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Louis Moreau Gottschalk – Weber’s Oberon Overture, J. 306 – Transcription for Piano, 4 Hands, Op. 83 – Recording by Gennady Stolyarov II

Louis Moreau Gottschalk – Weber’s Oberon Overture, J. 306 – Transcription for Piano, 4 Hands, Op. 83 – Recording by Gennady Stolyarov II

Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s piano transcription of Carl Maria von Weber’s 1826 Oberon Overture for four hands has seldom been performed in public, and no known recording existed of it until now. Gottschalk (1829-1869) created it in 1857, and the last documented public performance was by Eugene List (1918-1985) in Spring 1979, as briefly mentioned in a May 4, 1979, New York Times article by Joseph Horowitz.

While there exist many transcriptions of the Oberon Overture, Gottschalk’s is absolutely, monumentally unique in its extent of ornamentation, thunderous intensity, and virtuosic passages (which will be unmistakable to the listener). Perhaps the demands that this piece would place on human performers explain the rarity of any attempts to play it. It is likely that only a few remarkable pianists throughout history, including Gottschalk himself, would have had the skill, endurance, and proto-transhuman mental processing power needed to carry it out without fail.

Fortunately, with musical notation and composition software, combined with increasingly realistic digital instruments, the limitations of the human hands can be transcended, and this work can be made available to listeners as Gottschalk intended it to be heard. This recording was created using the MuseScore 3.0 by Gennady Stolyarov II between June and December 2021; the transcription itself required approximately 36 hours of meticulous work, spread out over half a year. However, elevating this piece into public awareness is certainly worth the effort. This is heroic music showing the impressive heights to which human achievement, ingenuity, and virtuosity can rise, and it is a marvelous gift from Gottschalk in 1857 to our era.

Watch the score video on YouTube here and on Odysee here.

Download the MP3 file of this composition for free here.

Download the score (published in 1901 – now in the public domain) here.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk – Pensée Poétique – Nocturne, Op.18 – Recording by Gennady Stolyarov II

Louis Moreau Gottschalk – Pensée Poétique – Nocturne, Op.18 – Recording by Gennady Stolyarov II

Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Commentary by Gennady Stolyarov II: This Pensée Poétique (Poetic Thought) was composed by Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829 – 1869) in 1852-1853. It is a short nocturne – Gottschalk’s Opus 18, different from Gottschalk’s more famous Pensée Poétique, Op. 62.

To my surprise, I am unaware of any readily available recording of this quite interesting nocturne with some strong Chopin influences. Therefore, I created a rendition using MuseScore 3.0. This video follows the original Gottschalk score, to which I hope to have done justice. The last third appears to be rather virtuosic (as is much of Gottschalk’s work), and I am glad that we live in an era where programs allow us to experience these kinds of compositions in spite of the difficulty for a human to learn them.

Watch the video with the score on YouTube here and on Odysee here.

Download the MP3 rendition by Gennady Stolyarov II here.

The sheet music is in the public domain and is available here. (IMSLP page.)

Description from Gottschalk.fr (English translation):

“Rather ‘classical’ piece with a beautiful lyrical line. Found by John Doyle in Brazil. (‘A bibliographic study and catalog of works’). Published by Chabal, Paris; it can also be found at the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, from where it was extracted.”


Musical Prime Numbers in Base 7, from 2 to 20021 (4817 in Base 10) – Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

Musical Prime Numbers in Base 7, from 2 to 20021 (4817 in Base 10) – Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

Gennady Stolyarov II

You have never heard music quite like this before.

This is the musical expression, in Base 7, of every prime number from 2 to 20021 (4817 in Base 10). The video displays each prime number in Base 10 and Base 7, alongside the corresponding notation. It also presents the system for musically mapping the prime numbers, explains the rules for composing within this system, and discusses some of its possibilities.

This is not an entirely algorithmic composition, since the human-driven approach to splitting the notes representing each prime number enables the music to be as consonant as possible while adhering to the rules of the system. This work was composed by Gennady Stolyarov II between February 12 and March 4, 2021. It is played using the MuseScore 3.0 software. It is likely unplayable by a single human pianist, although two pianists might succeed in performing it.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

 

 

Allegro Risoluto, Op. 91 (2021) – Musical Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

Allegro Risoluto, Op. 91 (2021) – Musical Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

Gennady Stolyarov II

This composition by Gennady Stolyarov II coveys the sense of proceeding with swift determination, even through challenging settings and terrain. Occasionally there is an opportunity for respite to enjoy the scenery. Watch the video on YouTube here and on Odysee here.

