Hometown: Byron Bay, NSW, AU
Label: Dolphin Music, Sonic Democracy
The Condon Collection is sourced from exceptional performances made for the Reproducing Piano by luminaries of music in the first 25 years of the 20th Century. These original performances remain preserved on the piano's music roll.
Piano rolls are made of highly glazed durable paper with low hydroscopic values. These qualities are responsible for the sensitivity and trueness with which they still image music. The British Museum believes these rolls can last for centuries.
The performers who cut music rolls demanded extremely high standards. They alone had the final say as to the quality of the reproduction of their work. Their reputation were at stake.
Only when satisfied that the virtuosity of their playing had been captured would they deign to autograph the rolls, and so authenticate the calibre of the performances thereon.
The piano rolls preserve each performance with a richness, tone and touch, which has remained competitive with early gramophone records.
It is fascinating to compare music rolls from the Condon Collection with disc recordings from the same period. Whereas the disc reflects the rudimentary sounds of its early technology, the performance from the music roll is as dynamic as today's fine piano will allow. By the time discs matched the quality in sound of the paper roll made for reproducing pianos, most of the eminent composers you are about to hear were dead.