The Shellac Project

Deutsche Grammophon presents The Shellac Project – A series of digitized material from old Galvano ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ from the early 20th Century. These examples span several genres and periods, representative of the wealth of historic documents to follow.

Shellac Project Behind the Scenes (2018)Deutsche Grammophon

Sound Pioneer
Deutsche Grammophon has one of the oldest sound archives in the world, having taken care to store recorded material ever since its foundation. While its collection has suffered many losses over the years, with items destroyed in wartime or lost through mishandling, poor storage or physical deterioration, even some of the very earliest recordings have survived in good condition. Shellac discs (78s), which can still be played on old gramophones, could hold around four minutes of music on each side. They were the dominant recording format until around 1930, and continued to be used for some years after that. A number of historic recordings have now been digitised. For this collaborative restoration project with Google Arts & Culture, the digitised recordings have been created not from the finished shellac discs, but from the original matrixes. The digitised recordings have then been remastered as necessary. This has enabled a significant improvement in sound quality, although given the age and condition of these recordings, not all surface noise can be removed.

Leo Tolstoy: The Object of Life (English) from Wise Thoughts for Every Day (Rec. 31 October 1909) by the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

New Release

Leo Tolstoy reflects on nature of life in readings in German, French, English and Russian:

Just over a year before his death, Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) recorded extracts from his anthology Wise Thoughts for Every Day, otherwise known as A Calendar of Wisdom. Four of these – in German, French, English and Russian – have been specially restored and digitised for The Shellac Project. The writer’s universalist creed reverberates through the recordings, his subjects including the power of spiritual enlightenment, the imperative of personal responsibility and development, the folly of striving for material gain, and the cultivation of perpetual freedom. His thought-provoking insights, delivered in his expressive voice, emerge more clearly than ever before thanks to DG’s pioneering use of advanced digital transfer technology, which brings unprecedented sound quality to recordings made over a century ago.

Transcript:

That the object of life is self-perfection, the perfection of all immortal souls, that this is the only object of my life, is seen to be correct by the fact alone that every other object is essentially a new object. Therefore, the question whether thou hast done what thou shouldst have done is of immense importance, for the only meaning of thy life is in doing in this short term allowed thee, that which is desired of thee by He who or That which has sent thee into life. Art thou doing the right thing?

Leo Tolstoy: What is Religion? (French) from Wise Thoughts for Every Day (Rec. 31 October 1909) by the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Transcript:

La religion n’est pas une croyance établie une fois pour toutes, une croyance aux phénomènes surnaturels qui soi-disant se produisirent autrefois, ni la croyance à la nécessité de certaines prières et de certains rites. Elle n’est pas non plus, comme le pensent les savants, le reste des superstitions et de l’ignorance antiques, qu’il n’est, dans notre temps, d’aucune nécessité d’adapter dans la vie. La religion, c’est le rapport de l’Homme envers la vie éternelle, envers Dieu, rapport établi en accord avec la raison et la science contemporaine et qui seul pousse l’humanité en avant vers le but qui lui est assigné.
« L’âme humaine, c’est la lampe de Dieu », dit une sage expression hébraïque. L’homme est un animal faible, misérable, tant que dans son âme ne brûle pas la lumière de Dieu. Et quand cette lumière s’enflamme (et elle ne s’enflamme que dans l’âme éclairée par la religion), l’homme devient l’être le plus puissant au monde. Et il n’en peut être autrement, parce qu’alors ce n’est plus sa force qui agit en lui, mais celle de Dieu.
Voilà ce qu’est la religion et en quoi consiste son essence.


Translation:


Religion is not a belief, established once and for all time, in certain supernatural phenomena that supposedly occurred some time in the past, nor is it a belief in the necessity of certain prayers and rituals. Nor, as the scholars think, is it the vestiges of ancient superstitions and ignorance, which we do not need to adapt to our lives today. Religion is man’s relationship with eternal life, with God, a relationship established in keeping with contemporary knowledge and reason, and which alone pushes humanity forward towards its allotted goal.
“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord,” – so says a wise Jewish proverb. Man is a weak and wretched creature while God’s light is not burning in his soul. But when that flame ignites (and it does so only in a soul enlightened by religion), man becomes the most powerful being in the world. And it could not be otherwise, for then it is no longer his own strength that acts within him, but the strength of God.
This is what religion is, and what comprises its essence.

