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Welte-Mignon Piano Rolls


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Audio CD, August 19, 2003
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$9.65
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$9.65 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Editorial Reviews

rouleau de carton perforé (roll, en anglais)

1. Minuet, Op.14 No.1 - Ignacy J. Paderewski
2. The Blue Danube, Arabesque - Josef Lhevinne
3. Rapsodie D'Auvergne In C Major, Op.73 - Camille Saint-Saens
4. Polonaise In F Sharp Major, Op.44 - Josef Hofmann
5. Paganini Etude No.5 In E Major - Egon Petri
6. Military March In D Major, Op.51 No.1 - Telemaque Lambrino
7. Dinner Waltz - Alfred Grunfeld
8. Gaspard De La Nuit, No.1 (Ondine) - Walter Gieseking
9. Andante - Rudolph Ganz
10. Minuet In A Minor - Hans Haass
11. Virtuoso Fantasy - Vladimir Horowitz
12. La Nuit - Rudolph Ganz
13. Staccato Caprice In F Sharp Major - Yolanda Mero

Product Details

  • Composer: Ignace Jan Paderewski, Adolf Schulz-Evler, Camille Saint-Saens, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, et al.
  • Audio CD (August 19, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 69 minutes
  • ASIN: B00009WQU4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,460 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Periodically recordings like this surface--transfers from the Welte-Mignon piano rolls recorded early in the last century (mostly from around 1905; Horowitz in the 1920s). Similar to the more familiar piano rolls that were the 'software' for the ubiquitous player piano of old, the Welte-Mignon rolls used a very different mechanism and it is generally agreed that they did a better job of preserving the dynamic, tempo, rhythmic and touch nuances of the pianists who recorded them.
Here we have what is labeled Volume I of what presumably will be a series coming to us the Naxos label. They are recorded on a restored Steinway-Welte reproducing piano that has come down in the family of this series' producer, Richard Simonton jr. And the list of famous pianists recorded here is pretty impressive: Paderewski, Lhevinne, Saint-Saëns, Hofmann, Gieseking, Ganz, Egon Petri and Horowitz, as well as some lesser-known artists like Alfred Grünfeld, Télémaque Lambrino, Hans Haass and Yolanda Mero.
The sound is, of course, modern because the reproducing pianos were recorded in 2000 with modern sound equipment.
The primary drawback of these piano rolls is that they, though more lifelike than the old Aeolian piano rolls, do sound just the slightest bit mechanical. Still, one gets a good idea of how many of these pianists--some of them never recorded in modern sound otherwise--must have sounded in their prime. One notes, for instance, a very great use of rubato by such stars as Paderewski and Hofmann. It was certainly true that those old guys had personality!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Lamb on November 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of the problems with the 78 format is that you are restricted to 4 minutes per side which usually means having to cut many pages out or to speed up, so as listener you never really knew if what you were hearing was what the composer or indeed the performer wanted you to hear because of the logistical problems. With the Welte-Mignon that doubt at least has gone, time was not a problem. A further advantage of the roll player was that the pianos were generally far superior to the ones used for recording as they had to have certain qualities that made them suitable for recording whereas the roll played had to be of a high quality to match the luxury nature of the device. On this CD it is clear to anyone that for many performers the roll was a device that freed them to allow them to perform as they wanted, no wonder they almost without exception endorsed ther rolls they made as being indistinguishable from their actual everyday performances, not that their performances were every day as this fabulous CD demonstrates. Highly recommended for lovers of great pianism.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Atherton on October 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Many critics dismiss piano rolls and, sadly, this album will persuade new listeners that they must sound clangorous and mechanical. This we know is not true. Wayne Stahnke did an outstanding job with his Rachmaninoff discs. Granted, he used computer reconstruction, but Kenneth Caswell, on the small Pierian label, did not, and his Granados and Debussy albums are uncannily realistic. The latter impressed even Charles Timbrell, an expert on French pianists. Equally musical is a more varied collection on the Phonographe label, which seems to include recordings made many years ago. Perhaps the piano used did not have to be "restored" but had been kept in good condition -- but I'm just guessing. In any event, this Naxos album is, unfortunately, a thumping failure.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
In a depressing world of classical recordings where performances are so stiff and mechanical (to the point that the performers themselves may not be able to pick their own recordings out in a group), this set of CDs is a must own for anybody interested in really touching souls by creating music.
The people recorded on these CDs took the words of CPE Bach to heart when he said, "one should play from the soul, not like a trained bird." These are truly heart-felt and inspired performances that any musician can learn from and any non-musician can enjoy.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shakespeare on June 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD
At the risk of rekindling the audiophile battle between analog and digital sound, in the case of these piano rolls there is simply no argument. I have sat at the keyboards of beautifully restored pianos built to play Welte-Mignon and Ampico rolls. In the actual presence of the piano, the performances are absolutely magnificent: totally nuanced, perfect phrasing, use of all three pedals. The pressure of each key stroke has been perfectly captured on these rolls, so in sitting at the piano with the keys moving by invisible fingers, you enter into the minds and bodies of these incomparable pianists. A digital audio recording of the experience is exactly what the artists and craftsmen were trying to avoid by making these priceless instruments and piano rolls. The whole point was to listen to the real performance in your own space, with your own ears. It was to produce something infinitely more real than "recordings" that these instruments were created and used by great artists well into the 20th Century.

If you play the piano yourself, you know that no recording captures anything approaching the reality of your live performance. Sitting at the piano where these great artists sat, watching and hearing exactly the performance as if for the first time, you will have one of the greatest musical experiences of your life. But listening to a recording, especially a digital recording, is a complete inversion of the magic. Recording trivializes and flattens great Welte-Mignon and Ampico performances.
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