The 11-year-old Erich Wolfgang Korngold began his career with the piano version of the ballet The Snowman. Orchestrated by his teacher Alexander Zemlinsky, the pantomime had its world première on 4 Oct 1910 at the Vienna Hofoper, where it was conducted by Felix Weingartner, Mahler’s successor at the Vienna State Opera.
The success of this early piece was due to the original melody and extraordinary theme in particular and made ‘the little Korngold’ known far beyond the boundaries of Vienna. The music is thoroughly charming, full of refined melodic and harmonic ideas, and does not sound at all childish.
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