Leo Tolstoy: The Critical Moment in Life (German) from Wise Thoughts for Every Day (Rec. 31 October 1909) by the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Transcript:

Nichts ist so wahr, als dass der Gedanke an die Nähe des Todes alle unsere Handlungen dem Grade ihrer wirklichen Bedeutung gemäß für unser Leben einteilt. Einer, der zum sofortigen Tode verurteilt ist, wird sich nicht um die Vermehrung oder Erhaltung seines Vermögens, auch nicht um seinen guten Ruf, auch nicht um den Triumph seines Volkes über andere Völker, auch nicht um die Entdeckung eines neuen Planeten und ähnliches bekümmern, wird aber eine Minute vor der Hinrichtung den Betrübten zu trösten trachten, dem gefallenen Greise auf die Beine helfen, die Wunde verbinden, dem Kinde ein Spielzeug ausbessern und ähnliches tun.
»Für alle Tage. Ein Lebensbuch« von Leo Tolstoi
Herausgegeben von Dr. E.H. Schmitt und Dr. A. Skarvan, Dresden 1906, Bd. 1, 1987.


Translation:

Nothing is so true as the idea that the imminence of death arranges all our actions according to the degree of their real importance in our lives. A man condemned to immediate execution will not concern himself with increasing or preserving his fortune, or with his own reputation, the triumph of his nation over others, or the discovery of a new planet, and so on. A moment before he is executed, however, he may try to comfort someone in distress, help lift up an old man who has fallen, dress someone’s wound, mend a toy for a child, or some other such deed.
An excerpt from Circle of Reading by Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy: Man and His Freedom (Russian) from Wise Thoughts for Every Day (Rec. 31 October 1909) by the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Transcript:

Говорят, человек не свободен, потому что все, что он делает, имеет свою предшествующую во времени причину. Но человек действует всегда только в настоящем, а настоящее вне времени; оно только соприкосновение прошедшего и будущего, и потому в момент настоящего человек всегда свободен.
Не беспокойся о завтрашнем, потому что нет завтра. Есть только нынче; живи для него, и если твое нынче хорошо, то оно добро всегда.
Растут люди только испытаниями. Хорошо знать это и так принимать выпадающие на нашу долю горести, облегчать свой крест тем, чтобы охотно подставлять под него спину.
Если признаешь жизнь не в теле, а в духе, то нет смерти, есть только освобождение от тела.
Мы сознаем в душе нечто такое, что не подлежит смерти. Отдели только в своей мысли то, что не телесно, и ты поймешь, что в тебе не умирает.
Мы не имеем никакого права быть недовольными этой жизнью. Если нам кажется, что мы недовольны ею, то это значит только то, что мы имеем основание быть недовольными собою.

Translation:

They say man is not free, because everything he does has its preceding cause. But man acts always in the present alone, and the present is timeless; it is merely a link between the past and the future, and so, in the present moment, man is always free.
Do not worry about the future, because there is no such thing. Only the present exists; live for it, and if your present is good, then it is good forever.
People only grow through suffering. It is as well to know that and thus to accept the misfortunes that befall us; our burden will be lightened because we shoulder it willingly.
If we recognise that life is not of the body, but of the spirit, then there is no death, only liberation from the body. We can perceive something in our soul that is beyond death. Detach in your mind what is not bodily, and you will understand that what is within you cannot die.
We have no right to be unhappy with our life. If we feel that we are unhappy with it, then we should see this as a reason to be unhappy with ourselves.

Mitglieder der Kapelle der Staatsoper Berlin - Pietro Mascagni: “Intermezzo" (1927) by Members of the Staatskapelle Berlin, Cond. Pietro MascagniDeutsche Grammophon

1927: Pietro Mascagni himself leads members of the Staatskapelle Berlin playing the famous Intermezzo from his Cavalleria rusticana, proving that he obviously was not only a great composer but also a great conductor.

