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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67349
Recording details: May 2002
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2003
Total duration: 12 minutes 21 seconds

'Brilliant and technically awesome … Philip Martin is never less than an extremely able and charming guide to this curious repertoire' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There is a poignant period flavour to this music, which Martin captures with the utmost sensibility' (The Daily Telegraph)

'It's impossible to listen to this disc and not beam with pleasure … real melodic charm, surprising harmonic progressions, and enough sensuality and humour to put a kick in the greyest of January days. The recorded sound is gorgeous' (The Times)

'Martin once again reveals his mastery of Gottschalk’s special brand of refined sensuality … for Gottschalk’s growing band of admirers, this is an essential purchase' (Fanfare, USA)

'Philip Martin has the technical resources to do [Gottschalk] justice with straight-faced ease' (The Irish Times)

'finely played and beautifully recorded' (Pianist)

'Volume 6 maintains the same impressive standards set in Philip Martin’s five previous Gottschalk releases on Hyperion … If you’ve been collecting this series, don’t stop now. A delectable disc' (

'Philip Lane is perfectly suited to Gottschalk's music and his interpretations are well nigh unsurpassable. The recording is firm and very realist with a touch of brittleness at the top. In sum, this is another gorgeous piano music collection from the underrated American composer' (

Le carnaval de Venise 'Grand caprice et variations', RO45 Op 89
1850; published in Mainz in 1877

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Paganini heard O mamma, mamma cara, a popular Venetian song, during one of his visits to the Queen of the Adriatic. His dazzling Op 10 of 1829 was the first use of the tune in variation form. Many other composers followed suit, among them Chopin (his insipid Variations in A, Souvenir de Paganini, of 1829), Herz and Schulhoff for piano, Ernst for violin, Bottesini for double-bass and Briccialdi for flute. Victor Massé’s 1856 opera La Reine Topaze introduces the tune as an air varié (‘Venise est tout en fêtes, / Car voici le carnaval’), while the following year Ambroise Thomas wrote an opera entitled Le Carnaval de Venise, basing its overture on the theme. In England the tune was long popular to the words ‘O come to me, I’ll row thee / O’er across yon peaceful sea…’.

Of all the myriad sets of piano variations on the tune, Gottschalk’s is, arguably, the most spectacular, flashy and finger-numbing. He introduced the piece in Geneva at the third and final concert he gave there in September 1850. A reviewer in Madrid’s El Orden (15 June 1852) described the variations as ‘filled with the most original and daring caprices, many played on a single hand’. Though forgotten now, Gottschalk’s showstopper was part of the repertoire for many years and he himself seems to have kept it under his fingers for the rest of his career, though he never wrote it down. Like Paganini, he preferred to keep the notation secret rather than let it be copied by some unscrupulous rival. The score, in the key of G flat and published posthumously, survives in the hand of his friend and chronicler Nicolás Ruiz Espadero (for notes on Espadero, please refer to CD 4 of this series and the notes on La Gitanella). The frequent martellato furioso, con impeto e strepitoso and similar imprecations can doubtless be considered as authentic evocations of the composer’s performances.

In 1857, while touring Cuba with the fourteen-year-old prodigy Adelina Patti, Gottschalk composed a set of vocal variations on the same Carnival of Venice theme for the future world-famous soprano. Unfortunately, the music for this has not survived.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas İ 2003

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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