The work was originally written for four hands (RO225, New York, 1864) and was composed during a rich period of creativity when Gottschalk was living in the mountain village of Matouba in Guadaloupe during the summer of 1859. It is dedicated to the widow of the piano manufacturer Jonas Chickering (1798–1853) who had helped to save the young artist’s career during a rocky patch in 1853. In gratitude, Gottschalk switched from Pleyel and Érard (his preferred Parisian instruments) to Chickering, remaining the firm’s loyal champion for the remainder of his career.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2001
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