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Brahms and Korngold

Los Angeles Philharmonic / Los Angeles / Music

At age 11, Erich Korngold knocked Vienna’s socks off with his ballet Der Schneemann (The Snow Man). So hot was he at 23 that his opera Die Tote Stadt (The Dead City) received simultaneous premieres in Hamburg and Cologne. Well into his 30s, with Nazis on the march in Germany, he left Vienna for Hollywood, where he scored 16 feature films, cofounding the swashbuckling, many-splendored “movie music” style that flourishes to this day. He vowed to not compose in any other genre until Hitler was defeated. In 1945, with Berlin in ruins, he kept this promise in-reverse with this well-wrought Violin Concerto, which borrows liberally from the studio jobs that had been his bread and butter. Nicola Benedetti plays the solo part introduced in 1947 by the Olympian Jascha Heifetz. Post-intermission there’s the magisterial Symphony No. 4 of Brahms, which references Beethoven and may allude to Antony and Cleopatra. The conductor is Simone Young, a maestra of formidable authority. —M.G.

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