Newspaper Page Text
THE SUN AND -NEW YORK HERALD, SUNP AY, FEBRUARY 1, 1920.
i 1 1 .t , illlllllllllllllllllllllllllllieS III' l "I I I I ll I III ll ll I I1M I W (in gr 1 The development of the player -Piano i H i H 1 - 3 T is an interesting fait that the invention that made the modern play er piano possible the "perforated music sheet" was m a d c nearly three quarters of IKKKi?S(A3 a ccntllr' aK' 1 British Patent Office show that in 1846 Alex ander Baync obtained a patent on a "perforated note sheet" used in connection with a Pipe Organ. Beyond the Patent Office records little is known of Baync's invention. It apparently never enjoyed any commercial success. Indeed there is reason to doubt that it wis ever made practically operative. The Trumpelo On: of the first roll-playing instruments. A toy trumpet blown by the mouth and with ike notes sounded by a music-roll. 'A -K' After Bayne 's early efforts, there followed a . t'1' "py'rfud 6f nearly twenty-five years during which there was no further practical development of this type of instrument. In 1878 a small reed instrument, using a per forated music sheet and called an Orgauctte was made and put on the market. Thc'advwt of this instrument, crude as it was, marked the real beginning of the development of the'auto ' inatic musical instruments of which the Player-' Piano and the more recent Reproducing Piano arc the best known and most perfect examples. First Instruments Mv own connection with this irulu-.trv covers a period of over thirty years and dates back of e time when these instruments received or the were worthy of serious consideration on the part of musicians or serious music-lovers. The earlier instruments were toys, pure and simple, and it was not until i885 that the first instrument that could make a just claim to serious musical consideration was produced. ..This was called the Aeolian Organ. It was made The Organette In 1878 a small reed instru ment using a perforated roll was put on the market. with organ reeds and could be played either by means of an ordinary keyboard or a perforated music sheet. ' Early Difficulties These were days when the industry was sub jected to constant and varied vicissitudes. Musically and mechanically the Aeolian Organ was still in the early stages of its development, and the Company producing it was beset with many difficulties. There were problems of; In MANHATTAN 29 West 42nd Street Iisi Influence manufacturing and selling that constantly taxed our small and inexperienced organization, and there was the handicap of insufficient capital that nearly wrecked us on more than one oc casion. The music trade, as a whole, had little or no confidence in our instruments, and our wholesale business as a result was very small. Of our retail business in New York, perhaps an idea - can Ic obtained from the fact that my Father, at that time General Manager of the Company, told me that if wc could sell one Aeolian Organ a week, he would consider it a very good busi ness. During my first year with the company our retail sales amounted to $12,000. At the present time we consider we have had a poor day unless our sales at retail exceed this amount. The Greatest Obstacle But perhaps the greatest obstacle we, had to meet and overcome was the almost universal prejudice against all kinds of automatic musical instruments, and particularly those operated by means of a perforated rpll. Our instruments were made to suffer for the shortcomings of all the automatic instruments that had gone before. Indeed, the Organcttcs that our Company had itself previously manu factured were among the most imperfect and least musical of all mechanical instruments, and, therefore, the chief offenders, against musical taste. So strong was this prejudice against the perforated music sheet that I havo repeatedly had people who had called to hear the instru ments leave without doing 60 when they saw it 1 was played with a perforated roll. Encouragement from IVilliam Steinway The first man of prominence in the music industry who, as far as I,know, foresaw the possibilities of musical instruments played by means of a perforated music sheet was William Steinway, the hrad of the famous house of Steinway & Sons. I remember taking a letter from my Father to Mr. Steinway, at Steinway Halloa 14th Street, shortlyafter I first went with the Company. After reading the letter he wrote a reply which he handed to me, asking as he did so if J were connected with The Aeolian Cdmpany. On being told I was, He said, "I am greatly interested in your instruments. Of course, they arc at present crude and undeveloped but they possess great possibilities and in my judgment have a great future." This was the only time I ever saw Mr. William Steinway, He was a remark able man a born leader, with vision, courage and great executive ability. Aeolian -Steinway Alliance The late Charles Steinway, who succeeded William Steinway as President of Steinway V Sons, was another remarkable man. Under his leadership the great business was developed, and the prestige of the piano increased until today, the name "Steinway" has become a synonym of superlative excellence throughout tha world. It was during the administration of Mr. Charles Steinway that the alliance between Steinway & Sons and The Aeolian Company was entered into. Under the terms of this alliance the Pianola now the Duo-Art was incorporated in the Steinway piano and The Aeolian Company was given the selling rights for this instrument throughout the world. I cannot leave this subject without paying tribute to this great house its executives and their associates for the part they have played, not only in the development of the Piano as an instrument, but for the beneficial influence they have exerted on the great art with which their Jbusiness has allied them. I ( cAttitudc of the Music Trade Unfortunately men with the vision of Mr. William Steinway were very few in the music trade. A majority of the dealers felt about our instruments as did the Had of a large concern which I visited on my fi. trip as a salesman ' for our Company. I I had gotten only partly through my story when he placed his hand on my shoulder in a kindly, almost paternal wa v, and said : "Young man, you seem like a nice, clever sort of loy, so I am going o give you n piece of advice. It romcs from a man who has growngray in the piano business. Go back to New York and get into another line of business. There is and never will be any demand for an instrument like yours." It is interesting to know (hat within it few years this same concern became our largest agents' and havo purchased and sold many thousands of these instruments "for which there was and never would be any demand." . THE AEOLIAN COMPANY Makers of the Duo-Art Pianola In THE BRONX 367 East 149th Street on Musical By H. B. TREMAINE, President of The Aeolian Company Endorsement from a Great Musician The first public recognition received by one of our instruments from a musician of prominence came from Mr. Anton Scidl, the world-famous Orchestral Conductor, and at that time Director at the Mctrojvjlitan Ofcra House. This was, I believe, the first endorsement ever given by a great musician to an automatic musical instru ment. . The Aeolian Organ In 185 was introduced the first roll-playing instrument that could make any claim to serious consideration, a reed ' organ. 1 The great significance and far-reaching effects of this event can hardly be understood at this time when the Player-Piano and phonograph have achieved a permanent place among the stanJard musical instruments, but thirty years a when this occurred automatic musical in struments were discredited in the eyes of musi cians and music lovers and were supposed to nppial solely to the distinctly unmusical. Mr. Seidl's standing as a really great musicia and one who was known to be extremely conservative in all matters relating to his art, caused his strong The Pianola In 1896 the outside piano playing attachment was first made and put on the market two years later. ' I com'mendaiion of our instrument to create quite a sensation in musical circles, and marked the beginning of the breaking down of the very reasonable and entirely justified prejudice that had grown up against automatic instruments. r Taderenski's Approval ' Seidl's endorsement of the Aeolian was shortly followed by one from Padcrcwski, whose atten tion had been called to the instrument, by Dr. Alexander Lambert, the famous musician and educator, who himself had been quirk to sec the possibilities it contained, particularly from an educational standpoint. Other events that served to place the Aeolian iion a more sure and dignified footing, were the purchase of one for yucca Victoria and its installation at Balmoral Castle; a demonstration given Pope Leo XIII iuJiis private throne room, and the permanent installation of aa Aeolian Grand in the Vatican (this by the way was the first audition ever granted a musical instrument at the Vatican); and several very successful concerts g! cn with the instruments at Mendelssohn Hall, at which such artists as Kdouard dc Rcskc and Lillian Nordica sang to its accompaniment. Piano. Foremost Manufacturers of Musical Instruments in the tyorld In BROOKLYN 11 Flatbush Avenue oAppreciation Up to this time our instruments had Ijcen Organs played both by means of a kcylward and a perforated Music-roll, and The Aeolian Com pany was the only house engaged in the industry. In 1888 Wilcox & White, a concern of organ manufacturers, began the manufacture of aa instrument similar to the Aeolian called the Symphony. It was several years later lcfore other manufacturers entered the industry. The Invention of the Pianola In 1896 the Pianola was invented and the first experimental model of this instrument Miich was destined to ultimately revolutionize the piano industry was shipped from Detroit to New York. I remember distinctly thfr first time I heard this instrument. I went with Mr. Votey, the in ventor, to the factory of the Roosevelt Organ Company on Park Avenue near 129th Street. This building at that time was used for storage and the Pianola had been installed in a corner of one of the partly empty lofts. This first model was so large that placed in position Wore aa upright piano, it entirely obscured the latter instrument. The cabinet Pianola was never, even ia the later improved designs, a particularly sightly instrument, and this first model was decidedly unattractive; but the flexible, clastic touch and varying wind pressure