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
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.)
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
By popular demand, the PDF score of Mr. Stolyarov’s Composition for Piano and Harpsichord, Op. 50, composed in 2008, has been released. It is available for free download here.
This experimental composition, Mr. Stolyarov’s first attempt at polyphony in 2008, explores the interplay between two instruments, including their potential to simultaneously play two different but complementary melodies. The mood of this piece also alternates between tense and jubilant.
This work was remastered using the Finale 2011 software, with the Steinway Grand Piano and Harpsichord instruments.
A grand waltz for piano, cello, string section, oboe, and timpani, composed in the key of C# major, with interspersed major and minor passages. The two main themes are varied throughout the piece using different orchestrations and an increase in ornamentation.
This waltz was composed by Mr. Stolyarov on June 16-18, 2016, and is played using the Finale 2011 software.
This ragtime composition by Mr. Stolyarov celebrates all of the helpful automata in our present and future (including the program that performs it). It is played in Finale 2011 software using the Steinway Grand Piano instrument.
Mr. Stolyarov composes four variations for piano and harpsichord, based on a minuet and trio that were randomly generated – most likely for the first time – using the rules in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Musikalisches Würfelspiel (Musical Dice Game, K. 516f).
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the pioneers of algorithmic composition. In 1787 he developed his Musikalisches Würfelspiel (Musical Dice Game, K. 516f), which could generate unique minuets and trios by associating specific measures with rolls of dice (2 6-sided dice for the minuet, 1 6-sided die for the trio). Following Mozart’s table of rules, it is possible to generate (11^16)*(6^16) = 66^16 = 129,629,238,163,050,258,624,287,932,416 unique minuet/trio combinations. This means that any given iteration of the Musikalisches Würfelspiel has most likely never been heard before and, if preserved, adds to the available musical variety derived from Mozart’s compositional technique.
See the rules for the Musikalisches Würfelspiel and hear the individual measures in MIDI format here.
Download “Musikalische Würfelspiele” – a free German-language program by Peter Baumann that can generate full MIDI files for compositions created using the musical dice games of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Philipp Kirnberger.
This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.
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See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.