Roters, Ernst


Ernst Roters was born in Oldenburg, Germany, on July 6, 1892. He worked as a composer, conductor and opera director.


Roters wrote his first film score for the 1932 documentary Frauen, Masken und Domänen. Under the Nazis, he taught at the Deutsche Filmakademie in Babelsberg from 1940 to 1944; he also collaborated with Erich Engel on Der Weg zu Isabel and with Veit Harlan on his adaptation of Tolstoy’s Die Kreutzersonate.


In 1946, Roters joined the DEFA Studio for Feature Films. He scored the first German postwar film, Die Mörder sind unter uns, which he recorded at the Johannisthal Sound Studio. Critics described his orchestral music as a “film symphonic work that is filled with impressive musical expressiveness.” In the following decade, Roters wrote scores for fifteen DEFA entertainment (Die Millionen der Yvette), historical (Das Beil von Wandsbeck) and costume films (Emilia Galotti), as well as for Wolfgang Staudte’s popular children’s film, Die Geschichte vom kleinen Muck. Roters also composed the music for Martin Hellberg’s biographical film Thomas Müntzer, one among five productions that Hellberg and Roters collaborated on. He also teamed up with directors Georg C. Klaren, Slatan Dudow, Erich Engel, Falk Harnack, Kurt Maetzig and Gustav von Wangenheim.


Roters’s last film, Am Galgen hängt die Liebe (dir. Edwin Zbonek), was awarded the Golden Spike at the 1961 Valladolid International Film Festival in Spain. It premiered two months after the composer’s death in East Berlin on August 25, 1961. Parts of his estate are archived at the Universität der Künste in Berlin.


1960 Am Galgen hängt die Liebe (Twenty Brave Men)
1957 Emilia Galotti
1956 Die Millionen der Yvette (Yvette’s Millions)
1956 Thomas Müntzer
1954 Stärker als die Nacht (Stronger than the Night)
1953 Die Geschichte vom kleinen Muck (The Story of Litte Mook)
1952 Geheimakten Solvay (Secret File: Solvay)
1951 Das verurteilte Dorf (The Condemned Village)
1951 Die Sonnenbrucks (The Sonnenbrucks)
1951 Karriere in Paris (Career in Paris)
1950 Familie Benthin (The Benthin Family)
1950 Das Beil von Wandsbek (The Axe of Wandsbek)
1949 Der Biberpelz (The Beaver Coat)
1949 Die Kuckucks (The Kuckucks)
1948 Und wieder 48 (It Happened in ‘48)
1946 Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us)
1940 Der Weg zu Isabel (The Way to Isabel)
1937 Die Kreutzersonate (The Kreutzer Sonata)
1932 Frauen, Masken und Domänen (Women, Masks and Domains; doc)


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