Staatskapelle Berlin, Cond. Erich Kleiber - The Moldau (excerpt) (1928) by Staatskapelle Berlin, Cond. Erich Kleiber, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1928, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

This 1928 recording is an early testimonial of Erich Kleiber's superb conducting. Together with the Staatskapelle Berlin he performs a fresh and vivid "Moldau".

Raoul Koczalski (piano) - Nocturne No. 2 in E flat major, op. 9 No. 2 (1936) by Raoul Koczalski (piano), ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1936, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Today Raoul Koczalski is still considered one of the most outstanding Chopin performers of all time. The pianist and composer, offspring of a Polish noble family, was a child prodigy who in 1897, aged just 12 , gave his 1000th concert. He was one of the first big stars to record for Deutsche Grammophon before the Second World War - afterwards, as he was Polish, his recordings were banned and he was forced to stay in Berlin without permission to perform. After the war, he was soon rehabilitated in both Germany and Poland, but died in 1948.

Mischa Elman (violin) - Hummel: Waltz in E Flat Major (1913) by Mischa Elman (violin), Percy B. Kahn (piano), ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1913, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

An early example of great chamber music recordings: Violinist Mischa Elman performs a charming Hummel Waltz together with Percy Kahn, recorded in April 1913.

Georg Kulenkampff (violin), Franz Rupp (piano) - Wagner, arr. Wilhelmj: Albumblatt (1935) by Georg Kulenkampff (violin), Franz Rupp (piano), ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1935, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

German violinist Georg Kulenkampff was very famous in Germany in the 1930s/40s, but died at the age of only 50 in 1948. This charming arrangement of Richard Wagner's "Albumblatt (Album Leaf)" for violin and piano by August Wilhelmj was recorded in 1935 and features Kulenkampff together with pianist Franz Rupp, one of the best chamber musicians and Lieder accompanists of his time.

Titta Ruffo - Gounod: "Valentin's Prayer" from Faust (1907) by Titta Ruffo (baritone) with orchestra, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1907, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

1907: Baritone Titta Ruffo, who was then considered one of the great “miracles” of opera, sings Valentin’s Prayer from Gounod's Faust - in his native Italian instead of the original French, as was the custom of the time. Although this recording is more than 100 years old it gives a vivid impression of the rich voice which was revered as a counterpart to tenor Enrico Caruso.

Tilt brush performance to "Valentine’s Prayer" (2018) by © Atma and The Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Tilt brush performance to "Valentine’s Prayer" from Charles Gounod’s opera "Faust", sung by Titta Ruffo, recorded in 1907

Tilt brush by Atma in 2018

Thomanerchor Leipzig, Cond. Karl Straube - "Du heilige Brunst" (1928) by Thomanerchor Leipzig, Cond. Karl Straube, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1928, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

The Thomanerchor Leipzig, once led by Johann Sebastian Bach himself, has always belonged to the most important performers of the composer's work. Conducted by their cantor Karl Straube the choir recorded parts from Motets in 1928, thus testifying the art of performing Bach at that time.

Tilt brush performance to "Dir Jehova will ich singen" (2018) by © Atma and The Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Tilt brush performance to “Dir, Jehova, will ich singen“ by Johann Sebastian Bach, sung by Thomaner Choir Leipzig, recorded in 1927

Tilt brush by Atma in 2018

Ural Cossacks Choir (Baritone solo - Lavrovsky), Cond. Alexander Scholuch - Stenka Razin (1928) by Ural Cossacks Choir (Baritone solo: Lavrovsky), Cond. Alexander Scholuch, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1928, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

The Volga Song "Stenka Razin" is based on the legend of a cossack leader who led an uprising in the 17th century. Being an anti-czarist song, it was popular and often performed during the Soviet era. In 1928 the Ural Cossacks Choir, founded only a few years earlier by Alexander Scholuch, recorded the Volga Song under Scholuch's direction.

