Chapter 3

 3.  The 78s

  First, let’s look back the history of sound recording. I compiled it from the liner notes of two LP albums. The photo of Johnson came from those as well. The two LPs are as follows: 1) The LP released by RCA in 1977 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Edison’s phonograph and 2) The commemoration LP released by Victor Company of Japan in 1967 for the 40th anniversary of its foundation. Each LP includes one piece of music performed by Horowitz. 

 Around 1860, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, a scientist in France, was successful in recording sound, and he named the device the phonautograph. But it couldn’t play back the sound. In 1877, Charles Cros, a poet and inventor, submitted a paper about a process to record and replay sound to the French Academy of Sciences. In the same year, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph which could record the strength of the sound on a wax cylinder and save the sound. It was named “The Talking Machine.” At first, users of this machine had to insert a tube in their ears, like a doctor uses a stethoscope. Later, Edison improved the phonograph by adding a horn so that the sound could be heard by all the people near the machine. But he was not particularly interested in getting a patent for these inventions. In the meantime, from his Volta Lab in 1880 Alexander Graham Bell, who was Edison’s rival, released a sound replaying machine that used a wax cylinder. He named it the “Gramophone,” probably after his own name.

 Ten years after that, Emile Berliner in Washington D.C. invented a system to record sound not on a cylinder but on a circular disc with a rotational speed of 78 revolutions per minute (78 rpm). This was known as the Berliner Gramophone. Berliner did not call this machine a phonograph, like the one invented by Edison. As Berliner was a communication engineer, he must have chosen the name “Gramophone” in tribute to Alexander Graham Bell.


     the Berliner disc and Edison’s wax cylinder 


 The photos of the Berliner Disk and Edison’s wax cylinder shown here were on the website of the Yale University Music Library.

 Originally, people had to turn the record by hand to listen to the sound. But Eldridge R. Johnson, an engineer who lived in Camden, New Jersey, developed a better way to turn the records smoothly by using a spring.

 The Berliner Gramophone company owned by Berliner sent Johnson to the Gramophone Company in England in 1897. The Berliner Gramophone company gave the distribution rights for 78s and the manufacturing and sales rights of the gramophone in the U.K. to the Gramophone Company. The Gramophone Company in the U.K. also owned the HMV (His Master’s Voice) label. The Gramophone Company built a factory in Germany, and it became the basis of Deutsche Grammophon.

 The logo of a dog sitting in front of a gramophone and listening to his master’s voice is the trademark of the Gramophone Company (later called HMV) in the U.K. This mark expresses the origin of the record very well and represents the record itself as well. Originally, this mark was an oil painting by Francis Barraud. President Owen of the Gramophone Company bought this painting and started using its image in his company’s advertisements. The original picture showed a dog listening to the sound from a gramophone with a wax cylinder and horn. But after 78s had been released, a gramophone with a disc was used in the picture. This was around 1900. The dog is a small fox terrier and his nickname is Little Nipper. In 1987, this painting was owned by EMI. In a video documentary Maria Callas: Life and Art, EMI recording manager Peter Andry was interviewed in a room where this original painting was seen hanging on the wall behind him. In the painting, it looks like there is something like a wax cylinder instead of a 78 disc.


           E. Johnson 


 Johnson established the Victor Talking Machine Company (Victor) in 1901. As it had an exclusive contract with the tenor singer Caruso, Victor had a great start.

Berliner’s company and Johnson’s company jointly contributed to the progress of 78s. But around this time, the two companies were in dispute over the patents for the 78 record. Eventually Johnson bought Berliner’s patent rights and the legal wrangling was settled. In 1906, Victor invented the Victrola, a gramophone with a concealed horn, and it was a huge success, and the original gramophone with a horn started to lose its popularity. In 1922, Victor achieved the feat of selling one million records in total. However, as radio broadcasting started in 1920 and gained in popularity, Victor’s business declined rapidly. In contrast, RCA (the Radio Corporation of America), which had separated from General Electric (GE) in 1919, was growing fast. After establishing NBC (the National Broadcasting Company), RCA purchased Victor in 1929 and continued its work. That was the beginning of RCA Victor.

