Re: Gershwin CD
By Dan Wilson
|Spencer Chase <wspencer@MAIL.TELIS.ORG> said:-|
> I so completely disagree with Rick Pargeter's assesment of the
> Gershwin CD that I can't help but write. I don't own the second
> and would not accept it if offered as a gift. I was given the
> first by a fellow piano collector as a joke. It is music like
> this that gives reproducing pianos a bad name. After the
> midi-izing and the editing there is not a shred of the original
> music left.
One of these days I must get round to buying one of these danged new-fangled Compact Disc players. People seem reluctant to give them away when they're tired of them.
So I have no CDs, but have heard tracks from this set several times. The effect to me is of reproducing rolls reduced to hand-played and then played with a modicum of skill on a pumper connected to a very new grand piano. In other words, if you know the originals, an overall disappointment but not a total disaster. I sometimes hear original records of GG playing on BBC Radio 3 (the classical channel here) and often get caught out, thinking this is a poor reproducer: he did have a surprisingly leaden touch.
The cause celèbre on this side of the water is the Nimbus project to produce a lot of Duo-Art replays using the push-up built by Gordon Iles (late of Universal Music Co at Hayes and then Artona Music Rolls) in the 1970s, on a Steinway. Some of these tracks are quite acceptable and some are just plain awful, compared to a performance by an original instrument. The problem was noted by plenty of keen listeners when the push-up was new: it's much too literal in its interpretation of Duo-Art codes, snapping from level to level like an Ampico when the old machines had an exponential delay characteristic which the roll editors allowed for. Because the piano is such a fine one, it just sounds to the ignorant but musical listener as if everything has been got right except the reproducing system which must therefore be intrinsically inadequate. If a well-known record company like Nimbus can get it this wrong, one despairs of ever getting reproducing piano CDs right.