I had a classical station on the radio while I was driving Miles home from school today. The Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor was playing and I was humming along with it.
Miles asked “Dad, how do you know this music?”
“My dad used to play it,” I explained.
“Papa played with an orchestra? Cool!”
“No, Papa played with a recording of an orchestra. There’s a company called Music Minus One that will send you a recording of the performance without the instrument you play. So he had a record with the orchestra only, and the printed music for the piano so he could play along.”
“It sounds like Rock Band, only less fun.”
He’s right, less fun. That Mendelssohn concerto is a bitch to play. I have vivid memories of my dad practicing the part over and over again.
Having made the trasition from vinyl to CD, Music Minus One is still in business, at least until Activision publishes Symphony Hero.