The Polish Virtuoso
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.
"This is a CD of mild diversions, encore pieces and those designed to demonstrate the art of unbridled display before audiences. Now we know what all the fuss was about, and little wonder that the names associated with this 19 track CD are legends. There's probably not one serious work among the whole lot, but it does not matter. This is music-making to tease, enjoy and enliven, and so it does." Pianoforte Magazine