Ignaz Jan Paderewski

Grand Piano is a series devoted to the art of the Reproducing Piano. It presents major performances by the legendary pianists who recorded for the Aeolian Company between 1915 and 1930.

The acoustic gramophone rarely attempted major keyboard works. The 78s' restricted sound and duration was acceptable for short virtuoso pieces but little else. In contrast, by 1915, the Aeolian Company's "Duo-Art" was already a highly sophisticated digital recording process. Pianists, well aware of the gramophone's limitations, turned enthusiastically to the reproducing piano. Hofmann, Bauer, Paderewski and Grainger were especially committed, not alone in believing that they had achieved the ultimate recording process. Great pianists joined them in recording their concert repertoire, including much that was never repeated on disc.

The reproducing piano was a tragic victim of the devastated economy of 1930's America. It disappeared, not because it was inadequate, but, because it was expensive. The pianist's faith in the reproducing piano remained overwhelming; one of the most exciting musical inventions of our age.



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Review "This is another superb disc in Nimbus' Grand Piano series, compiled with breathtaking skill from piano-rolls. The central item is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. I heard this artist play the work at the Royal Albert Hall in those palmy days when pianists were not ashamed to be personalities with something personal to say. Sometimes the results were idiosyncratic, but on this disc the performances have fidelity, tonal glory and just that touch of individuality which should always mark a true musician. Above all, the playing has unremitting grandeur. This is big treatment of a programme that shows the great man at his best ... this is a golden record of a golden age. Buy it all costs." Geoffrey Crankshaw, Musical Opinion Magazine
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