Among a plethora of new works that appeared in the last few months of Gottschalk’s life while he was living in Rio de Janeiro, two stand out: the Grande Fantaisie Triomphale sur l’Hymne National Brésilien
(see CD 3) and the present work, originally for piano and orchestra (RO289). The reigning Emperor of Brazil, Pedro II, was the last of the Braganza emperors to rule the country (1831–1889). It was in fact his father, Pedro I (IV of Portugal), who had composed the somewhat four-square Portuguese anthem, and these variations also served the useful purpose of paying homage to Pedro II’s relative, the present King of Portugal, Luis (1861–1889). Napoleão’s arrangement for solo piano was published posthumously.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2005