 Under these circumstances, RCA bought the trademark from HMV in the U.K. and used the HMV trademark as RCA Victor’s. Pathé in France has the right to use this trademark for its label “La voix de son maître.” Electrola/EMI in Germany and Japan Victor in Japan have rights as well. In Japan, imported records were not allowed to use this trademark even after 1960. So European EMI records that had the trademark dog logo on them were not allowed to be exported to Japan unless the logo was removed. Therefore, the trademark on LPs was either covered by black permanent marker or the dog logo was cut out with a knife so the LPs could be exported to Japan. As RCA Victor in the U.S. and Japan Victor had a business partnership, RCA Victor’s LPs were exported to Japan without any problems.

 78s (later called SP records, which is short for standard play as opposed to long play (LP) records which appeared after SP records) were invented in the U.S. And the HMV trademark, which represents the record culture born in the U.K., was spread around the world in this way.

 The size of 78s varies, and includes 10-inch, 12-inch and other sizes such as the 5-inch for children and the 16-inch for professionals. The most popular sizes were the 10-inch and 12-inch. But 78s broke easily because of the material they were made of.

 These pictures below were sold from the late 1930s to around the 1950s. As they were heavy and fragile, one piece was recorded on several discs. And 78s were often packaged in solid cases like albums.


                           78s 1, 2 and 3.


 Picture 1 is of an album of the Japan Victor Record Lovers’ Society made before World War II. It is eight centimeters thick and includes twelve 12-inch 78 discs. It is made of leather and looks luxurious. It came as a set of several boxes. I would assume that those were displayed on shelves in the living rooms of rich people. As they are heavy, metal handles are attached to the middle of the spines. Inside the album, records are placed inside sleeves. The selection of the music in this album is superb, and it must have felt like a treasure to the music lovers. This gorgeous album includes performances of the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Stokowski, instrumental music played by Casals, Paderewski, Elman, Segovia, Kreisler, Backhaus, Landowska, Tibor, Heifetz and Piatigorsky as well as various other pieces and choruses.

 The initial concept / idea for this album must have originated in the US. But it looks like the selection of the music was made by Japan Victor because Etenraku, a piece of Japanese gagaku (ancient court music), was included. This piece was arranged by Hidemaro Konoye for an orchestra and performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Stokowski. Around that time, various projects like this one to commemorate the 2600th anniversary of the Japanese imperial era (1940) were popular. During that year, the Japanese government asked Richard Strauss to compose music for the commemoration. His composition Japanese Festival Music was issued on 78s (two discs). (Note that this music was not included in the Victor Record Lovers’ Society album shown here in picture 1.) Strauss himself conducted the Munich State Opera Orchestra performing his piece for this record (the jacket says “Munich,” not “Bavaria”). Later, this piece was performed by the NHK Symphony Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi at its regular concert in April 2014 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth, and it was broadcast on TV on June 15. It was a large orchestra with an organ and a Japanese bell. They said that when this piece was performed at the Kabukiza Theater for the first time in 1940, a bell from a Buddhist temple was used in the performance.


      78s of the Japanese Festival Music 


 Similarly gorgeous leather albums of 10-inch 78 discs were also released such as the Victor Record Library for Every Home and the Music Masterpiece Collection. Performances by Horowitz are included on these records. Columbia also issued luxurious leather albums of 12-inch records titled Gems from the Great Masters. These are compiled by composer. The first volume, for example, is From Bach to Brahms. Victor also released a record called The Memorial Anthology of Great Artists. This record was probably in the form of an album as well. This album is divided by year and includes various players’ performances. The section titled “From 1910 to 1935” includes some performances by Horowitz, as well as by Backhaus and other players.