Erna Berger (soprano), Staatskapelle Berlin, Cond. Wolfgang Martin - Mariä Wiegenlied, op. 76 No. 52 (1935) by Erna Berger (soprano), Staatskapelle Berlin, Cond. Wolfgang Martin, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1935, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Erna Berger is considered one of the most important and famous German sopranos of the 20th century, especially loved for her Mozart portraits. After having retired from stage at the age of 54 she still sang many Lied recitals, as Lied was very important to her. This song by Max Reger, an impression of St. Mary lulling her little Jesus boy, was recorded in 1938 at the height of her career.

Adele Kern (soprano) - Zerbinetta's Scene from Ariadne auf Naxos (1933) by Adele Kern (soprano), Staatskapelle Berlin, Cond. Alois Melichar, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1933, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Adele Kern was one of the famous German "light sopranos" of the 1920s/30s, much praised for her stupendous technique. Zerbinetta in Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" was one of her signature roles which she also sung under the composer's baton. Her big scene was recorded in 1933 with the Staatskapelle Berlin conducted by Alois Melichar.

Koloman von Pataky (Tenor )- Mozart: Un'aura amorosa (from Cosi fan tutte) by Koloman von Pataky (Tenor) with orchestraDeutsche Grammophon

Hungarian tenor Koloman von Pataky was one of the beloved stars of Vienna State Opera in the 1920s/30s and is considered one of the best Mozart tenors of the 20th century, as his recordings from 1927 prove.

Koloman von Pataky (Tenor) - "Freunde, vernehmet die Geschichte" from Postillon Song by Koloman von Pataky (Tenor) with orchestra, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

The Postillon Song shows Pataky's excellent qualities also in the French repertoire - though sung in German.

Margarete Klose - Seguidilla: Draußen am Wall von Sevilla from Bizet's Carmen (1941) by Margarete Klose, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1941, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Margarete Klose was one of the big stars of the Berlin Staatsoper in the 1930s/40s and was also a famous "Brangäne" in Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" at the Bayreuth Festival. This recording of Seguidilla from Bizet's Carmen, sung in German, was made in 1941.

Mattia Battistini (baritone) - Di Provenza il mar, il sol (1911) by Mattia Battistini, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1911, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

In his time, he was called "La gloria d'Italia": Baritone Mattia Battistini proves it in this glorious 1911 recording of "Di Provenza il mar, il sol" from Verdi's La Traviata.

Umberto Urbano (baritone) - Ay, Ay, Ay! (from Serenata Criolla) (1929) by Umberto Urbano (baritone) with orchestra, Cond. Johann Heidenreich, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1929, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Italian baritone Umberto Urbano was a star of the 1920s: not only because of his beautiful voice and superb technique, but also for his good looks … He was successful with both opera and popular songs, such as the Creole serenata "Ay, ay, ay".

Ludwig Wüllner: Ganymed (1915) by © Ludwig Wüllner, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1915, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Ludwig Wüllner, a celebrated German actor and singer of the early 20th century, recites one of Goethe's most famous poems: Ganymed. This recording from 1915 is a testimonial to the declamation style of that period.

Johannes Heesters with orchestra - Man müsste Klavier spielen können (1941) by Johannes Heesters with orchestra, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1941, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Dutch born singer and actor Johannes Heesters was very popular in Germany from the 1930s up until his death in 2011, at the age of 108. He was then considered the oldest active performing artist worldwide, having appeared on stage for 90 years. This revue song, suggesting that a man should be able to play the piano so he might be lucky with the ladies, became a legend.

Otto Reutter: Wie reizend sind die Frauen (1927) by Otto Reutter with orchestra, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1927, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Otto Reutter was a Vaudeville star in the 1920s Berlin who wrote all his humorous couplets himself. In this song in the Berlin dialect, recorded in 1927, he makes fun of both his time and his contemporaries: "Nothing strikes me anymore".

Tilt brush performance to "Wie reizend sind die Frauen" (2018) by © Atma and The Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Tilt brush performance to "Wie reizend sind die Frauen“ by Otto Reuter with his Orchestra, recorded in 1927.

