Mechanical Music Digest  Archives
You Are Not Logged In Login/Get New Account
Please Log In. Accounts are free!
Logged In users are granted additional features including a more current version of the Archives and a simplified process for submitting articles.
Home Archives Calendar Gallery Store Links Info
MMD > Archives > January 1998 > 1998.01.17 > 12Prev  Next


Ideal Qualities of a Player Piano Restorationis
By Jim Edwards

Reading Dan Wilson's recent report from London prompted me try and
pinpoint the qualities that Denis Hall has that has made him in my
opinion the ideal reproducing piano restorationist.

I have known Denis for years and have listened to his player grands and
have never heard better.  Denis not only attends live piano recitals so
that he can know what pianos should sound like, he also listens to
recordings of piano solo and with orchestra and is an expert on disc
recording by the legendary master pianist found on piano rolls.  All
this background might appear worthless to restorers who concentrate
only on the mechanics.

Denis, who is not a trained engineer, along with others in the field,
have become self taught engineers.  One should never, however, discount
the mechanical side of the restoration, ever mindful of the temptation
and danger of going further than tweeking/adjusting the system. He and
perhaps many others can listen to a roll on a reproducer and quietly
pull down the belly cover, make a few adjustments and suddenly the rolls
come further to life!  The more a restorer can actually play the piano
the better job he can bring to the task of the rebuild also.

If one were to recommend a CD that has one should listen to after
completion of rebuilding a reproducing grand for my money it would be
a 10 year old recording by Jean-Phillipe Collard, piano and Andre Previn
and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 1
and "African Fantasie" on EMI CDC 7 49757 2.

Be mindful however that it is a mistake to make recordings of reproducing
roll driven grands specifically set up to play in living rooms and try
and make them sound like concert setting pianos.  The finest sounding
recording I have ever heard was a recording Denis made of his Duo Art
piano made in his home and not in some concert hall with the engineers
making all sort of correction to make the recording "sound better"!

The value of listening to such a CD is to serve and remind us all that
nothing will ever beat the sound of a live artist under a proper setting
and player pianos are at best good phantoms of the real thing.  Dead
artists whom we can only hear on piano rolls is in my way of thinking
better than old records and even CDs. Here the player grand remains
supreme.

Jim Edwards


(Message sent Sat 17 Jan 1998, 18:40:38 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ideal, Piano, Player, Qualities, Restorationis

Home    Archives    Calendar    Gallery    Store    Links    Info   


Enter text below to search the MMD Website with Google



CONTACT FORM: Click HERE to write to the editor, or to post a message about Mechanical Musical Instruments to the MMD

Unless otherwise noted, all opinions are those of the individual authors and may not represent those of the editors. Compilation copyright 1995-2019 by Jody Kravitz.

Please read our Republication Policy before copying information from or creating links to this web site.

Click HERE to contact the webmaster regarding problems with the website.

Please support publication of the MMD by donating online

Pay via PayPal

No PayPal account required

                                     
Translate This Page

. .