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Home>. .>Gabriel Gössel>Homokord company profile

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on other languages PolskiČesky

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 (Columbias trademark) on the labels. Another typical sign for Homokords 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.

The 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 corporations own labels Odeon and Parlophon. After 1933 some Homocord records were used for corporations 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

 

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bernikov | 22.04.2008 14:27 | Last updated by:  bernikov | 15.04.2018 19:36
 
 
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