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MMD > Archives > September 2003 > 2003.09.17 > 04Prev  Next

Aeolian Recording Piano of 1904
By Albert Petrak

First, let me thank all of you for your response to the translation
(universally complimentary) which we have finally received for the book
"Namhafte Pianisten im Aufnahmesalon Hupfeld".  (Dr. Martin Elste's
statement to me was that this is the exact title with correct spelling).

It was a long haul, from concept to realization, but as Robbie states,
it is magnificently rendered by Reaves Translation and its proprietor,
Melissa Reaves Kreutzer.  I shall certainly convey his praise to the
lady at once.

Secondly, as to the detail of the Metro-Art, later Metro-Style issues
of Hupfeld set forth by Julian Dyer, who is the editor of the PPG
Bulletin in the U.K., one can readily see their conviction that the
individual roll collector would be flattered and motivated by the
"lead" supplied for the melody or principal motive.  However, to play
that familiar diabolical opponent, I am wondering just how effectively
the average non-player might actually render complicated musical
structures, such as the Mozart sonatas.

I'll add that when the Irish pianist John O'Connor was working on his
complete issues of the Mozart concerti for Telarc International, he
received complaints that his improvised additions to what Mozart wrote
were inappropriate, even though it is known that Mozart himself
advocated such enhancement.  One clearly-miffed purchaser said when
told the foregoing:  "Yes, John, but you ain't Mozart."

Naturally, what the collector did in the privacy of his studio, living
room, den or wherever, is indeed a matter of personal satisfaction,
never mind what we (were we able to be present and listening) might

I will add one final note:  my good friend, Marc Goodman, member of MMD
and occasional contributor, treated me to a performance on his upright
Cable piano, with expression holes taped over, of one of the Medtner
"Fairy Tales" from the Duo-Art recordings of the composer, and it was
more than creditable.  I know.  I owned all four of the pieces Medtner
set down and played them frequently in the mid 1960s. So maybe Hupfeld
was right, after all.  And the beat goes on....

Albert M. Petrak, Founder
The Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation

(Message sent Wed 17 Sep 2003, 16:07:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  1904, Aeolian, Piano, Recording

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