on other languages Ðóññêèé, Polski, Česky
Almost 30 years very interesting recording have been published on several labels of
gramophone records by a big German company that also had a Czech (and Russian - translator note) repertoire. We
will examine its profile further.
Homokord company profile
The gramophone records by Homokord (after 1923 some labels say also Homocord)
were manufactured by German company Homophon Company GmbH established in
1905. The company headquarters was located at Alexandrienstrasse in the
part of city of Berlin known as Kreuzberg. It originally published its
one-side gramophone records with the diameter of 25 cm using gray-blue labels Homophon
Records with the picture of beautiful female playing harp and sitting by
the gramophone and accompanied with the phrase “Rein in Ton und Wort (Pure in tone and word)”.
It is said that a big English company The Gramophon Company Ltd had
disliked the Homophon label very soon because of too close similarities with
their own label Zonophone. Consequently, Homophon has been forced
by the court to change the name and also the graphical label on its own
recordings. Recordings of this company were then published with changed label Homokord.
It still depicts a harp player, but without any phrase. For the short period of
time the red labels Rubin and the green labels Homophon had been
used as well.
It looks like the German Homophon Company
GmbH had been financially connected since the very beginning of its
existence to the American company Columbia, because German company
provided matrixes for other records, which had the sign of the C note (Columbia’s
trademark) on the labels. Another typical sign for Homokord’s matrixes
was the code of the date of the recording. It was pressed next to the label and
every year had assigned one letter in opposite alphabetic order: last letter of
the code – V – had been assigned to the year when the company has been
established (1905). It continued towards the letter A that has been reached in
1925. For the last year of records with acoustic recording (1926) the W letter
was used. First letter in the code represented a month (January = A, December =
M). The number in the middle represented the day of recording. The records with
electric recording after 1927 used another system of the code.
majority of records of this company contain also information on exact date of
pressing. For example code H 9 P and the date 9. 7. 21 says that the matrix was
recorded on August (H) 9, 1911 (P) and pressed again in 1921. Because of WWI,
when there were almost no records published in Germany, there is no letter L,
K, J and H (1915-18) used on the matrixes.
Since 1906 Homophon has also a branch office in London. This office published
records in Great Britain till 1914 using Homophon Record, Homophon
Company GmbH and Homophone Record labels. The branch company British
Homophone was publishing the English records in London between 1913-15
using the label Homochord. After WWI this “English” label survived until
1934 – in various color variations – through the gramophone companies Vocalion,
Pathe and GC. Around 1926 this branch company pressed for a short
period of time also record labeled Homo Baby using the matrixes of GC
company. The records had 15 cm diameter and the label with the smaller version
of original image of harp player.
At this time, the original German Homophon Company was already the part of Columbia
and in 1925 it joined C. Lindstrom AG corporation. However, for another
8 years the records were published with the original labels Homokord or Homocord.
The German repertoire of this company at the beginning of twenties was pretty much
the same as the repertoire of many other companies flooding the German market
with millions of records. Homophon Company caught relatively soon the
boom of modern dances and started to publish since 1922 acoustically recorded
jazz records based on American matrixes by Vocalion, Emerson, Bell
and Grey Gull. On the Homocord records the original American dance and
jazz orchestras had been presented as “Homocord Jazz Band” or just “Jazz
Band” with the explanation “Original Amerikanisches Orchester”. Very often we
can find mid-twenties Homocord records of American jazz bands labeled as
“The Original Pennsylvania Syncopators” or
“Bar Harbor Society Orchestra, New York”. The records of Original German
modern dances bands published by Homocord were performed by “artistic
orchestras” of Arpad Varosz, Barnabas Geczy or Jeno Fesko.
In 1926 Homocord switched to electric recording – pretty much in the same
time like the majority of European gramophone companies. The label had been
changed to Homocord Electro, but the acoustic records are published
until 1930 using the same label.
The biggest success of Homocord label came at the end of twenties and the
beginning of thirties. Jazz and dance music was usually performed by universal
company orchestra of “jazz symphonians” conducted by Fred Bird with singers
Luigi Bernauer and Al Bowly. Interesting records of classical music were for
example Josef Wolfstahl (violin), Rudolf Hindemith (cello), his brother and
composer Paul Hindemith (viola), Walter Gieseking (piano) or the quartet of
Arnold Rose (who published first records in 1902).
In 1933 the C.Lindstron AG corporation discontinued the Homocord label and
the records from its matrixes has been used for corporation’s own labels Odeon
and Parlophon. After 1933 some Homocord records were used for
corporation’s another label Gloria.
Gabriel Goessel (GÖSSEL)
Documents from the author's personal archive were used
This article is reissue of the original publication in Týdeník rozhlas, 6/2002, "FONOGRAM" column by the courtesy of its author.
Czech-English translation by Ales Bukovsky