THE AEOLIAN COMPANY
An invaluable collection of pieces commissioned for the Aeolian Company - who made the pianola and cut rolls for it - in 1921, plus a handful of other notable works for the instrument. The compositions featured are by Percy Grainger, Igor Stravinsky, Eugene Goosens, Herbert Howells, Alfred Casella, Gian-Francesco Malipiero, Frederic Cowen, Hubert Parry, Arnold Bax, Harry Gill, Mauice Ravel, David Stanhope and Robin Walker - the last two being recent (mid '80s ands '90s). The point of the pianola was that it was an instrument; it had to be played. The notes were cut, but expressive dynamics and tempi had to be generated during playback with foot-pedals and levers. Rex Lawson obliges on this CD. All the pieces explore techniques, speeds and the multiplication of lines impossible for a single human pianist, while remaining, more or less, in the world of the music of their time. It would be 25 years before Conlon Nancarrow moved to the next logical position, though there are already echoes on this CD. Useful booklet with background, history, notes and photographs.