Collector’s Corner

On A Roll


Sergei Rachmaninoff may have been one of the greatest pianists ever recorded, but he left a recorded legacy of varying quality. Some of his most prized performances, including that of Chopin's Scherzo in B-flat minor, Op. 31, were only recorded on piano rolls. Thankfully, those recorded for the American Piano Company (Ampico) faithfully retained all of the dynamics and shading which are the lifeblood of a pianist's artistry. A Window In Time - Rachmaninoff Performs Works Of Other Composers, contains 16 selections, including Rachmaninoff's famed recording of Chopin's Scherzo, a piece that he never recorded by other means.

For well over a half-century, only player pianos of inferior quality were able to reproduce piano rolls of Rachmaninoff performing his own music and that of other greats. This changed in 1999, when Telarc released two breakthrough recordings of Rachmaninoff's piano rolls, which included the tracks on A Window In Time.

Scientist and mathematician Wayne Stahnke uses the most advanced digital techniques available to bring Rachmaninoff's playing to life on a fine Bosendorfer 290SE Reproducing Piano. The sound is not only beautiful, but also remarkably close to what Rachmaninoff actually sounded like at the keyboard. And the performances are marvelous. Besides the Chopin, Mendelssohn's Spinning Song; Chopin's "Valse brillante," "Grande valse brillante" and Nocturne, Op. 15. No. 1; Liszt's paraphrase of Schubert's song, "Das Wandern," a waltz by Tchaikovsky, and Schubert's Impromptu, Op. 90, No. 4. are among the other great tracks on this exceptional disc.