Tilt brush by Atma in 2018

Lale Andersen with orchestra - In the Distant Tropics (Hein Mück aus Bremerhaven, German version) (1942) by Lale Andersen with orchestra, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1942, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

German singer and actress Lale Andersen was known worldwide for her performance of "Lili Marleen", a song that became synonymous for the homesickness of soldiers during the Second World War and was then forbidden in Germany. But Andersen also recorded it in English - as well as this bright song, originally referring to a popular figure from her native region Bremerhaven.

Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra - Handy: St. Louis Blues (1934) by Louis Armstrong & his orchestra, ℗ Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft 1934, and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

First released on the Brunswick label, the recordings made by Louis Armstrong in Paris in 1934 are well known to Armstrong connoisseurs but have so far only been available in inferior and damped-down sound. Deutsche Grammophon acquired the rights to these recordings in 1934 and has retained the original metal masters up to this day. Newly digitized, they can now be experienced in a quality better than ever before.

Tap dance performance to “St. Louis Blues" (2018) by © Andrew Nemr and The Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Tap dancing to Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra: “St. Louis Blues”, recorded 1934

Dance Performance: Andrew Nemr
Producers: Andrew Nemr, Michael Priddy
Director: Michael Priddy
Set design: Chad Kay
Editor: Stephen Caserta

Alois Melichar, Berliner Philharmoniker - Schubert: Symphony No. 8 " Unfinished" (1935) by Berliner Philharmoniker, Alois Melichar and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Austrian conductor Alois Melichar was also a music editor, composer, and the musical director of Deutsche Grammophon from 1927 to 1933. He was regularly conducting the Berlin Philharmonic with whom he made some remarkable recordings, such as Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony. After the Second World War Melichar pretended to have been banned from conducting since 1936, with intent to retrospectively play down his role in the Third Reich. But in fact he had been active in the Regime's service until the end of the war, not least as a composer of film scores.

Robert Heger, Staatskapelle Berlin - J.Strauss II: Wein, Weib und Gesang (1928) by Staatskapelle Berlin, Robert Heger and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

The 1928 recording of the Strauß Waltz "Wine, Woman and Song" is one of the earliest audio files of German conductor and composer Robert Heger. Being a sympathizer of the Nazi ideology, during the "Third Reich" he was quite involved with the Nazi Regime and became one of the most important personalities in Germany's musical life. However, after the war he was soon considered undischarged and could continue his career.

Váša Příhoda, Otto A. Graef - Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen (1935) by Váša Příhoda (violin), Otto A. Graef (piano) and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Violinist Váša Příhoda, born in 1900 in Bohemia (now Czech Republic), was one of the big instrumental stars of this generation, celebrating big successes all over Europe.

Váša Příhoda, Otto A. Graef - Paganini: Introduction and Variations on "Nel cor più non mi sento" (1938) by Váša Příhoda (violin), Otto A. Graef (piano) and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Váša Příhoda's career is said to have started with a performance of Paganini's "Nel cor più non mi sento" Variations which he played in a café in 1919, and which happened to be witnessed by famous conductor Arturo Toscanini. Nearly two decades later the violinist, now famous, recorded this work for Deutsche Grammophon alongside pianist Otto A. Graef. It was a work which came along with him a life long, and of which he also made his own arrangements.

Landon Ronald, London Symphony Orchestra - Borodin: Polovtsian Dance No. 8 (1910) by New Symphony Orchestra, London Landon Ronald and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Early testimonials of great orchestral culture are the recordings by
the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Landon Ronald. In 1910 they devoted themselves to masterworks of Russian Music such as the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin's opera "Prince Igor" and his symphonic poem "In the Steppes of Central Asia".

Landon Ronald, London Symphony Orchestra - Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia (excerpt) (1910) by New Symphony Orchestra, London Landon Ronald and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Early testimonials of great orchestral culture are the recordings by
the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Landon Ronald. In 1910 they devoted themselves to masterworks of Russian Music such as the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin's opera "Prince Igor" and his symphonic poem "In the Steppes of Central Asia".

