[Dixielandjazz] A New Musical Computer that raises the dead.

John Farrell stridepiano at tesco.net
Sun Jun 5 23:31:40 PDT 2005

Steve Barbone invited me to comment on a report he posted from the NY Times
concerning the Zenph project  from which comes this snippet :

"Developed by Wayne Stahnke, the first Disklaviers were made in the 1980's
Bösendorfer, the renowned Viennese piano manufacturer. When that company
stopped making them, Yamaha took up the baton, hiring Mr. Stahnke as a
consultant. Mr. Stahnke's best-known Disklavier project was a foretaste of
Dr. Walker's efforts: translations of piano rolls recorded by Sergei
Rachmaninoff. The two resulting CD's of "new" Rachmaninoff performances,
both called "A Window in Time" and released in 1998 and 1999, are still
available from Telarc."

We covered the Zenph thread a short while back so I won't bother to repeat
what I said about it then. Some years ago I  visited Wayne Stahnke at his
house near LA and was blown away what he has achieved in the
electromechanical field of music. Given a good grasp of the principles of
music and lots of practice it is a fairly simple matter to translate an
audio recording into another audio medium, piano rolls for instance. This is
one of the areas in which Wayne excels but he has gone much further than
that, without some of the software he has written it would be very difficult
for me to continue with my present method of making rolls.

His Telarc Rachmaninoff CD (which I have) is simply astonishing - he took
some Rachmaninoff piano rolls, added all the missing light and shade, attack
and decay resulting in performances which are virtually indistinguishable
from Sergei's own. I can unreservedly recommend it CD to you.

The modest, self-effacing Wayne was the inventor of the Bosendorfer SE
reproducing piano which, among other things, was used for Dick Hyman's
acclaimed Fats Waller CD (which I also have) way back in 1989 ("Dick Hyman
play Fats Waller", Reference Recordings RR-33DCD - the world's first
direct-to-CD recording). Listening to that marvellous session - which should
be on every serious collector's shelf - will convince you that Wayne is a
rare genius, he is certainly one of the most remarkable people I have ever

John Farrell

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