In Werke für Violine und Klavier, the interplay between grotesque humour and instant melodic upswings the piece demonstrates the amazing plasticity of the young Korngold’s inventiveness. Korngold draws on the classical forms in the String Sextet in D, but realizes them individually; the tonal harmonies are sometimes stretched to their limits, without touching their significant function; though the six voices are conceived polyphonically, they can resound orchestrally – all this is part of the trade of the ingenious adolescent.
Korngold’s ballet ‘The Snowman’ (Der Schneemann) was one of his early major achievements written at the age of eleven. Shortly afterwards he composed Wichtelmännchen’ and the ‘Caprice fantastique’ from the ‘Fairy Tale Pictures’ Op. 3 for piano. Two hits from the successful opera ‘Die Tote Stadt’ follow: ‘Glück, das mir verblieb’ andthe ‘Tanzlied des Pierrot’ are essentially waltzes, highly eloquent in the versions for violin. The Sextet stems from 1914/15, just after the completion of ‘Violanta’; the première being given in 1917 by an ensemble directed by Arnold Rosé, the famous concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic. Korngold draws on classical forms, but touches with the gifts of an ingenious adolescent, evoking comparison with passages of the Schoenberg sextet ‘Verklärte Nacht’ of 1899.