Disklavier Recreates Glenn Gould's Goldbergs in New York

Classic Arts News   Disklavier Recreates Glenn Gould's Goldbergs in New York
It was the ghost of Glenn Gould at the piano, but without the groans. At a press conference last week in New York, Zenph Studios demonstrated the latest fruits of its technology research: a recreation of Gould's legendary 1955 mono recording of the Goldberg Variations.

In 2005, the pianist Alfred Cortot became the first musician to be resurrected by the Raleigh-based software company, which has developed a process to transcribe recordings of performances into high-resolution MIDI files that can be played on a Yamaha Disklavier Pro concert grand piano.

Zenph premiered the Gould "reperformance" on a specially prepared Yamaha Disklavier last September in Toronto; the next release will be of Art Tatum, along with other recordings from Sony BMG Masterworks' archives.

While producers usually want to touch up mistakes, "reperformance" recordings replicate the original musician's glitches, as well as his/her touch, timing, pedal actions and articulation — all with vastly improved sound, in the case of recorded performances from earlier days. And, as happened in New York (and in Raleigh two years ago), a legendary old performance can be recreated live on a piano for a new audience in the same room.

Each "reperformance" recording takes about five months to produce.

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