"I was hard put to decide if this one belonged here or in our Reissues section. It sounds nothing like any historical reissue even though it was recorded in l913. Yet we are hearing here a gorgeous rich Steinway recorded in stereo with the latest gear. How is such a seeming contradiction possible?
It is due to the very advanced reproducing piano developed by different inventors in the late 19th and early 20th century. The most successful of them was the Welte-Mignon, a Rube Goldbergish assortment of pumps, valves, rubber tubing, inked rollers, and even a keyboard with the action dipping into a bath of liquid mercury! Many famous composers and pianists recorded rolls for this company, including Mahler, Grieg, Richard Strauss and Debussy. The recorded rolls could be edited to be note-perfect and playback was realized using a vorsetzer unit with 88 "fingers" and pedal attachment which rolled up to a grand piano and played the keys.
Several different approaches to bringing playback of these unique piano rolls to CD have been tried. The recent pair of Rachmaninoff releases on Telarc transferred all the original piano roll data to computer language and played back the final edited result on a Yamaha DisKlavier with amazing realistic result. Tacet is using a different approach in having an expert on the Welte restore and meticulously adjust all parameters of an instrument to play back the rolls with the utmost accuracy on a modern Steinway - then recording the playback in digital stereo. Tacet reports that one reason past efforts at presenting the Welte recordings were not perfect was that the company originally sent along very detailed instructions about dynamics and tempo and these have been either lost or were ignored in playback. Granados′ idol in music was Robert Schumann, and a writer once called him "a little Spanish Grieg." When he sat down to the Welte recording mechanism in l913 Granados recorded nine rolls in all, which are all presented on this CD. The Danzas are some of his best-known music, and the concluding "The Lady and the Nightingale" is one of the composer′s superb Romantic works, performed here exactly as the composer intended it to be. Domenico Scarlatti was another favorite of Granados, and one of the rolls is a two-minute arrangement of one of the harpsichord sonatas. This disc is a winner in both the technical/historical side and in just plain musical enjoyment listening to the authentic performances by this great composer and interpreter. I find it just as difficult to discern that this music is being reproduced by a mechanical instrument (however technically advanced) as it was with the two Rachmaninoff CDs from Telarc."
John Sunier

<< retourner