  SP pictures of the “Victor record library for every home” and

   the “Memorial Anthology of Great Artists” here


 This is a bit off-topic, but RCA Victor Studio is located in Camden, New Jersey, and faces Philadelphia across the Delaware River. In other words, this studio is almost next to Philadelphia. That is why the Philadelphia Orchestra often appears on Victor/RCA records. It costs a lot of money to move the many musicians of an orchestra to a location to make a recording. My guess is that Victor/RCA chose the Philadelphia Orchestra because of its location and high performance quality. I lived in Philadelphia for a year in 1968. As I had been listening to many records, the place name “Philadelphia” was already a familiar one to me in relation to the Philadelphia Orchestra. I had never been to the U.S. before, but as it was Philadelphia, I didn’t feel so nervous about going there. Around that time, RCA manufactured computers at its factory in Camden. The computer was invented by Professor Eckert and Mauchly around 1943 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and there were several computer factories including RCA and UNIVAC near Philadelphia and Camden. I was at UNIVAC then, developing software to connect computers via communication lines, which would become the basis of the Internet. At the cafeteria there, I sometimes saw Professor Eckert. One day, he happened to sit at a table next to mine, but I didn’t have the courage to talk to him. Looking back, I wish I had talked with him then just for a short time.

 Picture 2 is a HMV 12-inch 78-rpm record.

 Picture 3 is an album of Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 (U.S. edition) played by Horowitz. Each of the six 78s is placed in individual sleeves in the album. The records of concertos or long music are usually packaged in this kind of sturdy case, but single discs are basically placed in paper sleeves. The advertisements on those sleeves are very interesting as they show which records were released then.


     12 pictures of the SP record sleeves 


 As record sleeves are fragile, it is rare that the records still come with the original sleeves. There might have been occasions where the sleeves were replaced with new ones. In fact, most of the records I bought in France didn’t have the matching sleeves. Inside of the Japanese 78 record sleeves, we find liner notes printed on very cheap paper. My guess is that those were inside the 78 records sold after World War II. I have never seen liner notes like those inside the sleeves of 78s sold in Europe and the U.S.


  4 pictures of liner note samples in SP records 


A record album can stand on its own in a bookshelf, but a record disc itself cannot. As a result, special cases were manufactured for the storage of 78s. There were two kinds of cases: One was a big piece of furniture, and records were laid down horizontally in it. For that purpose, flat boards were set horizontally 5–7 cm apart from each other in the case, and several records were placed on each board. The other type of case was a box made out of strong paper that could house 10–12 discs. The records can be placed either horizontally or vertically in these boxes. Picture 4 is of a beautiful case made in France.


      French paper box 


After the 1950s, to overcome the fragile and heavy nature of 78s, some 78s were made out of the same material as LP records that were durable and light.

 At the beginning of the 20th century, electricity was not used to record on 78s. People had to make a speech or sing a song into a big horn to record the sound. The small acoustic vibrations caused by the sound were emphasized by the horn, and they were cut on a rotating disc. This is called acoustic recording. In the U.S., radio broadcasting progressed in the 1920s, and discs recorded by horn became temporarily obsolete due to the poor sound quality. However, around that time, the Western Electric Company, part of Bell Laboratories, invented the microphone, and in the mid-1920s Victor acquired the license for the microphone, and started recording with this much more advanced method. The microphone electronically amplified the sound and cut it on a disc, and this process was called electrical recordings. The sound quality improved dramatically with this new recording process, and 78s started selling well again.

 In 1929, Victor became a part of RCA, and it sold 78s under several labels from that time onward: Victrola (until 1929), Victor (until around 1940) and RCA Victor. The first recording of Horowitz was an electrical recording.

