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MMD > Archives > December 1998 > 1998.12.20 > 05Prev  Next

Harold Schonberg Reviews Rachmaninoff Ampico CD
By Robbie Rhodes

Mr. Schonberg begins with reminiscing about interviewing pianist
Artur Rubenstein, who, upon hearing the playback of his piano roll
recording in 1919, was amazed at the skill of the Ampico editors.

  "My God," Rubinstein said. "I sounded like Josef Hofmann."

  "Did you allow the roll to be released?" I asked.

  "Of course," grinned Rubinstein.

Subsequently Schonberg observes that "I speak as one of the dwindling
survivors who heard Rachmaninoff about a dozen times during the 1930's."

He says about the Ampico rolls realized on the Telarc CD, "They are
close, but the 78's, old as they are (1920's and '30's), have a more
pointed, focused quality, more nuance, and really do give a better idea
of the Rachmaninoff approach."  He feels that Rachmaninoff's Steinway
piano had more authority in the bass, and better texture, than the
Boesendorfer used in the new CD, and he goes on to lament the difference
in pianos.

Notwithstanding the piano-pickyness (a reviewer _must_ find fault
with something!), it's gratifying that Schonberg, now eighty-
something years old, appreciates the legacy of music rolls.

My thanks to MMDer Albert Petrak, who is surely one of the world's
biggest fans of piano performances :) who kindly sent me the article.
See the complete review written by Harold Schonberg in FI magazine
for January 1999.

Robbie Rhodes

(Message sent Mon 21 Dec 1998, 04:25:00 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, CD, Harold, Rachmaninoff, Reviews, Schonberg

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