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MMD > Archives > October 1998 > 1998.10.04 > 02Prev  Next

Travels Through Europe
By Tom Steuer

I mentioned about six weeks ago that we would be going through Western
Europe and wanted to comment on segments of interest to readers and
participants of MMD.

We had a great time.  The trip was three weeks in total, including
three days in London, a 12-day cruise to eight cities, and ending with
a three-day stay in Barcelona.

I communicated with several London MMD'ers/members of the Pianola Club,
but was able to get together with only one -- Jeffrey Borinsky, with
whom I had a few beers in a Mayfair pub.  We spent a couple of hours
together and had a great time comparing musical notes about the
differences/similarities between the English and American player piano
"cultures".  Jeffrey is very involved musically, and very
knowledgeable, so we had a lot of fun talking.  Because my wife and I
had only three days in London, and also because the musical museums
were either closed or in outlying areas, we weren't able to see
anything.  However, I did do a little shopping in London  for CDs of
English dance bands of the '20s and '30s and was able to pick up a
number of discs that I could not find in the States.   (Note to
enthusiasts -- go to the HMV store in Oxford Circus.)

In Amsterdam, they do have a Pianola Museum that is usually open
weekdays and it is walking distance from the Anne Frank Museum (the
latter is the #1 tourist attraction in Amsterdam!).  This little museum
occupies the first floor of a commercial building in a side street and
has a number of interesting examples of European automata.  Of interest
to me -- Ampico was virtually unavailable, ever, in Holland; Duo-Art
was available from England but was rare.  Welte and Hupfeld, both
German instruments, had the lion's share of the European market for
reproducing players,  from the beginning through the early '30s.  As
discussed by others previously in MMD, 65 note instruments & rolls were
far more prevalent in Europe than here,  and standard 88 note players
set the basic standard, of course.    The local Pianola Club puts on a
number of concerts a year.  The museum has some 5,000 rolls in its
stock.  We also noted a couple of gramophones of various types.

On our last stop, in Barcelona, we did a little antique shopping and
came across a store that had two breathtakingly beautiful, fully
restored, horn-type gramophones, but the prices  were also
breath-taking -- more than $3,500 each.  For the interested, these were
in the very elegant, enclosed Antiquarus market on Passeig de Gracia.


Tom Steuer

(Message sent Wed 30 Sep 1998, 17:03:31 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Europe, Through, Travels

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