The recording of Horowitz on 78s was done by the Victor Talking Machine Company at the Victor Studio in Camden on March 26, 1928. It was the first recording for him. Then, the Gramophone Company (HMV) in the U.K. started recording Horowitz’s performances at Kingsway in London on December 29, 1930, and in Berlin on June 12, 1931. Horowitz recorded his performances many times with RCA Victor and HMV after that. Except for the private recordings made by Horowitz himself, these two companies were the only ones to record his performance. Both companies use the famous trademark of the dog listening to the gramophone.

 The following are the periods when the two companies recorded Horowitz on 78s:

      RCA* March 1928 – March 1930

      HMV December 1930 – March 1936

      RCA March 1939 – May 1951

      HMV October 1951

    * The Victor Talking Machine Company until it was acquired by RCA in 1929.

 In the early days of recording technology, the sound was cut on the original 78 disc directly. After the war ended in 1945, a new recording technique was invented in Germany, where the sound was recorded and edited on magnetic tape first and then cut on an original 78-rpm disc using a cutting machine. RCA might have used this technology, but it is not certain.

 The last new recording on a 78 record was recorded on magnetic tape and then cut onto the 78 by HMV on October 11, 1951 in London. All the 78s sold after that were either revival of past ones or simultaneous releases with a 45 and an LP.

 RCA’s last 78 recording was The Stars and Stripes Forever played by Sousa and Horowitz on December 29, 1950 in New York. It hasn’t sold any new recordings on 78s under its own label since then.

 Columbia Records in the U.S. invented the high-quality and sturdy LP (long play) record (33 1⁄3 rpm) in 1948. Then RCA introduced the EP (extended play, the so-called doughnut disc in Japanese; 45 rpm) in 1949. The EP had the same level of quality and strength as the LP. Because of these inventions, 78s gradually went out of fashion. As for the classical 78 record, its history ended in the 1950s.

 At RCA, recordings have been done on magnetic tape since May 9, 1949.

 RCA sold 63 Horowitz performances on 78s and HMV sold 67. Concertos and long pieces are packaged in beautiful albums. The below is the photo of the album. There are many other albums like this.


        17 album sleeves


 As RCA and HMV had license agreements with each other, records containing the same content were released by both companies. However, not all of the content was sold by both of them. For details, refer to Appendix I.2.3 at the end of this book.

 HMV and RCA both released LPs and CDs that had been released on 78s earlier. Tables 3 and 4 provide details of those releases.



 The 78s of Horowitz were sold by RCA in the U.S. and by HMV in the U.K. Licensed copies of those 78s were sold in many countries such as France, Italy and Japan. After 1950, 45s and LPs started to circulate in the market, but these two companies still sold the 78s of Horowitz even after 1951, as many people still owned gramophones on which they could play 78s. However, those 78s were just rereleases of past records. When newly recorded music was sold, it was released on 45 or LP, and a 78 was sold together with them. After 1951, no new recordings were sold solely on 78s.

 On May 12, 1934, HMV recorded a performance by Horowitz and sold it on a 78. But Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 No. 5 Black Key was not included on the 78. And this particular piece was never released on CD either. The reason for this was that Horowitz stopped the sale of this 78 (HMV DB-2238) right after its release. In 1935, he recorded this piece again and was satisfied with it. And this recording was sold on 78, LP and CD. This version of HMV DB-2238 included three pieces: Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 No. 5, Op. 25 No. 3 and Schumann’s Toccata. The Schumann piece was later released on 78 as DB-2247. This fact proves that Horowitz stopped the sale of the recordings of Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 No. 5 Black Key and Op. 25 No. 3 because he didn’t like his performances. Etude Op. 25 No. 3 was later released on LP and later on CD by Pathé. As a result, Chopin’s Black Key recorded in 1934 was never issued.