This work was composed by Mr. Stolyarov on January 22-27, 2021, and is played using the MuseScore 3.0 software. This composition received an Honorable Mention at the 2021 Rodrigo Landa-Romero International Composition Competition

Download the MP3 file of this composition here. (Left-click to listen, right-click for download options.)

Find the score of this composition here.

This composition is intended to be playable by a human on piano, and those with pianistic abilities are encouraged to try and free to record and publish videos of themselves doing so.

Photographs taken by Gennady Stolyarov II from the trails of C-Hill above Carson City, Nevada, on April 26, 2018.

This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

End of 2020 Solo March, Op. 90 (2020) – Musical Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

End of 2020 Solo March, Op. 90 (2020) – Musical Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

Gennady Stolyarov II

Composed to commemorate the end of the most difficult year in recent history, this march by Gennady Stolyarov II conveys both the struggle and turbulence of the year left behind and the aspiration toward a brighter future. The piece is one of contrast and duality; it does not always move in the direction of brightness, since as the pandemic has taught us, there can be both incremental improvements and (sometimes sudden and dramatic) setbacks. Nor does the piece end definitively in a major or minor key; it ends in the key of C, but which C? The outcome of the battle between progress (potentially exponential progress) and ruin (potentially catastrophic ruin) is up to us humans to determine in 2021 and far beyond. And yet this composition also uses the principles of harmony to convey its moods, because it is through such a structured approach that humans ultimately rescue meaning out of the chaos and have a chance to restore order to a turbulent world.

Because 2020 was a year during which solitude became the default and the norm, this piece is written for solo piano, which also suggests that the conflict between progress and ruin is one that is experienced and participated in by each individual uniquely on that individual’s terms. Humankind is not really marching forward together and is perhaps more divided than ever; rather, the efforts and choices of each individual are what ultimately chart the trajectory of the long arc of history. Also, this march is one that can actually be played by an individual human!

This march was composed by Mr. Stolyarov during December 21-24, 2020, and is played using the MuseScore 3.0 software.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE the video of this composition in order to spread rational high culture to others.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

March-Trio in C Major, Op. 89 (2019) – Musical Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

March-Trio in C Major, Op. 89 (2019) – Musical Composition by Gennady Stolyarov II

Gennady Stolyarov II


This is a determined, uplifting march composed by Gennady Stolyarov II for piano, violin, and cello – intended to be played by a human ensemble. As the decade of the 2010s concludes, this composition expresses the hope that a better future awaits for the entirety of humankind.

This march was composed by Mr. Stolyarov in October-December 2019, and is played using the MuseScore 3.0 software.

Listen to this composition on YouTube here.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

Find the score of this composition here.

The fractal artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Fractal of 85, available for free download here.

This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

 

Empowering Human Musical Creation through Machines, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence – Essay by Gennady Stolyarov II in Issue 2 of the INSAM Journal

Empowering Human Musical Creation through Machines, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence – Essay by Gennady Stolyarov II in Issue 2 of the INSAM Journal

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Note from Mr. Stolyarov: For those interested in my thoughts on the connections among music, technology, algorithms, artificial intelligence, transhumanism, and the philosophical motivations behind my own compositions, I have had a peer-reviewed paper, “Empowering Human Musical Creation through Machines, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence” published in Issue 2 of the INSAM Journal of Contemporary Music, Art, and Technology. This is a rigorous academic publication but also freely available and sharable via a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license – just as academic works ought to be – so I was honored by the opportunity to contribute my writing. My essay features discussions of Plato and Aristotle, Kirnberger’s and Mozart’s musical dice games, the AI-generated compositions of Ray Kurzweil and David Cope, and the recently completed “Unfinished” Symphony of Franz Schubert, whose second half was made possible by the Huawei / Lucas Cantor, AI / human collaboration. Even Conlon Nancarrow, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, and Karlheinz Stockhausen make appearances in this paper. Look in the bibliography for YouTube and downloadable MP3 links to all of my compositions that I discuss, as this paper is intended to be a multimedia experience.

Music, technology, and transhumanism – all in close proximity in the same paper and pointing the way toward the vast proliferation of creative possibilities in the future as the distance between the creator’s conception of a musical idea and its implementation becomes ever shorter.

