List of German-speaking poets' voices preserved on sound carriers before 1950

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Guiding principle

In the mid-1920s, Rainer Maria Rilke was astonished that the sound recording, which is much vaunted in connection with musical reproduction, was "still little concerned with the spoken word" and Kurt Tucholsky once called "the voice of the dead" the most interesting thing in terms of sound recordings. Despite their obvious fascination with the “ voice machine ” - as far as we know - no voice recordings have been preserved from either of them, although Rilke is said to have been a frequent and excellent interpreter of his works and Tucholsky could even be heard on the radio.

Earliest documents

The value of the author's voice for sound recording was only slowly and gradually recognized. The first commitment in this regard in the German-speaking area was probably the phonogram archive of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, which was exclusively dedicated to the archiving of Austrian authors' voices. This is where the oldest known surviving recordings of German-language author's voices come from, one of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach's performance of the little song she wrote in 1901 and Hugo von Hofmannsthal's , which was recited on April 22, 1907 when his Some of the poems composed before the turn of the century were admittedly included. Even Arthur Schnitzler's voice is in the Phonogram Archive ago in a similar early recording.

From 1929 to around 1930, the Deutsche Grammophon-Gesellschaft published a record each with readings by Rudolf G. Binding , Theodor Däubler , Eberhard König , Joseph Georg Oberkofler , Hans José Rehfisch , Wilhelm von Scholz , Ina Seidel , in its series “Dichterstimmen der Gegenwart” . Ernst Thrasolt and Carl Zuckmayer .

The Telefunken plate followed in 1934 and 1935 with the series «The Poet Speaks». Recitations by Ludwig Friedrich Barthel , Rudolf G. Binding , Fritz Diettrich , Adolf von Hatzfeld , Heinrich Lersch and Josef Magnus Wehner were published here.

Since these series appeared to have received little interest from buyers, they were discontinued relatively quickly.

Restriction to the period before 1950

Limiting the list to recordings from a limited early period up to 1950 makes sense in the fact that from the 1950s onwards, sound recordings were increasingly used for literary recordings and broadcasts, and thus the absence of an author's voice as sound recording is increasingly becoming a rarity, especially since Hardly any records were lost due to the quiet second half of the 20th century in terms of war and major catastrophes in the German-speaking area. Authors' voices from the first half of the 20th century are far more rare. Authors from whom a large number of recordings have been preserved, as in the case of Thomas Mann , are rare.


In addition to its intrinsic value as a source of information, the list is able to point out which Wikipedia articles may still have facts about preserved records of poets' voices to be incorporated.

The list is still incomplete and needs to be supplemented. If known, the year of the earliest recording is shown after the name of the author.

Before 1910

1920 to 1929

1930 to 1939

1940 to 1949

Year of recording unknown

Probably recorded before 1950

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