 Horowitz canceled the release of another 78 right after it went on sale. It was HMV DB-1869 and included performances of Rimsky Korsakov’s The Flight of the Bumblebee, Stravinsky’s Russian Dance from Petrushka and Poulenc’s Pastourelle and Toccata. However, Poulenc’s piece was included on the 78 mentioned above (DB-2247). It was also later issued on LP and CD as well. However, Rimsky Korsakov’s The Flight of the Bumblebee and Stravinsky’s Russian Dance from Petrushka were never sold on 78. Only Pathé in France released it on LP, but other labels around the world never did it for a while after Pathé. Considering this, I would say that Horowitz might have not been satisfied with his performances of The Flight of the Bumblebee and Russian Dance from Petrushka. Three pieces out of the four that Horowitz didn’t like were released on LP by Pathé, but I would assume that the company didn’t get permission from Horowitz to do so. Due to these circumstances, it was very difficult to find this LP, and I had to look for it all over the world. Luckily, I was able to find it anyway. In the U.K., the U.S. and Japan, these pieces were not released on 78 or LP. But now, many labels have issued them on CD. Only one piece was never released, even on CD.

 HMV recorded Horowitz’s rendition of Prokofiev’s Toccata on December 30, 1930 for the first time. But it didn’t release this recording on 78. In fact, although HMV had its own recording of this piece, it never released it. Instead, HMV got a license from to release Horowitz’s performance of the piece recorded in 1947 from RCA, and issued it on a 78 (DB-6971). That was probably not Horowitz’s choice. HMV must have disliked his 1930 performance. This piece has been released on CD now.

 HMV (EMI) rereleased most of its 78 recordings on LP. It also acquired licenses for many pieces from RCA and sold them on 78. But the four pieces below have never been released on LP by HMV or RCA:

 Liszt’s Valses oubliées recorded in 1930

 •Scarlatti’s Sonata L. 33

 •Poulenc’s Presto recorded in 1947

 Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 recorded in 1949

But Poulenc’s Presto was released on 45 and CD.

 HMV released many pieces, which had been recorded by RCA by 1950, on 78s. But HMV (EMI) did not issue them on LP or CD. But now, Naxos, HMV (EMI), RCA (BMG) have released CDs of all those pieces originally recorded on 78s, and we can listen to them on CD. There were a few pieces that were only released by Naxos. But after a while, RCA (BMG) issued all of them on CD. Eventually, except for one piece (Chopin’s Black Key recorded in 1934), all the pieces originally recorded on 78 became available on CDs released by EMI, BMG and Naxos.

  The 78 record numbers included here are mostly based on the discography compiled by Bob McAlear in the appendix of a book Horowitz written by Glenn Plaskin published in 1983. I also added the information on 78s that I had along with other data from the liner notes of various CDs.

 In Appendix I.2, I have listed the 78 record numbers of HMV and RCA, respectively. But these two companies had mutual licenses to sell 78s, so I have added information such as which company recorded the music and which one sold it with what record numbers. I have also noted which company got the license from the other party, and which one released it with what record number. In addition, I have added the years of the 78 release where possible.

 Appendix II.2 is a discography of the 78s. You can search for a piece by the date of performance and by which 78 record it is included in. I have listed the 78 record numbers by composer, piece and date. Since it is difficult to listen to 78s now, I have added the corresponding record number of the 45, LP or CD as well. With the help of these numbers, you can listen to music performed between the 1920s and 1940s. There are many more LPs and CDs than those I have listed here. I have mainly written about those released in the U.S. and U.K. The records released in Japan and France are marked (J) and (F), respectively.

 The below are the 78 record labels that I have amassed. I have categorized them by country. I have omitted the ones that have the same record number but slightly different labels. But I will show you one example of such a case. It happened because the record company used the same original record number when they rereleased the record. If I could, I would specify the original version when there are two 78 records with the same number. But research on 78s has not reached a point yet where that would be possible.


   Two pictures of records with the same record number but different labels.  


