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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67478
Recording details: December 2003
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: September 2004
Total duration: 10 minutes 17 seconds

'Even the most devoted of Gottschalk's admirers will make some arresting discoveries among the less familiar works here … those who have enjoyed the series so far will want to add this disc to their collections, too' (International Record Review)

'Gottschalk is never abstruse or merely technical, but it is obvious from the elegance of his writing that he was a wonderful pianist. He is still underestimated, I think—as a composer, too. I can listen to his music for hours, and I don't feel that way about much piano music. The piano sound is simply wonderful—Hyperion manages to convey an individual instrument's personality in piano recordings' (Fanfare, USA)

Chant du soldat 'Grand caprice de concert', RO51 Op 23
? 1855; published in New York in 1857

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Since Gottschalk had returned to his native America in 1853 after a dozen formative years in Europe, his career had faltered. A series of concerts in New York’s Dodworth’s Hall promoted by his publisher, General Hall, revived his fortunes. The sensation of the first recital was—and we may well raise a cynical eyebrow today—Gottschalk’s The Last Hope (see CD 3). After that, there was no looking back and it followed him thereafter wherever he went.

The Dodworth’s Hall concerts ran from 20 December 1855 to 7 June 1856. Gottschalk recorded in Notes of a Pianist that he introduced Le chant du soldat at the first of these. S Frederick Starr states that it was first heard as part of the programme for the fifth recital, which included the appearance of assisting pianist Karl Wels and ‘the prodigiously talented Welsh harpist Aptomas’. The theme and variations contain the full Gottschalk arsenal—charm, melodic appeal, delicate filigree runs, bravura octaves, Chopinesque configurations, nostalgic and forthright by turns—with his habitual élégante, scintellante and martellato strepitoso requests, together with one that this writer has never previously encountered: allontandosi, which appears eight bars before the coda.

The piece is dedicated ‘à mon ami George Henriques Esq. de New York’, a lawyer who had known the Gottschalk family in New Orleans twenty years earlier. When Gottschalk returned from New Orleans early in 1855, it was Henriques and his family who opened up their West 14th Street home to the pianist and treated him like a son.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2004

Other albums featuring this work
'Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDS44451/8)
Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £38.50 CDS44451/8  8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
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