In November 1859, Gottschalk embarked for Havana, which would be his base for the next three years. La Gallina
(‘The Hen’) is one of a number of exuberant Cuban-inspired pieces from this time, among them Ojos criollos
, Souvenir de Havane
. These works—quintessential Gottschalk—contain many features that anticipate ragtime and jazz by half a century. Of La Gallina
, with its wittily clucking main subject, unresolved sevenths and minor-ninth chords, critic Harold Schonberg felt that the effect is ‘highly Ivesian, even though Charles Ives had as yet not been born’. La Gallina
is dedicated to another of Gottschalk’s myriad female admirers, a certain Mademoiselle August Reichel.
(Note: The New Grove and Offergeld list a four-hand version of La Gallina as the original version, while an arrangement for solo piano by Wachtmann, published in Mainz in 1868, is listed as RO101; Hall of New York make no mention of any arranger in their 1869 issue as played here.)
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2004