The following is the statement of purpose that for upwards of the first twenty years of the label's existence appeared on the grey-green index cards that were included with every recording issued by Archiv Produktion (or Archive Production as it was identified on English language issues--this was long before the days of one-size-fits-all multiple language notes)
Hitherto, the inexhaustible musical treasures of the past have only been made available on records to a limited extent. There are various reasons for this, but the two main reasons are that, firstly, early music still appears in concerts much less frequently than classical and modern music, and secondly, the older the music, the more difficult become the problems of its interpretation. For this reason, the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft established, a few years ago, a History of Music Division, with the aim of making available, both to the specialist and the ordinary music lover, the wide range of "early music" from the beginnings of the Western tradition, circa 700 A. D., to the "pre-classical" period a thousand years later.
In contrast to previous undertakings of similar character, it was not the intention of the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft to produce a limited series of examples illustrating the history of music. Without confining the ARCHIVE PRODUCTION to an educational system or a restricted programme, the purpose is to preserve on records complete works from this infinite field, works whose beauty and vitality can still exert an immediate appeal on the music-lover of the present day. In order that these recordings may be carried out at the highest possible levels of musicological research, artistic and technical achievement, the History of Music Division offers all the works
in their complete authentic form based on the original versions
performed faithfully to the original style using historical instruments
in "living" interpretations by highly qualified specialist performers
in recordings of the highest standard using the latest technical developments.
In order to provide a clear survey of the repertoire, the ARCHIVE PRODUCTION has been divided into twelve "research periods," which correspond to the successive phases of musical history. These periods have again been divided into sections comprising groups of works, types, individual composers, etc,