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Stravinsky on Pianola

Rex Lawson

Lecture demonstration at Goldsmiths College Centre for Russian Music London, 28 October 2010
and Nimbus Stravinsky NI 2577

At his lecture/recital on Russian pianola music, including music by Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Stravinsky, Rex Lawson (the only professional pianola player in the world) left us in no doubt that "the pianola does not play itsef, nor is it easy to play".

He is a goldmine of information and pianola-lore, and we have featured his work in an M P article Pianists, Piano Music & Technology Pianolas & Reproducing Pianos

The CD of The Rite of Spring, Petrushka and the original Etude for pianola (originally on MusicMasters 1994) is an important record of a great composer's involvement with early technology and it is good to have it back in the catalogue.

Stravinsky's ballets go well in this medium, especially the Petrushka about the life of a group of fairground puppets. Earlier recordings have been a travesty of what was intended and this release makes clear that pianolas can sound as musically sensitive as any other instrument.

Recommended strongly.

Peter Grahame Woolf