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MMD > Archives > July 1998 > 1998.07.22 > 11Prev  Next

Ampico and Duo-Art Recordings
By A. B. Bonds

[ Damon Atchison wrote: ]

> Although there are several automatic piano recordings on the market,
> I'm looking specifically for a direct recording from an original Ampico
> or Duo-Art which has been restored completely.  Most CD's I see
> available are converted rolls played from a Yamaha disk-operated piano
> via a computer, or standard 88-note player.

The availability of "live" reproducer performances on CD is a confusing
mishmash these days.  A number of efforts have arisen to pique the
public interest (such as the Gershwin rolls), but if you goal is to
seek a good recording of a fine original machine, options are limited.

That being said, I can recommend the London recording of "Rachmaninoff
Plays Rachmaninoff" which (IIRC) was made in Kingsway Hall on about
1980.  This used an Ampico B system that had been re-installed in a
huge Eastern bloc (again, IIRC) concert grand.  Good sound, effective

There are also numerous recordings made by the Powells from a Mason
and Hamlin Ampico B on their CD label Klavier.  A couple of these I
found at Tower Records.  There is a CD of original composers playing
their pieces (including Grieg and Mahler) reproduced by a Welte system
that was recorded in East Germany sometime in the 70's.  It has come
out under a variety of aliases, including a Delos issue.  It uses
suspicious KGB-type recording technology and the instrument does not
seem to have been well set up, so it is of limited interest.

Finally, there are the new Nimbus issues of Duo-Art rolls, all
classical.  There are several disks in the series, performed with
a cobbled-up Vorsetzer.  While the dynamics are undeniable, the sound
is ... idiosyncratic (not unusual for Nimbus), and I personally have
not received these enthusiastically.

A. B. Bonds

(Message sent Wed 22 Jul 1998, 08:44:08 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, Duo-Art, Recordings

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