Gottschalk: Symphonies No 1 & 2 / Rosenberg

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Listen to a Sound Sample (Grand Tarantelle)

Listen to a Sound Sample (Night in the Tropics)

" A perfect delight of a disc, of music from that grand pioneer Louis Gottschalk, who charmed the crowds here and abroad up through Civil War days with flamboyant, virtuosic display pieces. From last year’s Hot Springs (Arkansas) Festival comes a whole disc of Gottschalk’s orchestral works, and it’s a hoot. It includes the hilariously lovable Célèbre Tarantelle and Night in the Tropics, guaranteed to lift you off your seat on first hearing, and Gottschalk’s own arrangement for five pianos, nine horns and 112-piece orchestra of The Young King Henry’s Hunt (don’t ask). There’s even an opera, 13 minutes long, something Cuban... " -- Alan Rich, LA Weekly

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.

Symphony No. 2, 'À Montevideo' RO257
Restoring the Symphony No. 2 for modern performance posed many of the same challenges as the Symphony No. 1 ( A Night in the Tropics ) and Escenas Campestres Cubanas in that Gottschalk rarely notated complete percussion parts. For this performance and recording, the timpani part was reconstructed according to the stylistic pattern Gottschalk used to excellent effect in other works of the same period, such as the Variations de concert sur l'hymne portugais.
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Célèbre Tarentelle pour piano et orchestre, RO259
During his lifetime, the Célèbre Tarentelle was Gottschalk's "warhorse", the work he presented whenever he needed to dazzle concert-goers. The composer was notorious for his practice of publicly performing his own works but leaving it to his disciples to notate them for publication. Of the more than 25 versions of Célèbre Tarentelle that appeared following Gottschalk's death, the best known was notated by his friend Nicolas Ruiz Espadero (1832-90), who published his edition in 1874. Very recently, however, Gottschalk's own original manuscript has surfaced. Thus, both his solo piano part and his orchestration appear for the first time on this disc.
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Escenas Campestres Cubanas, opéra en 1 acte, RO77
As with many of the works that Gottschalk created for his Havana concerts, Escenas Campestres Cubanas (Cuban Country Scenes) brilliantly combines high art, populist sensibilities and mass appeal. For example, the manuscript indicates that Gottschalk intended the use of timpani, but there is evidence that a Caribbean güiro and the three-string tiple added local spice at the first performance. For this performance by the Hot Springs Music Festival, the nearly illegible libretto was painstakingly deciphered by renowned musicologist Marcello Piras, so that the original Ramírez text could be paired with Gottschalk's music for the first time since its première. The score's final five bars, which appear only skeletally in the manuscript, were also orchestrated to match the full instrumentation.
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Variations de concert sur l'hymne portugais du Roi Louis I, RO289
The march tune on which Gottschalk based his Variations de concert was written by the grandfather of the Portuguese King Luís I (1838-1889), the Brazilian Emperor, Pedro I. Were it not for the political capital it afforded him in both Brazil and Portugal, it is unlikely that Gottschalk would have given the tune any attention whatsoever. Gottschalk enlivened the Italianate march with frequent chord substitutions and contrasts of mood. The music truly comes to life during the first slow variation, bringing to mind similar works by early Bohemian national composers.
Evident in the manuscript of the Variations de concert is its hasty composition. Although the orchestration is fully fledged, Gottschalk simply neglected to jot down the solo piano part after the first variation, with the exception of one dramatic scale leading to the finale. The present performance edition represents the interweaving of Arthur Napoleon's (born Arthur Napoleão dos Santos, 1843-1925) solo piano arrangement of the work (c. 1873) into Gottschalk's orchestra. Since Napoleon made some chordal modifications in order to claim the piano reduction as his own and reap the financial benefits, this restoration to the original required extensive editing with the collaboration of pianist Michael Gurt.
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Ave Maria, RO10
(c.1864, arranged by Richard Rosenberg for two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, harp and strings)

Ave Maria, gratia plena.
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris.
Ave Maria, gratia plena.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Hail Lord, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
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La Caza del Joven Enrique por Méhul, Gran overture
( La Chasse du jeune Henri or Young Henry's Hunt, overture) arranged by Louis Moreau Gottschalk after the overture by Étienne-Nicolas Méhul (reconstructed by Richard Rosenberg)
A prejudice against Americans kept the thirteen-year-old Gottschalk from being admitted to the Paris Conservatoire (" America is only a land of steam engines", he was told by the school's director), but he stayed in Paris to study privately with Charles Hallé, Frederic Chopin and Hector Berlioz. Thus inspired, he wrote in 1849 a highly original and elaborate fantasy on Méhul's La Chasse du jeune Henri overture.

Early in 1861, seeking material to include in a "monster concert" he was staging in Havana, he recast the La Chasse du jeune Henri fantasy as a gigantic concerto for multiple pianos and huge orchestra. Owing to confusion over rehearsal arrangements for so large an ensemble, the performance was never completed. In 2003, the manuscript of this concerto was rediscovered in the New Jersey basement of the composer's great-great-grandnephew. Thus, it was discovered that there were only five separate piano parts (three pianos, ten hands), which Gottschalk had divided among the forty pianists. For the sake of clarity, the work's première performance in Hot Springs on 8 June 2006 and this subsequent recording used one pianist a part and an orchestra of "only" 112.
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Symphonie romantique, 'La nuit des tropiques', RO255
(Symphony No. 1, 'A Night in the Tropics'), edited and completed by Richard Rosenberg
Gottschalk's A Night in the Tropics (1859) had only been performed since his death in condensed and 'corrected' versions. My reconstruction of this work is based on the composer's autograph manuscript, with instrumental forces not quite as large as those employed at Gottschalk's own performances (which featured over 650 musicians) but quite large nonetheless. It retains Gottschalk's unusual voice leading and notation. I believe that the meticulous care Gottschalk took in consistently adding rests and dotted rhythms is a key to the 'tropical' passion he sought to evoke. The arrangement of this symphony for two pianos by Gottschalk's friend and colleague, Nicolas Ruiz Espadero, provided the basis of my orchestration of the lost forty-two bars at the end of the orchestral score. I incorporated the sound of 'harmonieflautas' at the end of the first movement (based on Gottschalk's own account of where and how it was employed), using an antique South American concertina. In the final movement of A Night in the Tropics, Gottschalk indicated only the first measure of the Afro-Cuban percussion, using the notation 'Bamboula'. He fully expected the ensemble to improvise the remainder of that samba movement in a manner that places it as a sort of 'missing link' between nineteenth-century concert music and a musical language that would soon evolve into that of Jazz.
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Richard Rosenberg, 2006

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8559320

  • UPC: 636943932025

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Louis Moreau Gottschalk

  • Conductor: Richard Rosenberg

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Hot Springs Music Festival Symphony Orchestra

  • Performer: Melissa Barrick, Michael Gurt