These tracks comprise a sampler CD I made for a friend who teaches a university course on the history of keyboard music. They are transcriptions from rare LPs containing recordings of a variety of historic keyboard instruments, including early pianos tricked out with sound effects that later fell out of favor, a rare hybrid keyboard instrument, and the earliest surviving pianoforte by the supposed inventor of that instrument.
The LPs from which these tracks were transcribed are in excellent condition, and the analog rig used to extract the sound from the grooves is near state-of-the-art. As a result, there is very little surface noise or tracking distortion, and finer resolution of detail than you may be accustomed to in LP transcriptions. Most of the LPs were very nicely recorded by historic keyboard enthusiasts and pressed on imported vinyl.
If you like fortepianos and early harpsichords, you should like these recordings. And if you've never heard a bassoon stop or Janissary music, you may be in for a shock. More information on the instruments and sound effects in these recordings can be found in David Crombie's excellent book, "Piano: A Photographic History of the World's Most Celebrated Instrument". All of these recordings are long out of print as far as I know. If you know otherwise, please let me know ASAP, as I would not want any artists to be deprived of the royalties they so richly deserve.
Here are notes on the tracks:
01 - Lodovico Giustini, Sonata I in g minor. Cristofiori pianoforte 1720.
02, 03, 04 - Armand-Louis Couperin, Simphonie de clavecins for two harpsichords. Goujon-Swanen (1749, 1784) and Ruckers-Taskin (1646, 1780) harpsichords.
05 - C.P.E. Bach, Sonata no.2 from "Essay on the true art of playing keyboard instruments", 1753. Hass clavichord, 1761.
06 - C.P.E. Bach, 12 variations on "Les folies d'espagne", Wq118. Spath & Schmahl tangentenflugel, 1801.
07 - F. Schubert, German Dance from 4 Komische Landler D354. Fritz grand piano, c. 1814.
08 - M. Clementi, Sonata in D ("La Chasse", 1st mvmt). Clementi grand piano, c.1825.
09 - J. Field, Nocturne. Clementi cabinet piano, c. 1825.
10 - F. Chopin, Waltz in A flat op. 42. Graf grand piano, 1826.
11 - W.A. Mozart, Turkish rondo from K331. Fritz grand piano, c. 1814.
12 - C.M.v. Weber, Andante con variazioni op.10 no. 3. Bogner table piano, c. 1840.
13 - J.W. Kalliwoda, Grand valse op. 169. Schleip lyra piano, c. 1835.
14 - Steibelt, Bacchanale. van der Hoef giraffe piano, c. 1810.
Bassoon stop on 7, 11-13.
Janissary music on 7, 11.
Triangle stop on 14.
Moderator stop on various tracks, but especially evident on 10.
Clementi's patented "harmonic swell" on 8, adding untuned sympathy strings to give a more harmonically rich, echoey effect.
2-4 use late 18th century harpsichords with multiple registers operated by knee levers to adjust dynamics.
9, 13, 14 are types of upright piano.
6 is a hybrid harpsichord, piano, clavichord.
Track 5 should be played about 6 dB lower than the rest, and track 6 about 4 dB lower than the rest.
Equipment used for A/D conversion: Lyra Helikon phono cartridge, Linn LP12/Lingo turntable, Linn Ittok tonearm, Audioquest LeoPard tonearm cable, PS Audio PS2 preamplifier, Kimber PBJ interconnect, M-Audio Audiophile USB A/D converter.