 Appendix V “Repertoire Listing” is a list of all the recordings by Horowitz that were released or distributed. If “78” is written with a piece, it means that the piece was released on a 78 record. In this Repertoire Listing, “78 – 45 – LP – CD” means that the 78 record was originally released on a 78 disc and then reproduced on other media such as the 45 record, LP and CD. However, around 1950–1953, LPs and 45s were sometimes released simultaneously. So the releases didn’t necessarily happen in this particular order.

  Horowitz entered into a contract with a Carnegie Hall recording service company. He personally recorded all of his performances (including encores) at his recitals that were held around 15 times at Carnegie Hall between March 28, 1945 and March 5, 1951. (The number of recitals could have been 14 or 17.) The recording was done by the 78 method (12-inch or 16-inch), but nothing was sold on 78. This collection, along with the programs of recitals and the newspaper article clippings, was all donated to Yale University by Mr. and Mrs. Horowitz, and it is called “The Yale Collection.” I heard a story that Horowitz had broken few discs before he donated them to Yale University. That could have encouraged him to donate the discs to keep them in secure place. In August 2013, Sony Classical released Vladimir Horowitz Live at Carnegie Hall in a box set that contains 41 CDs plus a bonus DVD Horowitz on TV. This set features not only the Yale Collection, but also other live recordings that Carnegie Hall owned. This set includes a number of unreleased live performances, and a part of the Yale Collection. Accordingly, we can listen to most of the Yale Collection now, but not all of it. For details, refer to Appendix IV.

 The labels printed in the center of 78 records are shown by country here. As the covers of 78 albums have already been shown, they are not included. I think 78 records were manufactured and sold in Germany as well, but I was not able to find any.


 1. 78 records of Horowitz sold in the U.K. (including some records made in other countries).


  Pictures of 78s of UK 


 2. 78 records of Horowitz sold in the U.S.


          Pictures of 78s of US


 3. 78 records of Horowitz sold in Japan


  24 pictures of 78s of Japan


 4. 78 records of Horowitz sold in France


  17 pictures of 78s of France

Column 4

Hidemaro Konoye Helps Jewish People Find Asylum

 In August 2015, an NHK documentary program was aired that featured a Japanese conductor Hidemaro Konoye, who helped many Jewish people emigrate from Germany and other European countries from the late 1930s to 1945. Hidemaro played in Europe during WWII, and when the war ended, he was detained by the U.S. Army in Germany. The record of his interrogation was recently found in the U.S. National Archives, bringing his activities into daylight.

Born in 1898, Hidemaro Konoye was a globally active conductor. He was from a noble family with a 1,400-year history. His elder brother Fumimaro was the Japanese prime minister when Japan was allied with Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy in September 1940.

Hidemaro had been playing the violin since he was small, and in 1923 he went to Germany for a year to be a professional musician. On January 18, 1924, he hired the Berlin Philharmonic for 400 JPY and gave a concert in a small hall (the Kammermusiksaal). The manager of the reference division of the Berlin Philharmonic testified in the NHK program that the orchestra was having trouble with finances due to inflation, so the hiring out of the orchestra was not uncommon. He added that Mahler also hired the Berlin Philharmonic to premiere his symphony No. 2 Auferstehung at the orchestra’s main concert hall.

In 1926, two years after Hidemaro came back to Japan, he founded the Tokyo New Symphony Orchestra (now the NHK Symphony Orchestra). Then, in 1930, he and the orchestra made the world’s first recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 4 (Peter Fulop: MAHLER Discography). While he was active in Japan, the Berlin Philharmonic formally invited him to make a guest appearance, and he accepted the offer. The concert was given on October 3, 1933, at which he conducted an orchestral arrangement of Schubert’s string quintet and Don Juan in the presence of Richard Strauss himself. After the concert, Strauss came backstage and embraced Hidemaro, lavishing praise on Hidemaro’s correct interpretation and great capability as a conductor.

