The forgotten years …

Timeline of the Leipzig Radio Choir  1924-1933

by Rüdiger Koch


The MIRAG music director Alfred Szendrei with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra and Radio Choir during a radio broadcast in the hall of the Old Stock Exchange, 1924.
In the centre a stand can be seen holding one of the white Reisz microphones that were typically used by the Central German Broadcasting Company.


Radio – the new medium of the 1920s  [I-02]

After the Berlin Radio Hour started broadcasting on October 29, 1923, the Leipzig-based Central German Broadcasting Company (MIRAG) was the second German broadcaster to go live. Leipzig’s central location in “Middle Germany” (Saxony, Saxe-Anhalt and Thuringia), its remoteness and thus independence from Berlin, and its significance as a cultural, commercial and industrial hub made it an ideal base for the central-German broadcaster.
The company was founded in January 1924 and launched at the start of the Spring Trade Fair in early March. The questions as to how the programmes should be presented, how the radio station was to be structured and what attributes and qualifications were required of the artistic directors were not ones that could be answered on the strength of past experience.

Initially, only the music of small ensembles was broadcast for technical reasons but the aim was to bring up the number of those involved to orchestral size. It therefore made sense to appoint a conductor as director of the music department. It would have been an invaluable benefit for this conductor to be well schooled in the Leipzig music scene. Alfred Szendrei, principal kapellmeister of the Leipzig Opera, was just the man. Both parties immediately took a liking to one another and hoped to benefit from the reciprocal relationship. MIRAG certainly had found an experienced conductor and, what is more, an artist who had long been involved in the Leipzig music scene.
For this reason my first consultation with Dr Jäger was very significant for him. I came straight from the opera, was on friendly terms with all the soloists and some prominent concert artists too, and Dr Jäger saw these as valuable benefits for the new company.






More Chapters of the Choir Timeline  1924-1933

[I01] The secret of an old photograph
  [I02] Radio – the new medium of the 1920s
[I03] Alfred Szendrei: Radio music and practice
[I04] The evolution of MIRAG: from house ensemble to smphony orchestra
[I05] Singing on air: the Leipzig Oratorio Association – Szendrei’s radio choir
[I06] Dr. Helmuth Weise: Rundfunkchorsänger der zwanziger und fünfziger Jahre
[I07] Das Ende der Ära Szendrei und das Ende der Leipziger Oratorienvereinigung
[I08] “An den Pranger mit Dr. Szendrei!”

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