Showcase of Musical Interpretation

The series Showcase of Musical Interpretation reintroduces forgotten figures from the history of musical interpretation. These profiles appear at irregular intervals and make no claim to completeness. Analog media are presented in a display case in the foyer of our library, and digital content is presented here on our website, to the extent that copyright restrictions allow.

Two Thousand Years of Music

At almost the same time that Percy Scholes’s The Columbia History of Music by Ear and Eye appeared, Carl-Lindström-AG published a course on music history that was assembled and annotated by the musicologist Curt Sachs. Comprising twelve gramophone records, it was called 2000 Jahre Musik auf der Schallplatte (Two Thousand Years of Music), and in a short essay announcing its release, Sachs wrote:

Instructors who have tried to bring this subject matter to life with the aid of the gramophone, or even put it into some kind of presentable form, have faced immense difficulties. There are not many examples of eighteenth-century music in record company archives, and records with music from earlier periods can be found only by chance. And in most cases, they are unusable, either because the wrong instruments are used or because the performance fails to adequately reflect the style of the period, and so they ultimately illustrate the opposite of what was intended. Now, however, the German record company Lindström A.-G. has taken the initiative and decided to create a complete series of records that capably illustrate the main stages of European music history in a way that is true to the original styles of these periods. (...) This small series is a first step in that direction. Whether we can ultimately arrive at a large, music-historical record archive will depend on the extent to which schools, conservatories and universities take an active interest in the subject. (Curt Sachs, “Zweitausend Jahre Musik auf der Schallplatte,” Kultur und Schallplatte 1, no. 11 (1930), 81–82)

Curt Sachs, 2000 Jahre Musik auf der Schallplatte. Berlin: Carl Lindström AG, 1930. 26 pages, 12 double-sided standard groove discs (25 cm diameter). First edition. Signature: SIMPK, Library, P25N 1858, 2

The project was evidently sufficiently well received, and Sachs was able to produce another installment. He did so from Paris, having fled Germany after the Nazis assumed power and instituted a regime inimical to life and culture. The sequel was called L'anthologie sonore, and it would comprise almost 200 titles by the year 1957.

Titelblatt des 11. Hefts des ersten Jahrgangs der Werbezeitschrift Kultur und Schallplatte

Title page of the 11th issue of the first year of the advertising magazine Kultur und Schallplatte: Mitteilungen der Carl Lindström A. G. Kultur-Abteilung. Signature: SIMPK, Library, C 2/18, 1

The interpreters of the twenty-four record sides

Gregorianische Arbeitsgemeinschaft of the Staatliche Akademie für Kirchen- und Schulmusik zu Berlin under the direction of Hermann Halbig

Choir of the Staatliche Akademie für Kirchen- und Schulmusik, Berlin, under the direction of Pius Kalt

Staats- und Domchor, Berlin,under the direction of Hugo Rüdel

Thiel'scher Madrigalchor under the direction of Carl Thiel

Münchener Violen-Quintett with Valentin Härtl(Treble viole), Anton Huber (Viola da gamba), Willy Stuhlfauth (Viola d'amore), Karl List (Viola da gamba) and Willi Schmid(Bass-Viola da gamba)

Georg Blumensaat (Oboe)

Erwin Bodky(Harpsichord and Clavichord)

Berek Bernhard Fränkel (Vocals)

Martha Geißmar(Violin)

Pál Hermann(Violoncello)

Hans Joachim Moser (Bass-baritone)

Maria Peschken (Alto)

Curt Sachs (Harpsichord)

Curt Sachs, 2000 Jahre Musik auf der Schallplatte, Neuausgabe 2018

Martin Elste, Carsten Schmidt (Ed.), 2000 Jahre Musik auf der Schallplatte – Two Thousand Years of Music. Alte Musik anno 1930. Eine diskologische Dokumentation zur Interpretationsgeschichte. Published on behalf of the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Gesellschaft für Historische Tonträger. Wien: Gesellschaft für Historische Tonträger, 2018. 228 Seiten, 1 CD. (= The Lindström Project. 8), ISBN 978-3-9502906-3-9, 39,– EUR

In 2018, the SIM and the Gesellschaft für historische Tonträger (Society for Historical Audio Formats) published a new edition of Two Thousand Years of Music. This scholarly critical edition includes all of the available documents concerning the work’s creation and reception, short biographical profiles of the artists, information about the musical material that was used, and reproductions of the original explanatory supplements in German, English and Spanish. The accompanying CD includes a source-critical audio commentary by Christian Zwarg, who discusses the original shellac gramophone records and provides a detailed explanation of his audio restoration. The edition also includes a transcription of a discussion panel on the recordings that took place in 2006, a year of commemorative activities in honor of Curt Sachs. You can order the book in our Shop.

On March 17, 1930, Lindström-AG recorded a total of three record sides for its Cultural Department in a session with the Munich Viola Quintet, which had made a special trip to Lindström’s studio for that purpose. One side contained German dances from around 1600, and two sides contained Old English dances from the Elizabethan period. The first side was published in the collection Two Thousand Years of Music, and the other two were released in June 1932 under the Odeon label as English Dances of the Shakespearean Period. In 1935, a licensed edition appeared on the US label Decca. There was not enough room on the CD that accompanies the book to include these two record sides, but they were clearly produced with the intention of including them in the collection and have therefore been made available here.

James His Galliard – My Robbin – A toy – Hollie berrie – Daphne – The Whyche, gespielt vom Münchener Violen-Quintett, Normalrillen-Schallplatte Decca 20046

James His Galliard – My Robbin – A toy – Hollie berrie – Daphne – The Whyche. Münchener Violen-Quintett mit Valentin Härtl (Diskantviole), Anton Huber (Viola da gamba), Willy Stuhlfauth (Viola d'amore), Karl List (Viola da gamba) und Willi Schmid (Baß-Viola da gamba), Berlin, Lindström-AG, Schlesische Straße 26, Raum 2, 17. März 1930. Aufnahmeleiter: Otto Birckhahn. Normalrillen-Schallplatte Decca 20046 (£ Be 9924; £ Be 9925, übernommen von £ 38363; £ 38364). Privatbesitz


A few weeks after the second, revised edition of the book was printed, we were pleased to be informed by Michał Pieńkowski, of Warsaw, that there was also a Polish edition of the series 2000 Jahre Musik auf der Schallplatte whose discographic data is as follows:

PARLOPHON (PL): P 44 881/92
12 shellac discs 25 cm

Title of the booklet: 2000 lat muzyki na płytach. Przykłady do historii nauki muzyki w opr. Prof. D-ra Curta Sachsa tekst objaśn. dyr. A. Wieniawskiego.

Title of the album cover: Prof. Dr. Curt Sachs. Historja muzyki. Texst objasn. dyr. A. Wieniawskiego.

This information supplements what is printed on page 220.

Etikett der ersten Seite der polnischen Ausgabe 2000 lat muzyki na płytach

Label of the first page of the Polish edition 2000 lat muzyki na płytach

Martin Elste, Carsten Schmidt and Frank Wonneberg, March 2019