I have received a review copy of Jürgen Hocker's new book,
"Faszination Player Piano; das selbstspielende Klavier von den
Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart" (translated "Fascination Player Piano;
the self-playing piano from its beginnings to the present") to
review for the MBSI's journal "Mechanical Music."
While its title proper is a bit strange, the book provides really
comprehensive and wondrous coverage of the whole player piano field:
its roots, its development, its refinement into the reproducing piano,
roll standards, methods used for recording artists' performances, the
nature and trustworthiness of artist testimonials, authenticity of
"hand-played" rolls. All that and more in the first half of the book.
In the second half, Hocker covers ground that I have not seen covered
before: how player piano technology created what the author calls
"Klaviermusik ohne Grenzen" (piano music without limits). Using Conlon
Nancarrow as an example -- a musician whom he obviously admires and
whom he knew personally -- he shows how the player piano allowed
creativity and musical expression not possible with a manually played
piano and how the path forged by Nancarrow was followed by more than
a dozen successors.
The 350-page book (ISBN 978-3-937841-80-9), written in German
and profusely illustrated, is available in paperback from Edition
Bochinsky in der PPVMEDIEN GmbH, Postfach 57, 85230 Bergkirchen
Now there is a translation job that cries to be done by some MMD'er
who can read German and write good English!
Irondequoit, New York