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MMD > Archives > August 1998 > 1998.08.03 > 06Prev  Next

Rachmaninoff Ampico Performances on CD
By Wayne Stahnke

Over the past months, several contributors to the MMD have provided
information regarding Compact Disc recordings of reproducing pianos.
A new CD is about to appear, and I thought that MMD subscribers might
want to know about it in advance.

The CD is Telarc Catalog No. CD-80489, and it is scheduled to be in
the bins, and available for purchase, on August 15, 1998.  It is a
recording made on a Boesendorfer 290SE of 19 Ampico rolls played by
Rachmaninoff, and includes compositions and transcriptions by him.
The playing time is 65 minutes, 12 seconds.

This is the first of two CDs to appear on the Telarc label containing
Rachmaninoff's playing transferred from Ampico rolls.  The second CD,
containing 16 selections by other composers, is scheduled for release
in January, 1999.  Together, these two CDs will contain transfers of
all 35 Ampico rolls played by Rachmaninoff.

I did the transfer from Ampico roll to CD in an unusual manner.  First,
I scanned the original rolls using an optical line-scanner.  Using the
resulting scan, I reconstructed the master rolls from which the pro-
duction rolls were made.  (Subscribers to MMD who have followed the
developments here relating to scanning are aware of this process.)

I then translated the restored master rolls for use with an
electronic reproducing piano by using a computer program that I wrote
that contains within it a mathematical model of the Ampico mechanism.
(Actually it contains two different mathematical models, one each for
Ampico A and Ampico B).

Finally, I played the resulting disk files on a Boesendorfer 290SE
in a recital hall, and I made the final audio recording using 20-bit
direct-to-hard-disk recording techniques.  No tape of any kind was

The CD is entitled "A Window in Time: Rachmaninoff Performs His Solo
Piano Works."  The accompanying booklet contains a description that
I wrote that describes the process of creating the CD in detail.

I am looking forward to receiving comments from subscribers of
MMD, especially reproducing piano owners who are familiar with
Rachmaninoff's rolls.  You can reach me by e-mail at <>.

With best regards,

Wayne Stahnke

(Message sent Mon 3 Aug 1998, 22:53:21 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, CD, Performances, Rachmaninoff

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