Saturday, 31 May 2014

Dirigible Music

Hermann Männecke"Graf Zeppelins" Weltreise 
Rund um die Erde - Großes Potpourri. 

Orchestra of  the Berlin Staatskapelle 
conducted by Dr Frieder Weissmann

Parlophone E10951

(Matrix Nos xxB 8393-2 & xxB 8394-2)
Tuesday, 10th September, 1929

One Flac file, Here at Mediafire. [about 24Mb]

The label on this British issue as you can see only gives half the story of this once 'topical' record and for some odd reason drops the name of both orchestra and conductor too. I can understand the wish to miss out the Zeppelin name because of the fairly recent raids during the First War but it is more likely that the loss of the British Airship R101 in September 1930 may have caused a label change! 

The composition celebrates the airship LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin circumnavigating the globe in 1929. It was really a trip round the northern hemisphere and depending on which starting point you want to pick the trip either started and finished at Lakehurst in New Jersey or Friedrichshafen in Germany.

Thus each leg of the journey was as follows:-

Friedrichshaften-Lakehurst: August 1, 1929- August 4, 1929
Lakehurst - Friedrichshaften: August 7, 1929 – August 10, 1929
Friedrichshafen – Tokyo: August 15, 1929 – August 19, 1929
Tokyo – Los Angeles: August 23, 1929 – August 26, 1929
Los Angeles – Lakehurst: August 27, 1929 – August 29, 1929
Lakehurst – Friedrichshafen: September 1, 1929 – September 4, 1929

Wikipedia et al take the Lakehurst position but our composer clearly preferred the Friedrichshafen one. He must have dashed the piece off in August 1929 for the recording was made within a week of the Graf Zeppelin landing back home.

Of Hermann Männecke (1879-1950) I have little to tell and can only transcribe the information in Wikipedia. Hermann was born and studied music at Hanover, he conducted his own band Blasorchester Hermann Männecke made a number of recordings and broadcasts. In 1931 Männecke became head of the orchestra class at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. He made a large number of adaptations of classical music, but also  wrote his own work. Along with other composers and arrangers (Georg Haentzschel, Gerhard Winkler, Hans Mielenz etc.) on November 29, 1950, he founded the Vereinigung Deutscher Musik-Bearbeiter eV (Association of German Music Arrangers). 

This is a film of the Graf Zeppelin over the Netherlands dropping a mail sack as it passes by.


  1. Thanks, Jols - another item I never knew existed!

  2. FYI, Lakehurst is in New Jersey, not New York. Ironically,
    the conductor Frieder Weissmann became Music Director
    of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra from 1940 to 1947.

    1. Dear Jerry
      Sorry about that, have now corrected my fiction to fact. As Nick mentions I had no idea that Weissmann conducted the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, I take it almost for granted that these so called 'house conductors' were really talented, versatile people, even though in his case he was forced to leave Germany. I must now read up on him!

  3. Great post, Jols - thanks! Fascinating about Weissmann in NJ, too! Best wishes, Nick

    1. The NJ connection is news to me too!


  4. There is a film, made by Ditteke Mensink (The Netherlands, 2009), titled "Farewell", about this Zeppelin voyage, from the view of an American journalist, Lady Grace Drummond-Hay, who travelled in the Zeppelin. A beautiful movie! I have the DVD and it's amazing!
    Look .
    Thanks for this record!

    1. Thanks Satyr, I looked at the movie clip, it looks like a very civilized way to travel.