Korngold, Erich Wolfgang. (1897–1957) [Friedman, Irving "Izzy." (1903–1981)]

The Sea Hawk - Inscribed Presentation Copy of Dye-Line Film Score, with AMQS and Original Photographs

Rare original conductor's score to Erich Korngold's music for the 1940 Warner Brothers film The Sea Hawk, inscribed and signed by the composer with a musical quotation to Warner Brothers orchestra manager and assistant head of music, Izzy Friedman. Korngold has penned on the first blank page: "Dear Mr. Izzy Friedman / Please accept my score for the 'Sea Hawk' as an advanced Xmas gift 1940!! Thanks a million for your splendid cooperation and be assured of my friendship! Sincerely yours, Erich Korngold / Hollywood / Aug 14, 1940," adding an autograph musical quotation of four measures at the foot. The music is an ozalid facsimile of a professionally hand-copied score, written in a condensed form over four staves, rather than in open score. Markings have been made throughout in red pencil, including circled rehearsal numbers and underlined tempo indications and instrument indications, and on a few pages additional performance marks have been made in red or black pencil. A cut of 17 measures has been made in black pencil to no. 3, "Donna Maria." Bound in before the first page of music is a sheet of information about the music, listing the production and musical staff of Warner Brothers (including four orchestrators, Hugo Friedhofer, Ray Heindorf, Milan Roder and Simon Bucharoff) and the musical numbers with the orchestrator of each and its length. This page is signed at the foot by the copyist and Korngold's secretary, Jaro S. Churain. Approximately two dozen evocative original stills from the film are mounted throughout the two volumes.

86 musical numbers, 684 pp. (with each number paginated separately). Two volumes, hardcover, blue cloth boards with black labels to the spine and silver labels to the front boards. Spines creased, light shelf wear and toning, overall fine. With decorative red, green, silver and blue wrap-around case in fair condition (heavy wear to edges, large loss to spine.) 9.5 x 12.5 inches (24 x 31.5 cm).

Korngold's score for the 1940 Warner Bros. swashbuckler The Sea Hawk, starring Errol Flynn, represents a high point of Hollywood Golden Age film scores. Perfectly suited to the film's rich period atmosphere, the music is highly colorful, with everything from triumphant trumpet fanfares to lush romantic melodies and ample chromaticism. One particularly beautiful melody, the lute song for the character Marie, was later recycled by the composer for use in his Five Songs for voice and piano, Op. 38. In 1972, the Main Title and Reunion Finale from the score were recorded by Charles Gerhardt and the National Philharmonic Orchestra for RCA, together with excerpts from many of Korngold's other film scores. It was this recording which ignited a resurgence of interest in Korngold's work, and famously inspired George Lucas to ask John Williams to compose a similarly romantic, "swashbuckling" score for the Star Wars films. 

The score to The Sea Hawk is now most frequently heard in the form of an orchestral suite, with at least two arrangements widely available. The complete score, restored by John Morgan, was recorded in 2007 by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra for Naxos. However, the complete film score has never been published.  The present condensed form score was likely privately issued in a very limited number of copies and we have traced no copies in OCLC.

Austrian-born composer Erich Korngold was a child prodigy who who rose to fame in pre-war Europe for his operas and instrumental music. In 1934, he moved to the United States, where he became one of the most prolific and influential composers of film music. His 16 film scores, two of which won Oscars, included music for A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) and Kings Row (1942).

Irving "Izzy" Friedman began his career as a jazz clarinetist and recorded and performed in the 1920's with Paul Whiteman and Bix Beiderbecke, among others. After he played a role in Whiteman's 1929 film King of Jazz, Friedman was hired as Warner Brothers' orchestra manager. In 1934, he became assistant head of Warner's music department, before leaving to join MGM in 1943. In 1950 he founded his own music and sound effects firm, Primrose; he also composed music for television, served as musical director for more than 50 films, and was regarded as the premier organizer of studio orchestras in the U.S. (17487)

Printed Music
Signed Document/Item
Classical Music