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