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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 100 (July 1947)

Bitter, John
Berlin philharmonic,   pp. 9-11 PDF (2.1 MB)

Page 11

on the right track, but I'm sure we
each could learn from the other."
S OME of the Beethoven Symphony
violin parts came from a Berlin
dentists' orchestra, other bits from a
wrecked library, others still had to
be copied, but the programs were
varied and generally well con-
It was late one night in August
1945. The phone rang. The music
officer answered. Leo Borchard had
just been accidentally killed by a
sentry. The driver of the car in
which he was a passenger had not
understood a signal to halt. The re-
hearsal the next morning was chaos.
The leaderless men ran around in
circles. A few indicated that they
thought the orchestra should disband.
This was too much for the aforemen-
tioned music officer. In the manner
of a college football coach exhorting
his men between halves he got up
and gave them a dressing down.
"You are practically the only group
in Germany upon which the rest of the
world could look with respect, and
yet you seem ready to give up be-
cause of an accident. A most tragic'
and unfortunate accident, but not
one that makes your situation hope-
less. The concert scheduled for
tomorrow will take place and there
will also be a rehearsal this after-
It seemed to do the trick. A rou-
tine conductor from the Staedtische
Oper,  allowed  to   perform  ac-
cording to directives of that time,
was pressed into service. Thus the
problem was solved temporarily. Now
the job was to look for a politically
acceptable conductor with a good
musical reputation to take over per-
manently. A musician with this com-
bination of attributes was not to be
found. There were good men in Ham-
burg and Munich, but they had jobs
and were not to be budged. All the
others had long ago left Germany or
were unacceptable for well-known
What to do? The situation was dis-
cussed with the orchestra. If an older,
experienced man was unavailable
how about giving a talented young
man a chance? There were actually
few of them around.- There had been
an orchestral concert in' July of the
same year given in the Kuenstlerhaus
in Zehlendorf, a small dilapidated
hall with a large hole in the ceiling.
During the Gluck overture the rain
had poured on the floor and drowned
out the soft passages. The conductor
looked odd, with long hair and an
obviously rented suit. Also, he had
a strange name-Celibidache-but he
had something. How about giving
him a try with the Philharmonic?
DOURING the last two seasons the
orchestra has given over 200
concerts - almost all of them con-
ducted by a most sensitive and mu-
sical young man. Sergiu Celibidache,
a 34-year-old Roumanian, has made,
a name for himself and Berlin as well
and the Philharmonic is exceedingly
proud of him. And with just cause.
His premieres of such compositions as
Schostakowitch's 5th and 7 th Sym-
4 phonies as well as US compositions by
Barber and Nabokoff and his, interpre-
tation of practically the entire classical
repertoire has been singularly fine.
Even the recent return to Germany
of Wilhelm Furtwaengler did not dim
the  lustre  of  Celibidache's  ac-
complishment. At this writing he is
touring the US Zone with the or-
chestra, having already made sev-
eral trips in the British and Russian
Zones. He has done exceedingly well
and it is no exaggeration to say that
the orchestra can once more be
ranked with the leading ones of the
If the term "Military Govern-
ment" means-instead of military
domination by an occupying power-
a necessary guidance that brings out
those qualities and potentials in a
defeated country that show ability,
imagination, and culture of a high
order, perhaps the efforts made by
the United States in behalf of such
musical organizations 'in Germany
will help greatly in establishing a
lasting peace in this world.
(Continued from page 5)
US Information Centers
books and Curriculum Centers estab-
lished by the Education and Religious
Affairs Division at Berlin, Bremen,
Munich, Stuttgart, Marburg, Erlangen,
Wiesbaden, Augsburg, and Karlsruhe.
Regular loan service has been in opler-
ation  at each  American-controlled
radio station in the US Zone.
In the next 60 days approximately
100,000 volumes are expected from the
United States and 40,000 volumes of
American titles in translation will be
obtained from Switzerland and Swe-
den. These publications, carefully
selected to meet the needs of the
German people, will make the US In-
formation Centers even more impor-
tant as centers of cultural, intellec-
tual, and research activitities.
E VEN during the summer season,
more than   42,000 individuals,
who borrow about 5,000 volumes week-
ly, now makle use of the US Infor-
mation Centers each month. During
the months ahead, it is expected that
attendance at the centers will in-
crease at least twofold -especially
where larger quarters are made avail-
able -  and that circulation figures
will rise still more rapidly.  These
figures indicate the welcome given by
the German public, particularly stu-
dents and professionals, to information
Part of the normal activity of infor-
mation centers is the promotion of
lectures and discussions.
THIS winter an intensified schedule
of meetings is planned for all
centers and film strips will be, used
wherever possible to illustrate the
A recently established exhibitions
and graphic display program will pro-
mote visual education projects in the
centers. The personnel in the centers
will, in turn, assist in setting up ma-
jor exhibitions.
Generally unknown are the reactions
of the German people to the ser-
vices of the centers. Some months ago
the head of the Social Studies Sec-
tion of a German university paid a
personal visit to the local US Infor-
mation Center to express his thanks
for the materials available to students.
"Without the help of the Center," he
declared, "it would have been impos-
sible for several students to complete
work on their Ph. D. degrees." Expres-
sions of such gratitude are received
daily in person and through the mail.
And each such expression shows that
an acute need is being met.
7 JULY 1947

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