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Rachmaninoff returns!

test 5 May 2009

UK: The Zenph Studios ‘re-performance’ previewed by PSN-e took place to considerable acclaim last month, writes David Davies. The live recital of classic Rachmaninoff recordings realised by pioneering software company Zenph Studios at a US recital hall was praised by critic John W. Lambert (Classical Voice of North Carolina), who noted that the pieces – originally captured between 1921 and 1942 – "all sounded equally wonderful".

As previewed by PSN-e last month, the Rachmaninoff ‘re-performance’ enabled by Zenph’s specialist software entailed the recording of a specially-adapted Steinway Model D concert grand piano by a Neumann KU 100 dummy head.

Attended by a capacity crowd of 300, the event constituted another landmark in the story of Zenph Studios, which has already masterminded two acclaimed ‘re-performances’ by pianists Art Tatum and Glenn Gould.

The recital took place following a series of presentations examining Rachmaninoff’s work and the technical challenges involved in bringing it back to the live stage.

Zenph president/co-founder John Q. Walker tells PSN-e that, much to the team’s surprise, the final encore gave way to an extended standing ovation. "It was not something we had planned on," he admits. "What was it they were applauding? Rachmaninoff’s playing heard live? Zenph’s technical work? The combination of art and science? I think it was simply an exceptional experience. Over the following days, I received many emails from people who noted that they thought ahead of time that they would be bored, but they weren’t bored at all. One couple remarked that they tried to explain the ‘remarkable evening’ to their neighbours, but finally gave up, simply saying ‘you had to be there’. Rachmaninoff’s playing and compositions continue to enrapture."

The recital was recorded by Steve Epstein and Richard King for future release by Sony BMG Masterworks, possibly as a Hybrid SACD.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Manring:

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