 After this stupendous success, he led the Berlin Philharmonic several times, and by 1945 had conducted some 90 orchestral performances in München, Dresden, Warsaw, Helsinki, Moscow, Leningrad, London, Milan, and various cities in the U.S.

The NHK program aired footage of Hidemaro during his prime conducting at a French theater, where the swastika and the national flag of Japan were set up. His conducting method seems to be much the same as Karl Böhm’s. Hidemaro often conducted an orchestral arrangement of a gagaku (Japanese traditional music) piece called Etenraku with the Berlin Philharmonic and many other orchestras. This piece was popular among European audiences as the mode and tempo were completely different from those of Western music and excited curiosity.

From the mid-1930s, the Nazi Holocaust became more intense. As his former teacher Leonid Kreutzer had to leave his post, Hidemaro invited him to Japan in 1935, and then helped him seek asylum there. After that, Hidemaro also helped two other conductors Józef Rosenstock and Manfred Gurlitt migrate to Japan. Kreutzer taught and conducted while in Japan, and Seiji Ozawa decided to become a conductor when he listened to Kreutzer’s music after WWII.

The Nazis made law after law to prosecute Jewish people. So more Jewish people emigrated from Germany. But, in 1939, the government banned them from taking their property overseas. Leveraging his close relationship to the Imperial family, and as his brother was the Japanese prime minister, Hidemaro was able to gain a position as a staff member of the Japanese embassy in Berlin. Heinrich Liebrecht learned of this and asked him for help. According to the NHK program, Hidemaro, in secret cooperation with another Berlin-based Japanese embassy official Y, received refugees’ money and sent it from the Berlin Branch of the Yokohama Specie Bank via the Banco de Lisboa to overseas bank accounts in the U.S. or elsewhere. This greatly helped refugees overcome hardships in their new land. However, in the summer of 1941, an anonymous report led to Heinrich’s arrest and torture. Hidemaro apparently pulled strings behind the scenes; the torture ended and Heinrich escaped being sent to the gas chamber though he had to spend some time in a relocation camp. Heinrich’s mother had no place to go, so Hidemaro let her live in his house.

 Eventually, Hidemaro’s activities became known to Joseph Goebbels, the Reich’s Minister of Propaganda. The Japanese ambassador to Germany Hiroshi Oshima was put under pressure by the Nazis, and Hidemaro was banned from traveling in or being active in Germany. However, with support from Carl Lehmann, a musician who played in countries occupied by Germany, he changed his area of activity to that occupied by the Nazis.

From 1943 to 1944, Hidemaro was able to conduct orchestras in Brussels, Warsaw, Paris and many other occupied cities. On September 28, 1943, he directed the Stadtisches Orchester Warschau’s performance of Schubert’s Unfinished in Warsaw, a city that had been reduced to a heap of rubble.

 When the war ended in April 15, 1945, Hidemaro returned to Germany and stayed near Leipzig. Then the U.S. troops arrived there, and on April 16, he appeared at the army headquarters and was immediately detained. As a younger brother of a former prime minister, he was apparently treated badly, but the leading interrogator Fredrich Newman always took care of him and occasionally provided everyday items and newspapers. After a month-long interrogation, the record of interrogation was prepared. When Newman left his position, he talked to Hidemaro about himself for the first time. He was a Polish Jew and played the violin professionally. He happened to be an orchestral member when Hidemaro conducted a concert in the U.S. Newman kept this to himself until the interrogation was over. Hidemaro gave Newman a medal that he had received from a European country as a keepsake.

 In December 1945, Hidemaro returned to Japan and met his brother Fumimaro. Fumimaro said, “You are lucky because you are a musician.” On that day, Fumimaro received a summons from the U.S. Army to answer charges as a war criminal, and he killed himself.

In post-war Japan, Hidemaro pursued his musical activities and was also keen on teaching until he died on June 2, 1973. I was lucky enough to listen to him conduct an orchestra in 1950.


Hidemaro Konoye