It was at this time that the Wax-Cylinder project commenced. In 1998 with the support of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin the project “Safeguarding the largest collection of the oldest sound documents of traditional music in the world – Restoration and transfer of the famous collections of cylinders and shellac records of the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv 1893–1954” was officially established.
The size and condition of the collection required painstaking preparatory work in technically archiving these unique historical sound documents, researching them as to their content and making them accessible to the public.
Indeed, on one hand the aim was to preserve the sound character of the original recording as much as possible, while on the other to improve the sound quality. Whereas it was relatively simple to minimise crackling noises, the reduction of background noises proved to be extremely difficult. Namely, the latter covers almost all of the music information in the recording and, moreover, is never consistent.
Thus, the treatment of the recordings presented here represents a compromise, which we hope the listener will accept.
Wax Cylinders from the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv (Museum of Ethnology)