The Second Decade (1910–1919)

The earliest orchestral recording is marketed in 1910: the opening movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Wilhelm Backhaus, who two years earlier made his recording debut for the company playing selections from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Another famous pianist, Ignace Jan Paderewski, makes his recording debut in 1911. In 1913, Deutsche Grammophon causes a sensation with its first complete recording of an orchestral work: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, with the Berliner Philharmoniker under its principal conductor Arthur Nikisch, is released on four double-sided discs, for Mark 9.50 (then equivalent to about $2.25 / 1,70 €) per disc; in Britain it is issued on single-sided discs over several months. Also published at this time are excerpts from Wagner’s Parsifal with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Alfred Hertz. With the outbreak of World War I, Deutsche Grammophon’s assets are impounded by the German government on the grounds that the company is English and therefore its holdings are enemy property. In 1916, the German and English firms – the latter destined to become the modern EMI – go their separate ways. Deutsche Grammophon can no longer use the trademark “His Master’s Voice” or export from Germany discs recorded abroad. Because the company can no longer sell records by such top names as Caruso, Melba, and Patti, a new repertoire has to be built up. In the next years, recordings will focus on the finest artists of Germany and central Europe.

Artists Joining

  • Wilhelm Backhaus
  • Mattia Battistini
  • Berliner Philharmoniker
  • Michael Bohnen
  • Julia Culp
  • Claire Dux
  • Alfred Hertz
  • Lotte Lehmann
  • Richard Mayr
  • Arthur Nikisch
  • Ignace Jan Paderewski
  • Heinrich Schlusnus