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From Hell to Hollywood: Jewish Film Score Composers in Exile, with Mark Levy
During the first half of the 20th century, many Jewish composers escaping Hitler’s Third Reich left Europe and found their way to Hollywood, where they composed scores for the film industry. Among the notables were Max Steiner, Erich Korngold, Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Wachsman, Werner Richard Heymann, Ernest Gold, Hans Eisler, and Kurt Weill. Except on the rare occasions they were specifically writing for Jewish-themed films, these composers left little trace of klezmer or Yiddish folk motifs in their compositions; for the most part, these men were classically trained in 20th century composition, and quickly adapted to the Hollywood “sound.” We will hear (and see) examples of their work from the mid-20th century, and pay particular attention to themes and styles.
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