C0189. LEO BORCHARD Cond. Berlin Phil.: Oberon – Overture (Weber); Stenka Razin (Glazounov); Nutcracker – Suite; Romeo and Juliet (both Tschaikowsky). (France) Tahra TAH 520, recorded 1934-45. Final Sealed Copy! - 3504129052010
“Borchard was born in Moscow to German parents, and grew up in Saint Petersburg where he received a solid musical education, as well being a regular visitor to the Stanislavsky Theatre. In 1920, after the Russian Revolution, he emigrated to Germany. Otto Klemperer engaged him as his assistant at the Kroll Opera in Berlin (Klemperer, lacking confidence in his own abilities, expected Borchard to critique his conducting technique). He conducted the Berlin Philharmonic for the first time in January 1933, but in 1935, he was banned by the Nazi regime as politically unreliable. He continued teaching at his apartment and received his friends, including Boris Blacher and Gottfried von Einem. During World War II he remained in Berlin as a Resistance activist under the name Andrik Krassnow, during which time his duties included contact with Ludwig Lichtwitz, a specialist in false identity papers.
On 26 May 1945, two and a half weeks after Germany's unconditional surrender, he conducted the Berlin Philharmonic at the Titania Palast cinema, in a concert featuring the Overture to Mendelssohn's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Mozart's Violin Concerto in A major and Tchaikovsky's Symphony #4, to great public acclaim. One week later he was appointed musical director of the orchestra by the Soviet official Nikolai Berzarin, replacing Wilhelm Furtwängler, who was in exile in Switzerland. His anti-Nazi credentials and command of the Russian language enabled him to enjoy a close relationship with the occupiers. He gave 22 concerts in total as chief conductor of the BPO.
Borchard was killed while being driven home after a concert on 23 August 1945. His British driver misinterpreted an American sentry's hand signal to stop and the sentry shot him dead. The British driver and Borchard's partner Ruth Andreas-Friedrich survived. As a result of this incident, it was decided to mark military checkpoints more prominently so that hand signals were not required.”
- Zillah D. Akron
"Tahra is a tiny classical music record company based in rural France. It's run by Myriam Scherchen, daughter of Hermann Scherchen, who co-ran the music label Tahra, which released officially authorized historical recordings of conductors such as Scherchen, Furtwängler, Mengelberg and others, generally drawn from primary recorded sources. Tahra ceased business after the death of the co-principal of the label, René Trémine. And despite its small size, the label has won some of the classical music industry's most prestigious awards, outgunning many of the big multinational conglomerates that dominate classical music today. Tahra's records are historical recordings, often taken from 78s or tapes of decades-old radio broadcasts."
- Julian Crandall Hollick, NPR Music, 28 Aug., 2005