Label Design from one of the Institute's published CDs.
Aeolia - Pianola Institute CDs
There have been many player piano recordings made since the end of the Second World War. Mostly, these have been of reproducing pianos, beginning with the Welte-Mignon at the outset of the LP era. Unfortunately, most of the detailed expertise on the regulation of such instruments was not transmitted from the original inventors to the postwar generation, and it has taken a very long time for the world to appreciate fully the subtleties of performance that can be achieved by the first class reproduction of accurate piano rolls.
Many earlier LP recordings have been transferred to CD, and these can often confuse non-expert listeners, so that poor performances have been attributed to the failure of the reproducing piano as a whole, rather than to the shortcomings of an individual instrument. When a poor transfer is made from an original 78 to CD, the recorded sound may suffer, but the subtlety of the performance can still be heard through the background noise. When a reproducing piano is faulty, it may still be in perfect tune, and the recorded sound may be wonderful, but it will be the subtlety of performance that is lost.
The Pianola Institute has only three CDs in its catalogue, with one or two more to follow, but we hope that they reflect the trouble and time that we have taken to produce them. In Greek mythology, Aeolus was the God of the Winds, who gave his name to the region of Aeolia in Asia Minor, after which the Aeolian mode in music was named. Since pianolas use the movement of air to cause the notes of a piano to play, Aeolia seemed an apt title for our new label.
One of our CDs is of pianola music, played by Rex Lawson, and we hope to publish a CD of jazz and ragtime on the pianola in late 2006, as a tribute to Dan Wilson, who selected and performed the music rolls.