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GOTTSCHALK: Orchestral Works (Complete)

Composer(s):Gottschalk, Louis MoreauMehul, Etienne-Nicolas
Period(s) Classical (1750-1830)Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category ConcertosOperaOrchestralVocal
Catalogue 8.559320
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps

A child prodigy pianist who was touring Europe as a virtuoso concert soloist while still a teenager, Louis Moreau Gottschalk provides one of the most colorful chapters in the history of American music. Dubbed ‘the Chopin of the Creoles’, he was, above all, the first to capture the syncopated music of South Louisiana and the Caribbean in enduring works that anticipate ragtime and jazz by half a century. His orchestral works show a composer of considerable skill who could create memorable and catchy tunes. Included in this disc of the complete surviving orchestral music are several works recorded for the first time in the composer’s original version, as well as the world première recording of La Casa del Joven Enrique.


Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

A very appealing disc of Gottschalk’s attractive orchestral music, much of it available (in these versions) for the first time. The Célèbre tarentelle was the composer’s party piece during his lifetime, and this version, in his own orchestration, appears for the first time. Both the Symphonies are in effect tone-poems, with plenty of local colour, especially in the catchy Festa Criolla movement of Symphony No. 1, subtitled, A Night in the Tropics. La Casa del Joven Enrique por Méhul (1849), a fantasy based on Méhul’s La Chasse du jeune Henri overture, followed the composer’s studies in Paris with Hallé, Chopin and Berlioz. It was written for a ‘monster’ concert


Review By Anthony Clarke,Limelight Magazine,November 2007

When he died suddenly of peritonitis, aged just 39, the reams of [Gottschalk’s] compositions were dispersed, and mostly destroyed. For this recording, Richard Rosenberg and colleague Michael Gurt have scoured the manuscripts which remain, deciphered the faded and almost illegible handwriting, and presented us with the only complete orchestral compositions left to us. There is some mundane journeyman material here, as there would be from most composers if we were given such a magpie collection of surviving pieces. But there are enough jaunty pieces, with a Creole lilt that hint towards the future development of jazz, to make us understand why Gottschalk in his day was such a phenomenon, and how much we have missed by fate not letting him return to America, as he

This music shows what a strong melodic gift Gottschalk had, reminiscent in fact of composers as diverse as Donizetti and Tchaikovsky. The vocal fragments preserved here, especially the Opera in One Act, Escanas Campestres Cubanas, show what a gift to opera Gottschalk might have been. This was the natural endeavour to which he would have turned if he’d been given time. The flavor of these surviving works suggest he would have composed on the lighter lyrical side—a Creole Offenbach, perhaps.

Until now, Gottschalk’s surviving piano works have had most circulation. We can now add to them these remaining orchestral pieces. Naxos has given us a fascinating resurrection of an almost-lost byway of 19th century music.



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