Granados and The Pianola

Photo credit: Detail of (The White) Duchess of Alba, Goya, 1795

The Pianola Institute’s site has extensive information about the pianola’s various forms, and those differences are crucial to musicians when listening to pianola recordings.

Depending on the type used, you might be listening to a modern technician-pianola expert interpreting what a composer recorded during the original recording session.

Yours truly wanted to get as close to the genius of Granados as possible.

Remember, Granados was originally known as a piano virtuoso, like Liszt.  When dealing with that stature, it would seem unfair to expect a pianola expert to also be a virtuoso.

Here is a wonderful example of one type of pianola, sent by cara amiga and colleague, soprano Rut Jiménez Guerrero, of Málaga, Spain.

Yours truly immediately noticed all the moving around the technician does, and the closeup of his hands manipulating something below the keys.  What was he doing? When listening, yours truly’s musical sensibilities were screaming, Would Granados have done that?  Or that?  Or that??

Going back to The Pianola Institute’s site, the Duo-Art version seemed closer to what yours truly wanted to hear, but they didn’t mention Granados as having recorded for it.  Then, this excellent example of how a pianola works came to light.

Hopefully it explains why the hunt continued.

The Reproducing Piano and Welte-Mignon

First, here’s this page for reference, to explain what seems to be the action used in the previous example.  Scroll down to the very bottom if you don’t have time/interest in reading everything – to “Stencil Recording Piano, Aeloian Company,” etc.

Here’s a very lengthy and sometimes quite technical history and explanation of the Welte-Mignon version of a reproducing piano, which seemed to be the best version of Granados.

Now, onward to find a recorded example of Maestro Granados . . .


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