Archive production

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The archive production of the music history studio of the Deutsche Grammophon-Gesellschaft was a music history institute and studio of Deutsche Grammophon founded in 1949 with the aim of playing early music according to the latest research and releasing it in a record series. It was created at the suggestion of Hans Domizlaff , who worked as a consultant to Ernst von Siemens after the Second World War . The first director was Fred Hamel . After a boom in the 1950s and 1960s, archive production merged into various difficult-to-understand projects that no longer named the research areas, so that its end point cannot be precisely named for the time being.

Today the archive production continues to exist as a label within the Deutsche Grammophon catalog.


The starting point of the archive production was the situation of destruction after the Second World War in Germany. The still remaining organs and other historical musical instruments should be documented in their sound. In 1947 the first publications were recordings of organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach , which Helmut Walcha recorded on the organ of the Jakobikirche in Lübeck . In addition, the declared aim of the archive production was the performance and media distribution of collections of historical scores that had been processed in terms of music history and that had been translated into modern notation in the years before; they wanted to make them usable “through the sound realization” (see below). At the suggestion of Hans Domizlaff, Ernst von Siemens set up a music history studio for the Deutsche Grammophongesellschaft. Domizlaff designed its logo. The performance and recording of the pieces took place, if possible, with the original score and original instruments, but at least with corresponding replicas. They appeared in a record series, which was divided into twelve so-called "research areas". The research areas ranged from the time of the emergence of Gregorian chant to the 18th century. Domizlaff had already developed this classification together with Hamel in 1949. The series created a historical and regional classification of early music supported by examples . Together with the equipment for this record series, it was a pleasure and educational project that, in retrospect , can be understood as a total work of art .


Shell of an EP of the archive production from 1957

The records initially appeared as shellac records , later for years in heavy vinyl and an unpublished, clearly designed folding envelope, which was sewn on the edges and not glued, and a plastic film (which would not yellow or become brittle even after 50 years) to protect the LP . The only element that went beyond the function was the logo . On the cover , the epochs of the research area and the names of the pieces of music were given in a larger type. The explanatory texts were in German, French and English, there were double DIN-A-5 index cards with all the data, such as sentences, orchestra, instruments with their origin and master instrument maker, and finally the recording date.

The edition plan

From the explanatory text from 1965

We live in a time of spectacular technical discoveries and inventions, they change our worldview from year to year (...), even in the field of music, new, previously“ unheard of ”worlds of sound are opening up today. One of the most important events in this area is the rediscovery of "early music" in our time. For decades, musicologists from all over the world have been researching libraries and archives for forgotten treasures, reconstructing old scores, transferring the old musical notation into modern notation and trying to find a solution to disputed questions of performance practice. To make this theoretical work usable through the sonic realization of its results is the goal that the archive production of the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft has set itself since its foundation in 1949. "


  1. a b Hans Domizlaff - An autobiographical sketch ( Memento of the original from June 28, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /


  • Accompanying note for an album with an overview of the archive production from 1965


  • Ludwig Hartmann: History of historical performance practice in outline. Part I: From the beginning to Harnoncourt. Pro Musica Antiqua, Regensburg 1988.
  • 25 years of archive production. Interview with Andreas Holschneider. In: Hifi-Stereophonie 1972, ISSN  0018-1382
  • Andreas Holschneider: Tradition and Perspective. 40 years of archive production. In: Alte Musik Aktuell , No. 12/1987 p. 15, ISSN  0942-9034

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