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Jerusalem 'Grande fantaisie triomphale', RO126 Op 13
I Lombardi (renamed Jérusalem in 1847)
1850; published in Paris in 1875; later for two pianos as RO127

'Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 8' (CDA67536)
Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 8
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'Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDS44451/8)
Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music
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Track 11 on CDA67536 [9'57] Archive Service; also available on CDS44451/8
Track 11 on CDS44451/8 CD8 [9'57] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Jerusalem 'Grande fantaisie triomphale', RO126 Op 13
A poster for a concert at New York’s Irving Hall for Tuesday 25 November 1862 announced the ‘first appearance in public of Miss Teresa Carreño, The Child Pianist 8 years of age’. After playing works by Hummel, Thalberg and Doenier, Carreño’s last selection was Gottschalk’s Jerusalem fantasy. Her biographer Marta Milinowska, in Teresa Carreño ‘By the grace of God’ (Yale University Press, 1940), tells us that the prodigy had learned the piece in less than a week. ‘A single lesson taught her to interpret it as she did. Not without reason was it called a “grand triumphal fantasie”. There were parts that whispered, parts that sobbed, and parts that soared like glittering pinnacles. Teresita’s conviction that the music she was playing was the most beautiful in the world made it become greater than it was. The piano, the performer, and the music were completely fused.’ The recital set the seal on one of the great careers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Carreño (1853–1917) had lessons from Gottschalk, taught Edward MacDowell and lived to make piano rolls and disc recordings (though, alas, none of Gottschalk).

Jerusalem is no masterpiece but an effective operatic fantasy of the type that was so popular at the time. It uses themes from Verdi’s 1843 opera I Lombardi, retitled Jerusalem in its revised version of 1847, the Paris premiere of which Gottschalk quite probably attended. The fantasy was composed at the behest of the Russian Grand Duchess Anna Fedorovna (1781–1860), Queen Victoria’s aunt and the erstwhile wife of the brother of Tsar Nicholas I. The cover of the score records that its first performance was at a party given by the Duchess at her summer palace of La Boissière near Geneva on 23 July 1850. After a lengthy introduction full of foreboding (E flat minor), Gottschalk then moves to the grand duo ‘Une pensée amère’, from the second act, with the right hand playing continuous delicate demisemiquavers at the octave above Verdi’s lovely melody. For the conclusion he chooses the spirited ‘Marche des croisés’ (March of the Crusaders). The Jerusalem fantasy, dedicated to a Madame Amélie Heine of New Orleans, was subsequently adapted by Gottschalk into a two-piano work (RO127), the score of which is now lost.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2005

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