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MMD > Archives > October 2003 > 2003.10.09 > 06Prev  Next


"Upright and Grand" Piano Rolls by Eric Bernhoft
By Douglas Henderson

Hello MMD readers,  These 88-Note rolls were the superb products of
Eric Bernhoft, who shared a San Francisco town house with Peter Mintun,
my pianist-friend for many years.  Most rolls were produced in the
mid-'Eighties through the mid-'Nineties, if memory serves me correctly.

Beyond "Texas Fox Trot", mentioned in the prior posting, Eric composed
a wonderful piece called "LeClede's Landing Rag", for the AMICA player
club convention in St. Louis.  (It was barely mentioned in the club's
magazine, which is similar to what happened with my four rolls created
for their conventions: two were never played and two were performed
without any real credits.  The excuse was "oversight", which
I translated into "dirty tricks", in my case!)  Anyhow, "LeClede's
Landing Rag" is highly recommended for those who enjoy syncopated music.

"Roulette Rag", by Glenn Jenks, is another 'winner' from the Upright
and Grand catalogue, of the day. This has an accelerating tempo in the
arrangement which grabs the listener, right up to the finale.  Eric
also perforated and released "Harbour Rag", another recommended title
by the same Maine composer.

I have two of Eric's pipe organ transcription rolls and wish that I had
purchased the Vierne "Scherzo" offered at one time.  (By the way, Eric's
master roll for this particular selection was started in my Maine studio
back in 1986!)

In 1998, when Eric decided to quit the player roll publishing field,
we bought his Leabarjan #5 perforator and drove our VW camper from
Maine to San Francisco to pick it up, avoiding the dangers of shipping
the vintage cast iron machine.  Today it's in my studio along with a
slightly-different #5 and the elusive Leabarjan #8-B, with a
tracing/reading stylus.

Peter Mintun performs at the Carlyle hotel in New York City now,
while Eric is heavily involved with antique lantern slides and film
restoration, often involving the photographic department of the Museum
of Modern Art.  Not long ago they moved to the East Coast, and I keep
in touch with Peter at this address [mintunmusic@ in To: line above].

According to the last report by Peter, the remaining Upright and Grand
rolls were shipped to New York and are in one of Eric's many crates.
He does have these arrangements on diskettes, or some kind of data
file for the Tonnesen-style perforators, so conceivably could have the
series duplicated in the future.  However, speaking from experience,
there's a lot of handwork in this field and it really takes "momentum"
to handle all the labeling, editing and processing tasks, beyond
shipping out the merchandise.

Eric, beyond being a musical talent with roll arranging, is also a
long-distance bicyclist, so that's another factor which might prevent
an immediate reprise of his Upright and Grand label.

Upright and Grand rolls are worth searching out.  They reflect the
extensive thought and effort which he put into this labour-intensive
field.

Regards,
Douglas Henderson - Artcraft Music Rolls
Wiscasset, ME 04578 USA
Home Page - http://wiscasset.nnei.net/artcraft/

PS: I'm sending a copy of this text to Peter Mintun, in case my
recollections and facts are somewhat inaccurate.  He's a stickler for
details and so might provide an update or corrections where needed.

 [ In 1983 Eric created a wonderful player piano transcription of
 [ "Toccata from Suite gothique, Op. 25", by Leon Boellmann, Upright
 [ and Grand 83002.  This pipe organ classic is the quintessential
 [ "gloom and doom and clanking chains" music and a real scary treat
 [ for Halloween visitors!  :-)  A MIDI file may be heard at
 [ http://www.classicalmidi.gothere.uk.com/boell.htm and
 [ http://www.classicalmidi.gothere.uk.com/154.mid  -- Robbie


(Message sent Thu 9 Oct 2003, 23:23:28 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Bernhoft, Eric, Grand, Piano, Rolls, Upright

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