Google+ Followers

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Anton Karas born 7 July 1906

Anton Karas (July 7, 1906 – January 10, 1985) was a Viennese zither player, best known for his soundtrack to Carol Reed's The Third Man.

Born in Vienna, of Hungarian and Czech origin, one of five children of a factory worker, Anton Karas was already keen on music as a child. He desired to become a band leader, which due to the family's financial situation was impossible. However, he was
allowed to learn to play an instrument, as were his two brothers and two sisters. He later reported that his first zither was one he found in his grandmother's attic, at the age of 12.

As ordered by his father, he started an apprenticeship as a tool and die maker at the age of 14, while also taking music evening courses at a private institution. He successfully finished his apprenticeship in 1924 and worked in a car factory until being unemployed in January 1925. Having already begun to study at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna in 1924, he subsequently earned his living as an entertainer in a Heuriger (a wine bar, typically with a garden, usually selling the year's new wine) and soon found himself earning more income than his father. He continued his studies until 1928.

In 1930, he was married, with the birth of his daughter following
three months later. From 1939 to 1945 he was with German Wehrmacht anti-aircraft warfare, temporarily in Russia, where he also took a zither along. He lost more than one instrument due to war action, but always managed somehow to find another one.

In 1948, director Carol Reed was preparing to shoot The Third Man in Vienna and decided to have Karas play the zither for the soundtrack.

The film -- with the music a contributing factor -- was a gigantic success, and Karas' life was changed drastically. As a result, he toured all over the world and performed for many celebrities, among them members of the British Royal family. Princess Margaret invited him to London's fashionable Empress Club, where he played twice a week during his stay at London. He also appeared before Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, members of the Swedish royal family, and Pope Pius XII.

Anton Karas - The Harry Lime Theme
By the end of 1949, half a million copies of "The Harry Lime Theme" had been sold, an unprecedented amount for the time. The success of the score also caused a surge in zither sales.

In Austria, the film opened on March 10, 1950, in Vienna's Apollo Kino, and it initially offended some Viennese inhabitants, as it focused on the disgrace of the destroyed city. Vienna's newspaper critics hated the film, except for its music. When Karas returned to Austria after his first world tour in July 1950, he was welcomed by chancellor Leopold Figl and other members of the government. Most importantly, the public liked the film. In Brigittenau, where Karas was born, people queued for tickets which were sold out eight days in advance.

Karas, however, disliked all of the glamour: "I never was a star, and

never felt like one. It is because of that film that I was pushed from one place to the other… My only desire was to be back home again." he stated later. However, he went on tour again in 1951, travelling to Montreal and Las Vegas, followed by a number of other tours, including Japan in 1962, 1969 and 1972, where he performed for emperor Hirohito.

In 1954, he opened his own Heuriger, which immediately was fashionable among cinema celebrities including Orson Welles, Gina Lollobrigida, Curd Jürgens, Hans Moser, Paul Hörbiger, Marika Rökk and Johannes Heesters, therefore becoming a tourist
attraction. However, he was still not satisfied, as he would have preferred to perform for locals who would understand him, his language and music. Because of this, he retired and retreated from the limelight in 1966, explaining: "I'm not a tourist guy, and what I did there hadn't hardly anything to do with 'Vienna Heuriger'."

He spent the rest of his life a beloved celebrity in Vienna, delighting audiences with zither performances that, to their surprise, were usually heavy on Viennese waltzes and operetta themes by Strauss, Millöcker, Zeller, Kálmán, and Lehár, saving the Third Man Theme for last.
(Info mainly Wikipedia)


1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For album of Anton Karas - The Third Man
go here:

01 The Third Man Theme (Harry Lime Theme)
02 Medley- Ay Ay Ay-La Paloma-Relecario
03 Vienna Bon Bons, Pt. 1
04 Rosamunde Polka from the Blue Danube
05 Weiner Blut- Tales from the Vienna Woods
06 Vienna Bon Bons, Pt. 2
07 Gold and Silver Waltz- Pikanterien Schonbrunner
08 Landler
09 Samt und Seide
10 Karasitaten- Mozart Waltz
11 Weiner Burger, Kukuds Waltz, Herinspaziert
13 Tiroler und Kartner Landerfolge
14 Herzchmerz und Amsel Polka