Video magic: Rachmaninov’s ghost returns to the stage

Video magic: Rachmaninov’s ghost returns to the stage


norman lebrecht

December 04, 2014


rachmaninov piano

Tomorrow night in Naples Rachmaninov’s ghost will appear and give a “live” recital at Teatro Mediterraneo.

It’s an idea conceived by the Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda together with Julius Tuomisto, CEO of the Finnish software company Delicode. Through tech wizardry, Rachmaninov’s ghost will be seen performing 11 pieces that were recorded by the composer on piano rolls. Prosseda will then interview Rachmaninov on stage.

The animated 3D image of Rachmaninov’s ghost has been realized by Delicode, using its own softwares Ni-Mate and Z-Vector. The animated speaking face of Rachmaninov was realized by the Italian computer graphic artist Adriano Mestichella.

‘This project,’ says Prosseda, ‘has been conceived to bring classical music to people beyond the traditional audience. Only the 2 or 3 percent of the population normally attends piano recitals, and our goal is to reach the other 98 percent, using an innovative and attractive format, but still focusing on great music.’

The Ghost Concert is the opening event of PianocityNapoli, an innovative festival based on the pianocity format developed by Andreas Kern, which will present 200 piano recitals and 300 pianists in Napoli in three days between Dec. 5th and 7th.


  • Brian says:

    Will the phantom Rach also exclaim, “Oh God, not the C# minor again! I’m not allowed to escape it even in death??!!”

  • Les Berger says:

    A similar “live” concert using piano rolls was given by Rachmaninov in the Logan Hall UCL form memory some 20 to 30 years ago. It was remarkable to hear how much of his style had been captured by that old technique.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    More flashing lights is the way to reach the other 98 percent?

  • Greg from SF says:

    I watched the video clip – the image “playing the piano” looked more like Gort (from “The Day the Earth Stood Still”) than Rachmaninoff.

    What is the point of this exercise in soulless computer generated flummery?

    Oh, sorry, stupid question – the point is to make money for the presenters, of course…..

    “… bring classical music to the people”. Yeah. Right.

  • manhattanvor says:

    The “ghost” appears to be less well rendered than a poor copy-of-a-copy of the silent film version of “The Mummy”. Awful – in this day and age it looks as though it were created on a 1980’s video editor. I guess those can be gotten cheap on Ebay…..

    This piano should be tuned and regulated to sound the same as Rachmaninoff’s instruments did. This has a modern day “clank” in the middle register, especially. Today’s pianists, by and large, seem to prefer this sound because it cuts over an orchestra, but has no fullness. I guess its great for a Prokofiev concerto, but nothing else before that. I am talking about the poorly chosen Rach. Prelude here presented. Why not listen to Rachmaninoff’s recordings from the early1900s via Edison discs or to the later Electric versions on RCA – those have glowing tones and pianissimi that are far beyond this computerized version’s ability to achieve.

    Time for someone to do a lot of homework.