Paul van Kempen, Berliner Philharmoniker - Liszt: Les Préludes (1937) by Berliner Philharmoniker Paul van Kempen and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

Franz Liszt's symphonic poem "Les Préludes" was presented in an
exemplary interpretation by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Paul van Kempen in 1937. As some years later the first main theme from Liszt's work was abused as war propaganda by the Nazi's weekly cinema newsreel - though using a different recording - , a dark shadow fell on this work’s reception and other recordings of "Les Préludes" from that time. However, now this multi-layered interpretation of van Kempen is considered one of the best.

B. Dessau, H. Grünfeld, M. Mayer-Mahr - Tchaikovsky: Andante cantabile from String Quartet No. 1 (1911) by Bernhard Dessau (V), Heinrich Grünfeld (Vc), Moritz Mayer-Mahr (K) and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

In 1911 Tchaikovsky's Opus 11, originally a String Quartet, was
recorded in a trio arrangement worth hearing. It was played by Bernhard Dessau (violin), Heinrich Grünfeld (cello) and Moritz-Mayer-Mahr (piano).

Leo Blech, Staatskapelle Berlin - Verdi: Sie flieh´n mich? Wie grausam! from Rigoletto (1933) by Hans Batteux, tenor Eduard Kandl, bass Artūrs Cavara, tenor Erna Berger, soprano Felix Fleischer-Janczak, baritone Karl August Neumann, baritone Staatskapelle Berlin Chor der Staatsoper Berlin Leo Blech and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

At the beginning of the 20th century Leo Blech was considered one of the most notable conductors of his generation, especially with regard to operatic life in Berlin, which he had strongly shaped. His artistic position was so stabilized that during the first years of the Nazi regime he had special permission to continue his work in spite of the fact that he was Jewish. But in the course of the dramatic events of the following years, Blech and his wife narrowly escaped being deported and fled to Sweden. After the war the conductor could continue his career for a few years. In his recordings of some opera scenes by Mozart and Verdi (1933) he is joined by some of the great singers of his time.

Leo Blech, Staatskapelle Berlin - Verdi: Nur Scherze sind's und Possen from Un ballo in maschera (1933) by Erna Berger, soprano Felix Fleischer-Janczak, baritone Artūrs Cavara, tenor Else Ruziczka, alt Eduard Kandl, bass Staatskapelle Berlin Chor der Staatsoper Berlin Leo Blech and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

At the beginning of the 20th century Leo Blech was considered one of the most notable conductors of his generation, especially with regard to operatic life in Berlin, which he had strongly shaped. His artistic position was so stabilized that during the first years of the Nazi regime he had special permission to continue his work in spite of the fact that he was Jewish. But in the course of the dramatic events of the following years, Blech and his wife narrowly escaped being deported and fled to Sweden. After the war the conductor could continue his career for a few years. In his recordings of some opera scenes by Mozart and Verdi (1933) he is joined by some of the great singers of his time.

Leo Blech, Staatskapelle Berlin - Mozart: Hm! hm! hm! hm! from Die Zauberflöte (1933) by Erna Berger, soprano Adele Kern, soprano Else Ruziczka, alto Max Hirzel, tenor Karl August Neumann, baritone Mitglieder der Kapelle der Staatsoper Berlin, dir. Leo Blech and the Shellac ProjectDeutsche Grammophon

At the beginning of the 20th century Leo Blech was considered one of the most notable conductors of his generation, especially with regard to operatic life in Berlin, which he had strongly shaped. His artistic position was so stabilized that during the first years of the Nazi regime he had special permission to continue his work in spite of the fact that he was Jewish. But in the course of the dramatic events of the following years, Blech and his wife narrowly escaped being deported and fled to Sweden. After the war the conductor could continue his career for a few years. In his recordings of some opera scenes by Mozart and Verdi (1933) he is joined by some of the great singers of his time.

Credits: Story

Digitized from metal masters used to manufacture shellac discs:

(P) 1904 - 1942 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin,
(C) 2018 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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