A hundred years ago phonolas and player pianos were very popular. The phonola was placed in front of the piano and a mechanism driven by low pressure enabled it to play the keys of any piano. Wolgang Heisig keeps some of these rarities ready for performance and has initiated contemporary music for phonola and recorded it on a period Steinway grand piano from 1901.
8th January 2012
“Nancarrow wrote most of his rhythmically superhumanly complex music for the player piano, of which the pneumatic phonola used here is a close relation. It has an executant, Heisig, able to control the musical results of feeding punched holes into a concert grand; and the sequence of pieces is, indeed, so alive that it positively leaps off the tickertape.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.