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Ô ma charmante, épargnez-moi! 'Caprice', RO182 Op 44
? 1859/61; published in New York in 1862; alternative title: O, my charmer, spare me

'Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 3' (CDA66915)
Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 3
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66915  Download currently discounted
'Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDS44451/8)
Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music
Buy by post £38.50 CDS44451/8  8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Track 1 on CDA66915 [3'09]
Track 1 on CDS44451/8 CD3 [3'09] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Ô ma charmante, épargnez-moi! 'Caprice', RO182 Op 44
O my charmer, spare me! is one of Gottschalk’s simplest yet most effective pieces, its habanera rhythm, in the words of the composer, ‘mingling sadness with restless passion’. The only other European-trained composer known to this writer who made an earlier use of the habanera was the Spaniard Sebastián de Yradier (1809–1865). His song La Paloma, inspired by a visit to Cuba in the 1850s, was published in 1859. A second success was El Arreglito (1864) which Bizet unwittingly borrowed for Carmen in the mistaken belief that it was a folk-song. ‘L’amour est un oiseau rebelle’, an adaptation of Yradier’s melody, is the famous Habanera from the opera (1875).

Gottschalk was clearly aware of his unique pianistic use of the Cuban dance. In a preface—with somewhat individual punctuation and spelling!—he (or perhaps his publisher) wrote:

The Author in this morceau (which is entirely original) has endeavored to convey an idea of the singular rhythm and charming character, of the music which exists among the Creoles of the Spanish Antilles. Chopin it is well known transferred the national trait of Poland, to his Mazurkas and Polonaises, and Mr. Gottschalk has endeavored to reproduce in works of an appropriate character, the characteristic traits of the Dances of the West Indias.

Gottschalk obviously put some store by this piece, for when it first appeared in June 1862 it was published with a Note by the Author suggesting that ‘this little piece should be played exactly as written, as the license occasionally indulged in by pupils, of substituting their own thoughts for those of the composer, must inevitably interfere with the general effect … The melody should stand out in bold relief from the agitated but symetrical [sic] back-ground of the bass with the singing sonorousness and passionate languor which are the peculiar traits of Creole music’.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 1997

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66915 track 1
Recording date
27 June 1996
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 3 (CDA66915)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: March 1997
  2. Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music (CDS44451/8)
    Disc 3 Track 1
    Release date: October 2011
    8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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