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News and Thoughts

New Release Soon

Just a quick update on my march to help raise funds for Ukraine. It’s just about ready to record over this weekend. I plan to upload it to CDBaby for distribution on Monday if all goes well.

So, look for Great Defenders of Ukraine March on your favorite streaming service or on YouTube in a couple of weeks. It will be released under my full name (for legal purposes) Robert Cooper Rivard.

Royalties will be shared with UNITED24, a charity created by the government of Ukraine to help the war effort and rebuilding. I plan to direct my donations to be used for education.

So, please Stream for Victory!

Thanks!

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News and Thoughts

Wassily Sapellnikoff

Wassily Sapellnikoff

Wassily Sapellnikoff (Vasily Sapelnikov) was a Ukrainian pianist and composer, born in Odessa in 1867. He trained at the Odessa Conservatory where he studied with Belgian pianist Louis Brasson and with German pianist Sophie Menter who had studied piano with Franz Liszt. After a highly distinguished career as concert pianist, Sapellnikoff died in San Remo, Italy in 1941.

The two recordings posted here were made on piano roll that the Stanford University Piano Roll Archive scanned and converted to MIDI. I have transferred the MIDI files to MP3 on my virtual Erard grand piano of 1922. The sound is exceptional and brings this inspiring musician a renewed audience.

He performs here Nocturne No. 1 by Franz Liszt which he recorded in 1910 and Overture to William Tell by Rossini transcribed by Liszt recorded sometime between 1913 and 1920.

Liszt Nocturne No. 1 performed by Wassily Sapellnikoff
Rossini Overture to William Tell, transcribed for piano by Liszt, played by Wassily Sapellnikoff
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News and Thoughts

New Release Coming

I want to let you all know that I have a new work in progress. Hope to release it by November through CDBaby for release on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

It’s a march that I hope will reflect the journey Ukraine is undergoing in its fight to restore its lands after the brutal invasion by Russia.

Sending my warm thoughts to all in Ukraine.

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News and Thoughts

Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler

Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler was born in Austria in 1863 and in 1867 moved to Chicago with her parents. In 1878 she returned to Vienna to study piano with the legendary teacher Theodor Leschetizky. She returned to Chicago five years later and began her music career. Her final performance was with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1925 when she played concertos by Chopin and Schumann. She died in 1927.

The recording below of Le Retour by Cécile Chaminade was made on piano roll in 1912. The piano roll is part of the Stanford University Piano Roll Archive where it was scanned and converted to MIDI for computer playback.

I rendered it to MP3 on my virtual 1922 Erard grand piano.

Chaminade Le Retour played by Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler in 1912
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News and Thoughts

When Birds Sing Again

Just composed and released a work that I hope will bring comfort and encouragement to the people of Ukraine.

Keeping you all in my thoughts.

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News and Thoughts

Clotilde Kleeberg

Clotilde Kleeberg

Two rare finds at the Stanford University Piano Roll Archive of pianist Clotilde Kleeberg. Born in Paris to German parents in 1866, she studied at the Paris Conservatory earning first prizes in 1877 and 1878. Her playing was much admired by Camille Saint-Saëns and by Clara Schumann. Kleeberg died in 1909 of pneumonia at age 42.

Her recordings of Mendelssohn’s Song without Words, Op. 38, No. 6 and of Maurice Moszkowski’s Liebes Walzer, Op. 57, No. 5 were recorded in 1908 and 1907. The original piano rolls are part of the Stanford University Piano Roll Archive where they were scanned and converted to MIDI for computer playback. For the MP3’s below I rendered them using the 1922 Erard grand piano morphed with the U4 upright piano, both from Pianoteq.

Hope you enjoy!

Robert Cooper Rivard, the Isolated Pianist

Mendelssohn Song without Words, Op. 38, No. 6, Clotilde Kleeberg, piano, 1908
Maurice Moszkowski Liebes Walzer, Op. 57, No 5, Clotilde Kleeberg, piano, 1907
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News and Thoughts

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Erich Wolfgang Korngold in 1912
Erich Korngold Piano Sonata Op 2 No 2 Movements One and Two played by Rudolph Ganz in 1915
Erich Korngold Piano Sonata Op 2 No 2 Movements Three and Four played by Rudolph Ganz in 1915

Composer and pianist Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) is usually thought of as a wonderful film composer first, which he was. But he was much, much more than that. He was foremost a serious composer of classical music who started life as a child prodigy.

One of the treasures at the Stanford University Piano Roll Archive is the piano roll pianist Rudolph Ganz made in 1915 of Korngold’s Piano Sonata Op 2 No 2. The Archive scanned the piano roll and converted it to MIDI format which I rendered to MP3 using my 1922 VST Erard grand piano from Pianoteq,

I hope you enjoy listening to a very young Korngold whose genius we too often forget.

Peace to all!

Robert Cooper Rivard, the Isolated Pianist