that made jwssiblc the contrasting dynamics the basic principles upon which the Pianola's success was achieved, .were all embodied in this first expert mental model. Pianola as- Soloist "with London Symphony Orchestra 1 It was this same instrument (the Pianola) reduced in size and refined in construction that I , heard a few years later, playing a Concert Grand piano in Queens Hall, London, accompanied by The London .Symphony Orchestra with the great Sir Arthur Nikisch conducting. After this the development and recognition of The Pianola was rapid. The Pianola Piano, a piano in which the Pianola action was installed as an integral part of .the instrument soon superseded the outside or cabinet Pianola. Success Abroad Abroad, the Pianola has found ready accep tance. Branches of The Aeolian Company were established in London, Paris, Berlin, Mad rid and in Melbourne, Sidney and 'Adelaide, Australia. These Branches were very successful. So great indeed did our business become that a prominent trade paper wrote several years ago that "the volume of business passing through the Aeolian Company'si London House makt; that of any other music concern in Kurupo seem insignificant by comparison." This was all the more significant from the fact that there were music houses in these great music centers of the old world that had been in existence a century or more. And yet, this new American concern, in but a few short years, entered their field and far outstripped them in material growth. Distinguished Patrons J The patronage of the Pianola abroad has been confined to no one class. Almost every palace in .Europe contains one or more. Seven Royal Appointments have !ccn conferreil upon its makers. Musicians, realizing this instrument's vital effect in popularizing music and its inherent soundness .and artistry, have been its most prominent advocates. The- recommendation for the Cross of the Legion of Honor, conferred by the French Gov ernment in recognition of the Aeolian Company's eminent services to music, was signed by many of the most prominent musicians in France. Famous schools, universities and conservatories here and abroad, have adopted the Pianola as a means in teaching music and do their utmost -to I-ncourage its use, out of hours by students. The Final Development of the Player -Piano The Reproducing Piano 1 The latest development of the playcr-piaad the reproducing piano is a far cry from the little roll-playing organ ,of my early days, and mare than fulfills William Steinway s prediction as to the future of tjicsc instruments. The concert given a week or so ago at Carnegie Hall at which a Duo-Art Grand Pianola played the piano jMrt of a Liszt Concerto,' with the Philharmonic Orchestra, is significant of the position- which the roll-playing instrument has In NEWARK S95 Brpad Street gained. This is the tenth apearancc of ihs Duo-Art' in fhc role of, soloist at Symphonv Orchestra; Concerts, ft lias played thus with the New York Symphony, the Philadelphia, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit and San Fran cisco Orchestras. yThose, who know the extreme conservatism ofsiich men us Damrosch, Stransky, Stokowski, Gabrilowitsch. Alfred Hertz, Dc Lamartcr, Sokoloff and Ysayc, the conductors of these orchestras, and the care they exercise in selecting the soloists for their concerts can appreciate the nature of this tribute to the Duo-Art. At the concert at Carnegie, Rudolph Can; the celebrated pianist, took the baton and con ducted, when the Duo-Art pkiyed,. The amaz ing thing about this being that he was conducting" The Pianola Piano ' A piano in which the Pianola was embodied as an integral part. the orchestra and, in effect, playing the piano at the same time. That n. hu himself had made the rolls that contained the piano part. The criticisms of the press, following this concert, commented particularly on this seeming paradox and were extremely complimentary to both-Mr. Ganz and the Duo-Art Pianola. - - ( ! I 1 Ear-Reaching Influence of the "oJ Thc-Pianola nut the works of the'ercatSiom- posers. into the most distant towns and villages irf-fcvcfy 'country in the world. It familiarized the, people of these remote centers with the best music,'tcach'ing them to understand and appre ciate the master pieces of the great composers. 5 The D'10-Art Piano docs all this and it docs far more. Into every home where there is a. Duo-Art there come the great piaaists--Puderrwski, llofmann, Bauer, Ganz, Novacs and over fifty of the world's greatest artists, each waiting to take his or her place at the instru ment and to reeat again and, again, whenever railed upon, the wonderful performances which they have given ia the great concert halls of this couutry and Europe performances that havt made their names immortal. The Duo-Art Piano (Grand) The final and highest devel opment of roll-playing instru ments. Piano, player-piano and reproducing piano in one instrument. Bringing as it docs the world's best music, interpreted by the world's greatest masters, into the homes of the people everywhere and thus making music the most accessible and most intimate of all the arts, who shall venture to predict the ultimate influence of the Duo-Art on the development of musical appreciation throughout the world? .