The Grand Piano Era
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.
"What a glorious start to this series - eight household names in digital sound! Like the performances or not, it was upon playing of this very kind that the everlasting reputation of these pianists was made, so there must have been much about their styles which endeared their audiences up to eighty years ago, and it is well worth seeking out. The sound is as if the CD was made yesterday - near enough, it was." William Lawes of Pianoforte Magazine