The CD was produced with the help of a WELTE push-up player and
a Steingraeber grand piano. At the beginning of the 20th century, circa
1910, famous pianists had their music pieces recorded on a paper roll
by means of a hole-punching system. WELTE instruments make it possible to reproduce their music nearly as good as the original performance.
Listen for yourself and you will be surprised.
Contents of the CD:
Raoul Stéphane Pugno
Grande Polonaise Brillante Es-Dur Op.22
Ballade No.1, Op.23 g-Moll.
Scherzo b-Moll Op.31.
Ungarische Rhapsodie No.12 cis-Moll, gespielt nach persönlicher Erinnerung an Liszt
Ferruccio Benvenuto Busoni
Polonaise No.2 E-Dur.
Ungarischer Tanz No.6 D-Dur.
Impromptus Op.90 No.4 As-Dur.
Wanderer-Fantasie C-Dur Op.15 , I.Satz Allegro con fuoco, II.Satz Adagio.
This grand piano is a completely new model made by the Bayreuth piano manufactures. The recordings were made on October 3rd, 2001 on this prototype in the company’s workshop, immediately after it had been completed. The construction is a new one, but is based on a concept drawn up by the founder of the company, Eduard Steingraeber (“E”). It has a length of 272 cm (“272”). The full, transparent sound with its huge potential for modulation shows its links with the Steingraeber Chamber Concert Grand 205, an instrument owned by famous composers like Franz Liszt and Engelbert Humperdinck. Many of the Welte - Mignon pianists gave concerts in the concert room at the Steingraeber House in Bayreuth. This is reason enough to use this unique grand piano for these special recordings.
As the “Concert Grand Piano for the 21st century” the E-272 was played for the first time in public on 24th July, 2002 at the Markgrave Opera House in Bayreuth at a performance given by Cyprien Katsaris to mark Steingraeber & Söhne’s 150th anniversary.
Master piano manufacturer Wolfgang Schäffler (Steingraeber works manager) and concert technician Erich Friedrich prepared the grand piano for this recording.
Welte - Mignon
The Freiburg company “M. WELTE & Söhne, Freiburg i.Br.” was founded in 1832. It is credited with the invention that allows pianist’s performances, with all their changes in dynamics and rhythm, to be recorded on a paper roll by means of a hole-punching system. This music can afterwards be faithfully reproduced in line with the original performance. This invention was the top of the triumphal march of the piano in the 20th century (1904) with the manufacturing of the reproduction piano. Nobody has yet carried out detailed research into the exact recording process. A fire at the Freiburg factory destroyed all the documents about it.
There are two kinds of “Welte” mechanical pianos - the push-up player at the one side and integral models at the other side. The push-up player can be placed in front o any piano instrument. 80 wooden “fingers”, covered with felt, activate the keys on the piano, so replacing the pianist. The integral version, however, was a permanent fixture in the instrument, which meant instruments became much larger. The device is driven by an electric motor. All the functions are carried out pneumatically by means of a “blower” and control pulses read from holes in the paper roll. An external wind machine was situated in the next room and supplied the air via a pipe for this CD recording, in order to eliminate any disturbances during the reproduction of the music. A push-up player owned by Peter Zergiebel was used for this CD. The master piano technician supplemented the mechanical musical instrument with a fine adjusting device for each individual note.
The master piano technician and repairer of
pneumatically driven instruments is a
perfectionist. He cares for pianists’ instruments
in his home region, Vogtland in Saxony. In his
workshop he repairs pianos and grand pianos.
He was forced to limit his activities to Eastern
Germany until 1990. Nowadays, in the times of
internet, he has a lot of clients living in regions
faraway. The trained mechanical engineer spent
many hours carefully restoring his Welte - Mignon push-up player, which was manufactured in 1913.
Peter Zergiebel loves piano music and he has
collected a variety of Welte musical rolls. Some
of these rolls can be heard on this CD. He was
responsible for the rendering of the music on