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)|
|1956||Die Millionen der Yvette (Yvette’s Millions)|
|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)|