentioned. Although many of the composers were very successful in Hollywood, their film music received little attention in Europe – or it was degraded as a commercial product of a ‘culture industry’.

Gerold Gruber gave the lecture:

Ernst Toch – the “most forgotten” composer of the 20th century

The Vienna-born composer Ernst Toch (1887-1964) was an important representative of New Objectivity in the 1920s. When the National Socialists came to power in 1933, he left Berlin and tried to earn a living in Paris and London, but ultimately emigrated to Hollywood via New York in order to survive as a film composer. George Gershwin invited him to a film project, but it was not realized. He scored 11 films for Paramount and earned Oscar nominations for “Ladies in Retirement” (1941) and “Address Unknown” (1944). Like Korngold, he tried to regain a foothold in Europe after the Second World War, but failed for similar reasons. He cynically said that he was the “most forgotten” composer of the 20th century.