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The National Museum has published a unique recording

Father Masaryk speaks to the nation 82 years after death: This recording was released only now!

Karolína Lišková
04.Mar 2020
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2 minutes to read
První československý prezident Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.

The first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was a darling of the nation. Thousands of people around the world mourned his death, as they did the death of Václav Havel. Now it is possible to remind ourselves of this great man again. The National Museum managed to digitize a previously unpublished recording of a part of the speech he gave on 7 March 1930, on the day of his 80th birthday at Prague Castle.

Přijatý zákon, o kterém Masaryk mluví v projevu.
Unikátní váleček.

The speech "About the Needs of the Nation and the State", which was heard in the Vladislav Hall, was at that time rewritten and published in the press. However, the recording, which contains about half of the speech, also includes a new, yet unknown, passage where the TGM thanks MPs and senators for February adoption of two laws to honor the president. The first one was the Act of Merit of T. G. Masaryk, the second was donation of 20 million crowns from the state budget to Masaryk and meant for use at its discretion.

He didn't like photographers

"Masaryk didn't like to be photographed or recorded, so there are not many sound recordings,"

said Filip Šír from the digitization department of the museum.

Luxusní vila na prodej na Praze 6 - 590
Luxusní vila na prodej na Praze 6 - 590, Praha 6

In addition, Masaryk was speaking quite far from the microphone, and the recording was made from a speaker, so the technicians had a lot of work to do to make the sound continuous.

Phonograph

Even the circumstances of finding the rotating cylinder of a phonograph are peculiar. It was recorded in a special format, for example.

“It is a waxy, brown cylinder, atypical, 14 centimeters long, which has recorded 15 minutes. Normal commercial cylinders had three to four minutes. Moreover, this cylinder can be compared to a voice recorder, the record should have been deleted later. Correctly, the record just shouldn't have existed,”

said Šír.

Open in gallery (2)
Existuje jen málo fotografií TGM.
Existuje jen málo fotografií TGM.Source: LP-life.cz

Nevertheless, the cylinder came to the Czechoslovak Radio and in the 1960s it made its way to the National Museum, where it was replayed and digitized with the help of the Endpoint device for more than half a century. The National Museum will publish the recording on its website.

Timeless content

In his speech, Masaryk spoke about the form of democracy, the crisis of that time, but also the need for better funding of science and education reform. In the section preserved only in writing, he spoke about health or foreign policy.

Dům u jezera s tenisovým kurtem - pozemek 2852
Dům u jezera s tenisovým kurtem - pozemek 2852, Okolí Prahy

"The content is interesting in its timelessness, how Masaryk defined in a civil and wise way what should be done in order for the republic to flourish,"

said the museum director Michal Lukeš today.

Open in gallery (2)
Source: archiv NM

Representatives of the museum hope that another part of the speech will be discovered in the future. They pointed out that digitization of sound recordings is one of the current priorities of the museum, the main stage is to begin next year. According to Šír, there are about 100,000 sound carriers in the sound recording library of the Czech Museum of Music. In the future, for example, the recordings of opera singers from the early 20th century and other historical gems could be discovered and digitized thanks to modern technologies.

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