Saturday, 18 August 2012

Dual Alliance

The Dual Alliance, I here you ask what is he on about, was a defensive alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary, which was created by treaty on October 7, 1879 as part of Bismarck's system of alliances to prevent/limit war, sort of fell apart in 1918 but this  last throw of the dice did produced some good recordings - also the Austrian Schubert and the Hungarian Liszt was a dual alliance of sorts - history lesson over, phew.

Satyr at 78 toeren klassiek has made available a whole shelf of electrical recording under Leo Blech so this earlier acoustic recording is really dedicated to his hard work.

Schubert-Liszt:  Ungarischer Marsch
(From Divertissement a l'hongrois D. 818)

Kapelle des Staats-Theater Opernhaus, Berlin
Conducted by Leo Blech

DGA 69554 [040938/9] 
[1165m & 1166m]

1 Flac  file HERE at Mediafire. [about 17Mb].

Liszt's piano arrangement is more readily recorded and performed than this orchestral version. Leo Blech recorded it both acoustically and electrically the latter version must have been abbreviated as it was reduced to one side as a filler on HMV D 1987.

During the dark days of the First World War  Kapelle das Stadst-Theaters Opernhaus under Leo Blech recorded quite a number of compositions of German, Austrian, Hungarian and Czech composers, just as in Britain, British compositions started to be recorded, most notably the start of the relationship between Elgar and the gramophone

The 'royal' was no longer appropriate after the collapse of the German Empire in 1918, the Opera was renamed Staatsoper Unter den Linden and the Königliche Kapelle became Kapelle der Staatsoper. Whatever name it chose to call itself we today know it as the Staatsoper Unter den Linden or Berlin Opera House orchestra today.

Although this has nothing to do with the music the orchestra or Blech  I will bore you for a minute on briefly outline how these records entered the UK. In 1914 The Gramophone Co. Ltd lost control Deutsche Grammophon Aktiengesellschaft [DGA] when it was seized as enemy property and sold by the German government to Polyphon who subsequently developed as an  independent entity. The Gramophone Co. Ltd also lost the use of the HMV trade mark's use in Germany to Polyphon and although the Versailles Treaty allowed the return of all matrices recorded before the outbreak of war everything recorded subsequently by DGA remained with the German company.  This record was pressed during that interregnum period after armistice but before the  final arbitration ruling on 22 July 1924 up until which time Germany continued  export with the HMV Trademark to countries that had been neutral during the war. After the a courts ruling records appeared for export under the Polydor label created specifically for this purpose.

Surprising anything actually got recorded, pressed and marketed in those confusing times; normally this record should have had the trade mark overlaid to hid the dog and gramophone. One example I have has it scratched out with a knife!


  1. Thanks, Jolyon! Also thanks for this nice acoustic Blech recording!

  2. Thanks, Jolyon, fascinating background!

    All the best,


  3. Very interesting - as always!