Teldec was a major German producer of (first) shellac and (later) vinyl records. The Teldec manufacturing facility was located in Nortorf near Kiel in Germany. The company was founded in 1950 as a cooperation between Telefunken and Decca Records. The name Teldec is the result of taking the first three letters of both labels: Telefunken and Decca. Records manufactured by Teldec mostly were released under the Telefunken or Decca label, but normally these records contained no hint that they were made by Teldec. In 1983 Telefunken and Decca pulled out of Teldec and in 1987 Teldec was sold to Time Warner. In 1997 the remaining compact-disc production facility in Nortorf was to be closed by Time Warner, but a management buyout was done and the new founded company OK-media is continuing the CD production until now. In 2001, after the merger of AOL & Time Warner, Teldec closed down.
In the early 1970s Teldec was acting for Telefunken in the development of a disc manufacturing technology for Telefunken's "TED" vinyl video disc player TD1005, released in 1975. The TED system was more or less a predecessor of the more successful optical Philips Laserdisc video system, as the TED system employed the idea of using FM instead of AM for storing the video signal on a disc for the first time.
The TED video-disc player used a piezo-electric pick-up cartridge with a diamond stylus, mechanically sampling the frequency-modulated, PAL-encoded A/V-signal from thousands of concentric grooves, vertically recorded into the surface of a very thin, flexible vinyl disc. The disc was freely rotating on a thin cushion of air between the disc and a fixed plate at 1500rpm (25 Hz), the disc being stabilized only by centrifugal force. The sampling frequency of the combined audio/video signal was about 2.7 MHz. Maximum video playing time was 10 minutes on a 210 mm disc, amounting to about 15,000 concentric grooves on the disc, each storing two half-frame PAL-video-lines.
Direct Metal Mastering
A technological spin-off from the short-lived TED video system was Teldec's Direct Metal Mastering technology, called DMM, for the manufacturing of vinyl records: The cutting lathe engraves the audio signal groove directly into a copper-plated master disc, instead of a lacquer-plated aluminium disc.
Teldec / Telefunken issued recordings under its own record label since the 1950s. Notably classical recordings with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamburg State Philharmonic Orchestra, and international orchestras including the Orchestre symphonique de la Radiodiffusion Nationale Belge. The conductors under contract included Keilberth, Artur Rother and Belgian conductor Franz André. The American violinist Joan Field recorded for Telefunken the great violin concertos by Bruch, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Spohr. A project of the 1980s was the first recording of the original versions of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eliahu Inbal.
Das Alte Werk
A focus in the catalog of the Teldec was the field of early music and historical performance practice, which were marketed from 1958 under its own sub-label Das Alte Werk. The first significant recordings were by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his Concentus Musicus Wien, then later also with other orchestras, who became one of the main artists of the label. Teldec's largest project in this area was the prize-winning complete recording of Bach cantatas, which were recorded from 1970 to 1989 jointly by the Concentus Musicus Wien conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and by the Leonhardt Consort with Gustav Leonhardt. Teldec lost out however to the rival series by Hänssler Classic on conventional modern instruments by Helmuth Rilling which started later in 1975 but managed to meet Teldec's original 1985 Bach tricentary year deadline for completion. Das Alte Werk also produced the first recordings of reconstructed versions of Monteverdi's operas L'Orfeo, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea in a Zurich Opera cycle under Harnoncourt. In the 1990s Das Alte Werk recorded a few newer artists such as Tragicomedia and Chanticleer, but effectively ceased new projects after Teldec's acquisition by Warner Classics.
- Richard Taruskin Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance 1995 Page 308 "Meanwhile, a competing series, inaugurated in 1975 under the leadership of the German choral specialist Helmuth Rilling, did make it to the finish line in time."