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MMD > Archives > May 1998 > 1998.05.21 > 11Prev  Next

Aeolian Autograph-Metrostyle Rolls
By Julian Dyer

In the 98.05.19 digest, Karl Ellison forwarded a mail inquiring about
the value of some player rolls.  Part of it went:

> The one he gave me details from has a copyright listed by Aeolian Co.
> 1906.  It was a Beethoven scroll and had Sonata Passionate and Allegro
> Assai on the label.  Handwritten notes were made on the scroll by Carl
> Reinecke (in German).

Interesting!  This is an unusual item, an Autograph-Metrostyle roll.
A strange sideline in piano roll history that has been largely
forgotten now, but worthy of note.

Aeolian would have a composer or pianist mark out a Metrostyle line
(the red wiggly one) on the roll, so that following it with the tempo
pointer when you played would theoretically give you a performance
matching the composer's.  Perhaps these were prompted by the launch of
the Welte- Mignon, before Aeolian they started making hand-played rolls
of their own - who knows?

These rolls are interesting because they contain a short note by
artist, and his/her signature, all reproduced in facsimile (not
hand-written as described above, but very convincingly done).  There
seems to be more variety than the inscriptions on Duo-Art rolls a few
years later.

The rolls are not particularly common.  Most are 65-note, but some were
issued on 88-note later, being even less common.  Production seems to
have stopped round the time of WW1.  They have little, if any, price
premium because very few people collect them.  I would still rate them
as interesting oddities worthy of a place in any serious roll collection.
(An ordinary 65-note Beethoven Sonata would rate as nearly unsalable in
the UK.)

A couple of years ago I spent a couple of hours listing all the
Autograph-Metrostyle artists found in the 1914 UK Themodist catalogue.
There are some very interesting names there!  For some of these artists
it is the only semblance of a recording they made.  One Grieg roll was
used as the basis for a very early Duo-Art - an experiment never
repeated.  Like the original Autograph-Metrostyle rolls, its artistic
credibility is pretty low!

The list shows that primarily composers were targeted, famous pianists
being used only as a fallback.  Seeing that at least two of the artists
died years before the rolls were issued, you have to wonder just how
realistic they are!  If nothing else, the list shows who was rated as a
serious composer in 1905.  Some of them are completely unknown today,
and even went out of fashion so fast that no 88-note rolls were issued
of their pieces.

Composers (marking their own music, and sometimes others').

Rafael De Aceves                             Joaquin Larregla
Isaac Albeniz                                Zd. Lubicz
Louis Aubert                                 Hamish MacCunn
Mily Balakirev                               Juan Manen
John Francis Barnett                         Leon Moreau
Homer Bartlett                               Moszkowski
Karl Bohm                                    Ernesto Narice
Charles Auguste De Beriot (who died in 1870!) John Orth
Teresa Carreno                               Paderewski
Cecile Chaminade                             Wilhelm Peterson-Berger
Chevillard                                   Isidor Edmond Phillip
Frederic Cowen                               Carl Reinecke
Claude Debussy                               Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakov
Louis Diemer                                 Moritz Rosenthal
Felix Dreyschock                             Saint-Saens
Francois Dubois                              Almah Salmon
Auguste Dupont - died 1890                   J. De Santesteban
Sir Edward Elgar                             Franz Xaver Scharwenka
Elinescu                                     Ludwig Philipp Scharwenka
Gabriel Faure                                Giovanni Sgambati
Gabriel-Marie                                Martinus Sieveking
Ossip Gabrilovitsch                          Christian Sinding
L. G. Ganne                                  Emil Sjogren
Ernest Gillet                                John Philip Sousa
Alexander Glazounov                          Bruce Steane
Wilhelm Goldner                              Richard Strauss
Edvard Grieg                                 Imre Szekely
Josef Holbrooke                              Francois Thome
Alberto Jonas                                F. Toledo
Karbach                                      Paul Wachs
Henri Kowalski                               Charles Marie Widor
Theodore Lack                                Josef Wieniawski

Non-composers and some of the composers they marked.

Harold Bauer         - Balakirev, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann
Edouard Bernard      - Balakirev, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert
Ferrucio Busoni      - Brahms, Chopin, Liszt
A. Bustini           - Chopin
Maria Avani Carreras - Chopin, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saens
Edouarde Colonne     - Berlioz, Liszt, Tchaikowsky
Sylvain Dupuis       - Wagner
Arthur Friedheim     - Liszt
Madeleine Godard     - Benjamin Godard (composer's sister)
Leopold Godowsky     - Chopin
Elsa Von Grave       - Schumann
Alfred Hertz         - Humperdinck
Rachael Hoffmann     - Chopin, Schumann
Natalie Janotha      - Chopin, Schumann
Wanda Landowska      - Bach, Chopin
Lazare Levy          - Chopin, Liszt, Schumann
Luigi Manchinelli    - Liszt
Countess Helene Morsztyn - Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn
J. J. Nin            - Bach
Marie Panthes        - Chopin
Emil Paur            - Beethoven
Francois Plante      - Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Schubert
Landon Ronald        - Tchaikowsky
J. Strauss           - Johann Strauss (composer's nephew)
Adela Verne          - Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti, Schumann
Siegfried Wagner     - Wagner
Josef Weiss          - Brahms
Sir Henry Wood       - Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Sibelius, Tchaikowsky

Julian Dyer

(Message sent Thu 21 May 1998, 12:19:09 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Aeolian, Autograph-Metrostyle, Rolls

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