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Gottschalk: Piano Music Vol 1 / Philip Martin


Release Date: 11/18/1993 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 66459   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Louis Moreau Gottschalk was one of the most colourful characters in the history of music. His memoirs, Notes oja Pianist, read like an extravagant novel and appropriately enough for the first composer to notate syncopated music he was born in New Orleans in 1829. His father was of English ancestry, his mother French and Spanish, but Gottschalk's energetic life as a travelling virtuoso and his flexible and easy incorporation of popular idioms make him seem an essentially American phenomenon. Chopin predicted that he would become "the King of pianists" and Berlioz found he possessed "all the attributes of the sovereign power of the pianist".

Apart from his prowess as a performer, where his magnetism was
Read more almost unrivalled, Gottschalk was both an original and an attractive composer, as this collection abundantly shows. He could respond to topical situations such as the American Civil War, travelling around on both sides of the lines of battle often at great risk, and writing Union to show whose side he was on. The quotations, percussion effects, and superimposed melodies-Ives before its time-make Union a brilliant showpiece which makes a fine climax to Philip Martin's selection. Another masterpiece is Souvenir de Porto Rico, where a peasants' dance is heard in the distance, reaches a climax in wildly swung rhythm-which could be stronger in this performance-and then dies away again.

Philip Martin, as an experienced performer of American music, is absolutely at one with the charm of Gottschalk and knows exactly how to deliver it. He never exaggerates. The first piece, Le banjo, is a little restless and changes the phrasing of the introduction, but how wise not to saturate each bar with pedal in Minuit ci Seville and elsewhere, in spite of the marking. Gottschalk's preferred Chickering pianos were much thinner in tone than modern instruments. Ojos criollos is a perfectly aimed salon piece, beautifully played. Gottschalk knew about such things since he would go off into the tropics and stay in a village "where the piano was still unknown" and forget the world, living only for "two large black eyes, which veiled themselves with tears whenever I spoke of beginning my vagabond course again".

Above all this anthology proves that Gottschalk has the range to cover a whole CD. His works add a chapter to romantic piano music in the most agreeable way and this collection mostly supplements what is already available. The recorded sound is just right' for the music, although the piano has the odd tinny B flat in Souvenir de la Havane, another pioneering study in syncopation from the late 1850s. But this is a record which will give widespread pleasure, which is what Gottschalk was all about.

-- P. D., Gramophone [9/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Le banjo, Op. 15/RO 22 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1855; USA 
2.
Le mancenillier, RO 142/Op. 11 "Sérénade" by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1849; Paris, France 
3.
Minuit à Seville, RO 170/Op. 30 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1856; USA 
4.
Romanze for Piano by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
5.
Canto del gitano, RO 35 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852; Switzerland 
6.
Souvenir de Porto Rico, RO 250/Op. 31 "Marche de Gibaros" by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Antilles 
7.
Souvenir de la Havane, RO 246/Op. 39 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Antilles 
8.
Danza for Piano, RO 66/Op. 33 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Antilles 
9.
Ballade for Piano no 6, RO 14/Op. 83 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
10.
Columbia, RO 61/Op. 34 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Antilles 
11.
Ojos criollos for Piano, RO 185/Op. 37 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Antilles 
Notes: Version: 1864 revision 
12.
Le bananier, RO 21/Op. 5 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; Paris, France 
13.
Union, RO 269/Op. 48 by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; USA 
14.
Mazurka for Piano in F sharp minor by Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Performer:  Philip Martin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 

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