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MMD > Archives > March 2015 > 2015.03.13 > 01Prev  Next

Pianola Recordings by Sergei Rachmaninoff
By Bob Taylor

I just finished reading Julian Dyer's comments under this heading
[150310 MMDigest].  For clarification, I thought I would add some

In 1983 the Chicago Chapter hosted the international AMICA convention.
One of the highlights of that convention was a concert featuring a
Chickering Ampico grand with orchestra.  Three rolls with the orchestra
were presented.  Solo performances of the piano and orchestra numbers
were also presented.

As discussed by Julian, the Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto [was
performed] in which only the 2nd movement roll was played.  Julian
states that at times the piano and orchestra were off by as much as one
bar of music.  That is not the case.  Of the three rolls played with
orchestra the Rachmaninoff was virtually problem free, as once the roll
was started, it ran without stopping for the entire roll.

I just finished listening to the recording of that performance, and
there is no out-of-sync issue.  I can't say the same for the other two
rolls, but in no case did the synchronization of those rolls get more
than a split second apart.

The recordings were never released as other problems were encountered.
The prime problem was a squeak in the platform where the conductor was
standing.  It is quite audible throughout all recordings.  The squeak
rendered the recordings unusable.

I was chairman of that convention and the piano used had been recently
restored by me and its use was under my supervision.  The concert was a
success and was attended by about 1,800 people not affiliated with the
convention.  I have sent a photo of the event which shows Robin Pratt
seated in front of the drawer of the Ampico.

Bob Taylor

 [ Robin Pratt at the Ampico

 [ Rex Lawson wrote, at 
 [  "The Orchestrelle Company was the Aeolian Company's subsidiary in
 [  London, and its June 1910 catalogue of 65-note rolls bears witness
 [  to a sudden flurry of new Rachmaninoff issues.  The most important
 [  of these, published no more than a month before the catalogue was
 [  issued, was a three-roll set of the Second Concerto, available in
 [  both standard and Metrostyle rolls, ..."
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Sat 14 Mar 2015, 02:50:45 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Pianola, Rachmaninoff, Recordings, Sergei

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