Union 'Paraphrase de concert on the national airs Star-Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, and Hail Columbia', RO269 Op 48
Some of the material for this celebrated piece appears in an earlier work (National Glory—Bunker’s Hill
, RO31). This synthesis of patriotic airs, however, was first performed in New York on Washington’s birthday, 1862, and excited its auditors to frenzied enthusiasm, appearing as it did after one year of civil war. Amid cannonades and grapeshot emerges a disguised, minor key ‘Yankee Doodle’, then a beautiful harmonization of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‘Hail Columbia’, the latter triumphantly juxtaposed at the last with ‘Yankee Doodle’ in the major. It is dedicated to General George McClellan. Gottschalk, though a Southener, was a staunch abolitionist—he had freed all his family’s slaves on the death of his father—and played this fantasy to President and Mrs Lincoln in 1864.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 1990