Hello MMD -- I spent some time yesterday comparing Wayne Stahnke's CD
of the Rachmaninoff Ampico rolls [Telarc CD-80489] with the CDs of the
disk recordings issued by RCA. I have been listening to the disks
regularly for about 20 years, so I am quite familiar with Rachmaninoff's
My opinion is that Mr. Stahnke's technique has preserved all of
Rachmaninoff's wonderful phrasing and timing perfectly. The Ampico
performances sound just like the ones on disk, the differences are
those you would expect on another day and piano. The better sound
brings out some features more clearly, such as the Spanish atmosphere
of the Serenade (Op. 3 No. 5).
It is uncannily like having Rachmaninoff in the room playing to you,
partly because of the strength of his personality.
His dexterity in the virtuoso pieces such as the "Bumblebee" is so
great that you would think only a computer-driven mechanism could do
it, if you didn't have the disk recording as evidence. Lighter pieces
such as the Etude Op 39 No 6, depicting Red Riding Hood and the Wolf,
are full of wit and life, and romantic pieces such as the Elegie have a
wonderful depth of emotion.
Personally, I would advise any music lover to buy both the Ampico CD
and the RCA disk recordings. The piano sound on the latter is good
enough that you can listen through it to imagine the original, and
there are 10 CDs of disk recordings and only two of rolls.
Now it would be interesting to hear from anyone who has an Ampico piano
and can compare the CD with the rolls.
[ Don, which CDs of Rachmaninoff's audio (phonograph) recordings
[ do you recommend? Can you tell us the publisher and catalog number,
[ please? I'd like to make the same aural comparison that you did.
[ -- Robbie