You can find my paper on pages 81-99 of Issue 2.

Read “Empowering Human Musical Creation through Machines, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence” here.

Read the full Issue 2 of the INSAM Journal here.

Abstract: “In this paper, I describe the development of my personal research on music that transcends the limitations of human ability. I begin with an exploration of my early thoughts regarding the meaning behind the creation of a musical composition according to the creator’s intentions and how to philosophically conceptualize the creation of such music if one rejects the existence of abstract Platonic Forms. I then explore the transformation of my own creative process through the introduction of software capable of playing back music in exact accord with the inputs provided to it, while enabling the creation of music that remains intriguing to the human ear even though the performance of it may sometimes be beyond the ability of humans. Subsequently, I describe my forays into music generated by earlier algorithmic systems such as the Musikalisches Würfelspiel and narrow artificial-intelligence programs such as WolframTones and my development of variations upon artificially generated themes in essential collaboration with the systems that created them. I also discuss some of the high-profile, advanced examples of AI-human collaboration in musical creation during the contemporary era and raise possibilities for the continued role of humans in drawing out and integrating the best artificially generated musical ideas. I express the hope that the continued advancement of musical software, algorithms, and AI will amplify human creativity by narrowing and ultimately eliminating the gap between the creator’s conception of a musical idea and its practical implementation.”

Waltz #12 in E-flat Major, Op. 88 (2018) – Musical Composition by G. Stolyarov II

Waltz #12 in E-flat Major, Op. 88 (2018) – Musical Composition by G. Stolyarov II

G. Stolyarov II


A waltz for two pianos and a string orchestra, conveying an even-tempered cheerfulness – in a largely 19th-century style but including a bit of melodic experimentation.

Download the MP3 file of this composition at http://rationalargumentator.com/music_stolyarov/Stolyarov_Waltz_12.mp3.

This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The fractal artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Abstract Orderism Fractal 69, available for free download here.

Review of M. Zachary Johnson’s “Emotion in Life and Music” – Article by G. Stolyarov II

Review of M. Zachary Johnson’s “Emotion in Life and Music” – Article by G. Stolyarov II

G. Stolyarov II

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Everyone intuits an emotional substance to music, yet few can explain its nature and origins. According to some, it is merely subjective; a piece evokes feelings that are personal to the listener but have no basis in the actual structure, melody, and harmonies of the composition itself.  According to others, emotion in music can only be explained if anchored to a particular story or the historical context of the composer’s life and motivations. Still others disdain talk of musical emotion altogether and prefer a pure formalism, sometimes seeking to explain why music that feels jarring, discordant, or no way in particular can still be great because of some convention-flouting thing it does. M. Zachary Johnson, a teacher and historian of music and himself an accomplished composer, differs from all of those commonplace views and, in Emotion in Life and Music: A New Science, sets forth a framework by which the mathematics inherent in musical relationships and the feelings to which music gives rise are not only reconciled but shown to be inextricably linked, providing “connection of the emotion with the exact mathematical ratios which measure pitch distance and explain our qualitative affective experience” (p. 163).

Johnson’s concept of the psychological signature of a piece based on three measurable dimensions of intensity, speed, and affect provides a rubric for discerning which basic emotions a musical passage will elicit in the listener. As Johnson points out, these are generalized emotions such as pride or anguish, not anchored to a particular context (e.g., the feeling of accomplishment at having run a marathon or the feeling of having been betrayed) – although other media, such as the storyline of an opera, and even the listener’s personal experiences can provide such a context, which is indeed why different listeners may have different subjective associations with a piece of a particular, objective psychological signature. Even though musical tastes do vary widely among individuals, Johnson convincingly articulates that these tastes are still in reference to something in particular and that an individual’s response to the objective psychological signature of a piece tells more about the listener than about the piece itself. This is a welcome, refreshing contrast to the often militantly intolerant subjectivism of those who proclaim that there are no distinctions of quality or even nature to music or even art in general – that it is all up to the arbitrary preferences of the composer and/or listener, and that anyone who dares challenge this dogma deserves condemnation in the most strident terms. Perhaps contemporary Western culture, or at least the occasional oasis of rationality within it, is beginning to turn away from such absurdity, and Johnson contributes theoretical support to the view most articulately (in our era) espoused by Alma Deutscher that music should be beautiful.

