Grieg and recording

Twain skannet bild

Grieg was intensely interested in sound recording, which was in its infancy in his day.

His works were first recorded on Edison rolls in 1899 by Alfred Grünfeld. This technique of recording sound on wax or hard-rubber cylinders was soon superseded by Emile Berliner’s improvements; Grieg himself was one of the first to record classical music for this system.

Gramophone records, which became two-sided in of 1905, had a playing time of five minutes, more than twice as long as the phonograph, but they left much to be desired in terms of sound quality.

Meanwhile, the player piano, which had existed since 1880, continued to evolve; by the early 20th century a piano roll could record up to 15 minutes of music. Major companies such as Welte and Hupfeld sought from the start to engage famous performers for their systems, and in 1906 Grieg recorded his works for both firms.

This according to “Die Tonaufzeichnung und Edvard Grieg” by Eszter Fontana, an essay included in Edvard Grieg: Weltbild und Werk (Altenmedingen: Junker, 2005, pp. 138–146).

Today is Grieg’s 170th birthday! Below, one of his piano rolls brings his piano playing into the 21st century

Related article: Stravinsky and recording

1 Comment

Filed under Instruments, Romantic era

One response to “Grieg and recording

  1. Grieg left about twenty minutes of actual sound recordings, all from a Paris session around 1903. I restored one of them here and you get a clear picture of his tempi, articulation, phrasing and tone color, all of which are limited or inaccurately conveyed on piano rolls.
    At the same time Saint-Saëns entered the studio and recorded even more. This early technology comes to life with new digital restoration strategies.

    Allan Evans

    http://arbiterrecords.org/adventures-in-cosmic-locomotion

    Like

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