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Aleix Palau | 1 February 2022

The Museu de la Música records pianola rolls by composers such as Mompou, Blancafort and Martínez Valls and makes them accessible to all

The fifteen rolls are available free of charge from L’Auditori Digital and include works published under pseudonyms by some of the leading composers of the period.

The Museu de la Música records pianola rolls by composers such as Mompou, Blancafort and Martínez Valls and makes them accessible to all

The Museu de la Música continues to extend its collection and make it available to a wider audience , and is launching a space of its own on the L’Auditori Digital platform. This will help to highlight the research carried out in recent years into Catalan composers who published pianola music for dance.

The Museum has made available to the public free of charge fifteen recordings of pianola rolls by pianola specialist Rex Lawson, featuring music for dance, one of the key genres for this instrument. Interestingly, the compositions are pieces published under pseudonyms by well-known composers whose works of this type were hitherto unknown.

While Frederic Mompou and Manuel Blancafort jointly signed over twenty pieces of music for dance under the pseudonym Hobby, Clifton Worsley was the pseudonym of Pere Astort i Ribas, X. Poli was Josep Maria Pla and Mateu, R. Walsmay was composer Rafael Martínez Valls. J. Demon and Mestre Demon were the pseudonyms of Llorenç Torres Nin and Harry Wilson was Antoni Oller i Guinovart.

As Jordi Roquer from the University of Barcelona points out, “these composers hid behind pseudonyms for a number of reasons, mainly because the market at that time led to some inertia, combined with an understandable reluctance to include a repertoire of popular dancing music in official catalogues.”

The pieces in this selection come from the pianola roll collections of the Museu de la Música in Barcelona, Biblioteca de Catalunya and Mas Roger (Arxiu Comarcal del Priorat) and were recorded on 24 and 25 January 2018 in London by English pianola specialist Rex Lawson, playing a Steck Grand Player Piano loaned by Denis Hall.

The recording was made possible through the involvement of the Museu de la Música, Biblioteca de Catalunya and Arxiu Comarcal del Priorat, and was supported and sponsored by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) and the Robert Gerhard Centre for the promotion and dissemination of the Catalan musical heritage.

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