Why is it desirable for dissonance to be resolved? Johnson explains that “Feelings such as pleasure, joy, serenity, inner harmony and balance – these are settled, complete states of mind. They are self-sufficient rewards, forms of satisfaction and contentment. They are ends in themselves. Feelings such as pain, suffering, fear, anger, restlessness, emotional distress and chaos – these are unsettled, incomplete, resolution-demanding states of mind. They motivate us to take some form of productive or corrective action. In respect to psychology, these are a propulsion to satisfy a need, to resolve a clash, to soothe oneself and heal, to strengthen, to gain adaptive flexibility, to stabilize the psyche and bring order to it” (p. 65). Wholesome, constructive music does not merely exist for its own sake but can greatly assist individuals in this task of achieving emotional integrity and strength. This includes music which expresses the darker or incomplete emotions, as long as this expression offers the listener an effective laboratory of the mind to work through such emotions without the risks and harms that would give rise to them in one’s personal life. Johnson notes that “Music rewards you for successful cognitive action, not for successful existential action. And when it gives you darker emotions, the function is not to indicate loss and failure, but to provide a means of sensually enjoying and studying and contemplating the states of consciousness, independently of the issue of actual material loss or gain – which is a form of self-knowledge, an affirmation of the value of one’s own faculties, and therefore itself a spiritual gain” (p. 110). However, there is a difference between a healthy, structured, rational exploration of the darker emotions with the intent of achieving resolution and completeness and the self-destructive embrace of those emotions, which certain types of “music” attempt to inculcate.

I consider myself to be within the same broad Apollonian musical and esthetic tradition as Johnson – as contrasted with the Dionysian revelry in the shocking, debased, and unrestrained. Yet perhaps my most significant difference with Johnson is the scope of what I would encompass within the Apollonian milieu and the latitude which I would allow to certain composers whom Johnson portrays rather harshly. Yes, Richard Wagner had his long, moody, meandering passages – but when his music becomes focused, determined, and structured, it is truly majestic. Yes, Dmitri Shostakovich was often despondent, but he could also write a fugue without any dissonance – and, besides, who would not be despondent when responding to the atrocities of the Stalin regime, but needing to do so in a veiled, indirect manner to create plausible deniability? (Shostakovich, too, had his heroic moments, as in the ending to his Seventh Symphony, which is about as optimistic as one can reasonably be in the midst of the devastation of World War II.) Nor would I agree with Johnson’s portrayal of the Second Movement of Wolfgang Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-Flat as conveying a message of hopelessness or futility; I would rather characterize it as expressing mild, reflective melancholy. As for Arnold Schoenberg – well, Schoenberg deserves all of the criticism that Johnson has in store for him; he had no excuses for the misguided rebellion against tonality.

Yet, more generally, it is perhaps a misdirection of effort to focus on criticism of singular figures in musical or intellectual history. The massive departure of “high” music from tonality in the early 20th century certainly could not have been solely Schoenberg’s doing – nor could the intellectual seeds for this trend have been planted a century and a half in advance by Immanuel Kant (whom Johnson characterizes, following many similar assertions by Ayn Rand, as the mastermind of the end of the Enlightenment and the decline of the West). Kant had his errors, to be sure (though Rand always somehow overlooked the redeeming aspects of his immense humanism and political classical liberalism, especially in the context of his time), and Schoenberg’s music is simply not pleasant to the ear – but one could have a civilized and interesting conversation with either Kant or Schoenberg over a cup of coffee. No – the rebellion against the Enlightenment was more the doing of the rabble who cheered when the guillotine fell during the Reign of Terror. The widespread descent of music into atonality could not have occurred were it not for the slaughter of World War I, a crime of millions against millions – and against themselves. Johnson’s criticism of rock music (perhaps itself a bit harsh – but I offer my evaluation as one who has only heard the music separately from its typical “scene”) is better leveled at the ordinary revelers at Woodstock and Altamont – not the music itself (which is rather harmonious and innocuous compared to what commonly passes for popular “music” today). The tendency toward dissipation and destruction is not orchestrated by a handful of avatars of particular movements – but, rather, it lurks within the masses of people because of regrettable cognitive biases and irrational emotional urges that are the unfortunate inheritance of humankind’s deeply flawed evolutionary origins. In certain eras these destructive inclinations are subdued due to general prosperity and the proper incentives within social, political, and technological systems – whereas in other eras, arguably including our own (though not always or everywhere), they are encouraged by widespread norms of (mis)conduct, cultural portrayals, and everyday attitudes to become acted out by masses of people to great personal and societal toll. This is, in many regards, an ancient and recurring problem, sometimes taking on bizarre manifestations such as the pathological dance epidemic of 1518.

