Karl Böhm's Dresden Farewell Concert In 1979
Audience; Böhm, Karl; Staatskapelle Dresden
Unlike the last Karl Böhm set with gramophone recordings of overtures and concert pieces, the recordings in this new release are all radio broadcasts. The exciting thing is that the Schubert Fifth Symphony is one of the earliest radio magnetic tape recordings that we have. The 1941/42 season had just ended when the stage of the Steinsaal in Dresden’s Hygiene Museum was first prepared for use as a broadcasting studio for the programmes of Reichssender Berlin. In contrast to the gramophone recordings current until then, brand new magnetic-tape players were humming in an adjoining room, in service for the first time that year as a high fidelity replacement for the disc cutters that had been used for the past decade and more. The use of magnetic tape opened up a new and more varied world of sound to the broadcasting technicians. Whereas music programmes had previously broadcast longer works from discs playing for three or four minutes, involving constant changes of disc, the broadcasting engineers now had a “sound scribe” and the associated “magnetic tape” medium that would record and transmit recordings lasting up to 20 minutes per tape plate. That meant that complete movements of symphonies could be recorded and played without a break. No wonder, then, that the “Magnetophone” tapes promptly replaced the highly breakable wax discs. Musicians and conductors were equally appreciative of the new recording method, given that it was no longer a matter of the highest priority to play with maximum concentration and minimum error for as long as possible, since the Tonmeister’s “magic snips” would leave any mistakes or shortcomings on the cutting-room floor. The 1942 recording of Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 presented here is a priceless early audio document, surely the first attested Magnetophone recording by the Dresden Staatskapelle.