Freunde, schöner Telefunken…

Some of our members have finely tuned ears! They have discovered that Gluck’s Overture to Alceste, listed in the contents of the boxset Berlin/Archives 1939-1945 published by the Berliner, greatly resembles —but really greatly— the same overture recorded in studio by Telefunken (29 October 1942) following the concerts (25 to 28 October). The label presented it, however, as in fact coming from the concert itself, along with Schumann’s Cello Concerto and Bruckner’s Fifth.

Many elements support their assertion:
– the acoustics are not the same: Singakademie for the disc, Philharmonie for the concert,
– the medium is typical of the 78rpm record: a slight but persistent crackle and no use of a tape,
– the public is oddly silent,
– the timings are absolutely identical and a few small noises occur in the same places…

It is evident that the producer introduced a foreign element into the programme: a commercial disc alongside live performances, in order to ‘fill the gap’, the tape of Alceste not having survived!

In itself this is not so dramatic; yet it would have been correct to mention it and explain it.

As always the SWF is careful to ensure the precision of its data. With our thanks to Roger Smithson, Philippe Jacquard and a few others for the pertinence of their observations.

20 June 2019

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