The Hupfeld Model A Phonoliszt-Violina featured on this audio compact disc is a specially constructed instrument (one of two known to exist -- both in Model A cases) that were originally outfitted to be used specifically in a movie theater. By using a bank of five or six special solenoid operated pneumatic controls mounted on the backside of the casework the instrument could be conveniently actuated and controlled from a remote location, usually the projection booth of the theater. Low voltage batteries were used to power the solenoids, remote wiring and buttons. And since the machine was designed to be played remotely, the single music roll mechanism that was commonly installed in Phonoliszt-Violinas was not appropriate, because having only a single music roll loaded and ready to play was far too limiting for totally automatic operation.
Under the usual commercial circumstances, such as a fine restaurant, an attendant would have operated the machine, changing music rolls according to the desires of the patrons, as well as collecting the requisite listening fees, too. When used in this way, the single music roll device was entirely appropriate and, in fact, very desirable. However, since no attendant would normally be standing by an instrument located in a movie theatre, machines destined for Kino or theater use were equipped with a duplex revolver system consisting of two automatic roll-changers in a side-by-side arrangement. The left side unit played Phonoliszt rolls (expression piano only) and the right side unit played Phonoliszt-Violina rolls (expression piano and violin).
Click here for pictures and additional historical details about this instrument.
The original monophonic tape recording for this CD was made by Ron Cappel on April 2, 1992, soon after he had completed the restoration and final regulation on the Model A Phonoliszt-Violina, which was soon to be shipped to its owner on the eastern seaboard of the United States. To improve the listening qualities of this recording, once the audio signal from the original tape recording was digitized, some additional signal processing was carefully applied. This was done in order to eliminate tape hiss, to provide compensation for tape roll-off, and to attenuate a narrow band of low frequency mechanical noises caused by the violin tremolo mechanisms, a normal kind of noise associated with any Phonoliszt-Violina, but which was quite exaggerated in the original tape recording due to poor microphone placement.
The selection of music is classical, some of it operatic, all of which clearly demonstrates the exceptional musical skill of the Hupfeld music roll arrangers, as well as the superb musical capabilities of the Phonoliszt-Violina in rendering complex classical music scores. For anyone familiar with automatic musical instruments, and who know how difficult it can be to faithfully render any kind of classical music on a mechanical device, listening to this disc ought to be an interesting musical adventure.
Hupfeld Model A Phonoliszt-Violina
|4.||Rigoletto Fantasy (roll damaged; end of this tune is missing)|
|7.||The Bandits Strike|
|8.||Serenata Opus 5|
|9.||Tales from Vienna Woods|
Listen to a sample....
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