Accordingly, it is more important to advocate the Apollonian mindset in general in opposition to the Dionysian proclivities in general than to seek to single out particular instances of the latter. As long as humans continue to contend with our flawed evolutionary inheritance – which may not and should not always be our lot – and as long as some humans also retain aspects of nobility of character and aspiration for a better life, there will always be some exemplars of both the Apollonian and the Dionysian to point to. A more salient question, though, is, “Which of these paradigms is proportionally predominant?” Furthermore, how can the proportions among cultural creations be shifted in favor of the Apollonian?  The more immediate problem we contend with is that there are vast quantities of people who would understand nothing in Johnson’s book and would have no knowledge of anything he praises or criticizes; they would be equally ignorant of Mozart and Beethoven, Aristotle and Kant, Schoenberg and Shostakovich, Brahms and Ayn Rand, and yet they would hate everything about any mention of them (in whatever light) – or about my review of Johnson’s book, or about a review from a critic with views diametrically opposite mine. The problem of anti-intellectualism in contemporary Western societies (particularly the United States) runs that deep, and it is evident that Johnson is gravely concerned about this predicament.

But perhaps good music can offer us a path toward a brighter future. If anti-intellectualism is the predominant cultural malaise of our time, then the inoculation against it may be found in Johnson’s articulation of the purpose of the best music as expressing the love of intelligence: “The essence of our humanity, the linchpin integrating reason and emotion, the special theme of the good life, the hallmark of virtue, the root of justice, the core of idealism and aspiration and heroism, the fundamental guardian of political freedom, and the root of all human love, is the love of man’s intelligence. […] The essence of music is precisely the love of human intelligence. Music, as nature’s reward for cognitive fitness, is the greatest medium in existence for expressing that theme” (pp. 179-180). Could exposure to great music – simple exposure, without even the theoretical explication which is accessible only at a much higher level of erudition – instill a love of intelligence in sufficiently larger numbers of people so as to turn the cultural tide? This is at least worth including as a tactic in the great, ongoing endeavor of civilizing the human mind and ensuring that the nobility of sentiment can grow to keep pace with material and technological advances.

This article is made available pursuant to the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which requires that credit be given to the author, Gennady Stolyarov II (G. Stolyarov II). Learn more about Mr. Stolyarov here

“When Matter Touches Antimatter” by Rodney Rawlings – Brian Minnick, Tenor

“When Matter Touches Antimatter” by Rodney Rawlings – Brian Minnick, Tenor

The New Renaissance Hat
Rodney Rawlings
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“When Matter Touches Antimatter,” World Premiere, performed by tenor Brian Minnick (http://bminnick3.wix.com/brianminnick), November 3, 2017, Central Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas. A winner of Second Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song, One Ounce Opera.

See this video on YouTube here.

“When Matter Touches Antimatter” describes a well-known astronomical concept and uses it as a metaphor applicable to a well-known human situation. See another performance of it by soprano Amanda Noelle Neal here.

You can also listen to the original (2004) arrangement of this song: MP3 file.  (Left-click to listen, right-click to download.)

“WHEN MATTER TOUCHES ANTIMATTER”

Some say there must exist in the outer zone
A world of antimatter.
The thought makes people scatter,
‘Cause it could make our own
World shatter
If, by some awful twist, part of it is hurled
And crosses over. Watch out, my friend:
With scarce a chance to catch your breath
You have no world.
Ah, you should know by now: Matters of the heart,
Are not just idle chatter
And more like antimatter
If you are worlds apart
While at her
Side, acting like your Earth
Circles ’round her sun.
So at the slightest hint of the end
That comes WHEN MATTER TOUCHES ANTIMATTER,
Run.Because, no matter what you pretend,
That antimatter’s touch is death
To everyone.

© 2017 Rodney Rawlings

Rodney Rawlings is a Toronto writer and composer/songwriter. He arrived at the concept of hypercomplex numbers independently, using Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism to guide him.  See his YouTube Channel