Sunday, September 12, 2010

Debussy, Mahler, and Scriabin Played By Themselves

Spotify just added some of the most important piano roll recordings from Pierian Recording Society, including the complete known piano rolls of Debussy, Ravel, and Scriabin. You can find some raving reviews for the Debussy disk here, and detailed informations for the Scriabin and Ravel recording.

Also from this amazing series: piano rolls of Lizst's students plays Liszt, Respighi plays Fountains of Rome, and Granados plays his own works. Recordings from other label in this playlist: a Mahler piano roll recording realised with Mahler's own piano, and Shostakovich plays his piano works, including a piano duet arrangement of his Symphony No.10, recorded in 1954.

Here's the Spotify playlist: Composer as Pianist (144 tracks, 10 hours)


  1. Many of these were published on CD during the 90s as part of The Condon Collection, assembled by Australian piano-roll Denis Condon. I had discs of Debussy, Granados and Gershwin.

  2. You mean the Masters of the Roll series? Most of the disks are on Spotify too, but I think they are not exactly the same as the Pierian recordings here, maybe they used different method to realise and record the rolls.

  3. It looks like MOTPR was in part a relicensing of the Condon Collection recordings from 1992. Denis had his own collection of reproducing pianos as well.

    One of the original issues is listed on There are some reissues with ugly artwork on the site.

    This link to a MOTR recording says "Some of these rolls are nearly 100 years old and come from a collection owned by Denis Condon who is one of the worlds most respected authorities on the piano roll and has some 18,000 in his collection. He also can construct the machines that read the rolls. We can vouch for the authenticity of the rolls as each was signed by the pianist/composer. These recordings were made in 1992 and recorded on a brand new Yamaha Concert Grand under Denis’s supervision. These recordings have by far a better overall sound performance than any other which were recorded using older equipment. They are the only ones of their kind in existence."

    I have an LP somewhere that has IIRC "Percy Grainger" on such a piano playing the Grieg Concerto against the live Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Denis may have been involved in that effort too.

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