[ 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