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Late and Unknown: Works on Rolls

recorded on the composer’s original player pianos
Product number: WER 67542
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For decades, Conlon Nancarrow’s creative activity was confined to the privacy of his studio: he wrote music for the player piano, punched it manually onto paper rolls, and listened to it played by his mechanical instruments. Working with these player pianos caused that his musical language evolved and matured. There is no more authentic way of experiencing Nancarrow’s extraordinary repertoire than listening to it on his own specially modified instruments.

This new CD “Late and Unknown” features numerous first recordings on Nancarrow’s player pianos of pieces either associated with his late output or previously unknown. The program documents Nancarrow’s practice of turning old rolls into new works (“For Ligeti”, “Study No. 18” second version, “Unnumbered Study (canon 3:4:5:6)”) and his usage of the player piano as a tool for testing practically everything he wrote (“Three Canons for Ursula”). Included is also the unfamiliar “Study No. 45d” surrounded by its companions “No. 46” and “No. 47”, all former members of the most extensive work that Nancarrow ever conceived, the so-called “Betty Freeman Suite”. Finally, current technology has made possible a properly coordinated version of the ambitious “Study No. 48”, for two superimposed rolls, heard here for the first time – in fulfillment of a long-lasting wish from the composer – on one of his own instruments.

co-production with WDR Cologne and Paul Sacher Stiftung Basel


For Ligeti (1988)
Three Canons for Ursula (1988)
Study for Player Piano No. 18 (canon 3:4)
, second version
Study for Player Piano No. 48 (canon 60:61)
(ca. 1977)
Unnumbered Study (canon 3:4:5:6)
Study for Player Piano No. 46 (ca. 1983)
Study for Player Piano No. 45d (ca. 1983)
Study for Player Piano No. 47
(ca. 1983)

More Information

Late and Unknown: Works on Rolls
recorded on the composer’s original player pianos
58 ′19 ′′

Technical Details

Product number:
WER 67542
0,1 kg

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