After the brilliant success of his New York debut in February 1853, and having rejected an offer from P T Barnum for a three-year exclusive contract, Gottschalk signed with another manager, an Irish-born singer and actor, William F Brough. His first engagements in his home town were triumphant, artistically and financially (it is interesting to note that while Gottschalk’s own music dominated his repertoire, he also offered New Orleans Weber’s Concertstück
and two movements of Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer Sonata’ [sic]). The following tour under Brough’s aegis was chaotic and poorly attended. Competition was fierce and two other touring attractions were stealing his thunder in the form of the eleven-year-old Adelina Patti and the famous courtesan, actress and dancer Lola Montez. The tour was disbanded in June in Philadelphia where Gottschalk sold two new compositions to the publisher J E Gould. One was the polka The Water Sprite
, Op 27, the other the Forest Glade Polka
(also published under the alternative title of Les Follets
). It’s a sparkling salon crowd-pleaser, with many typical ‘octave above’ passages and tricky repeated-note triplets. The piece is dedicated to his lawyer cousin Leonard Myers (1827–1905) whom he had met for the first time only a few months previously in Philadelphia and who went on to become a member of Congress.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2000