Hyperion Records

Symphony No 1 'La nuit des tropiques', RO5
? 1879

'Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 3' (CDA66915)
Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 3
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66915 
'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)  
Movement 1: Andante
Track 9 on CDA66915 [12'51]
Track 9 on CDS44451/8 CD3 [12'51] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Symphony No 1 'La nuit des tropiques', RO5
Influenced by Berlioz, whom he had known in Paris, and the ‘Monster Concerts’ the Frenchman organized, Gottschalk set about initiating his own. In 1857 he had begun a two-year concert tour of the West Indies with the fourteen-year-old soprano prodigy Adelina Patti. Instead of returning to the States, Gottschalk remained in the Caribbean until 1862. In the spring of 1859 he completed his first symphony, the first movement (‘Night in the tropics’) probably composed in 1858, the second movement (‘Une Fête sous les tropiques’) the following year. The first movement was performed in Havana in February 1860 and the complete work was given in the same city fourteen months later as part of one of Gottschalk’s Monster Concerts.

The score, first recorded in 1971 in an edition by Igor Buketoff, calls for a total of one hundred and fifty players, including a full symphony orchestra, an extra band and a host of extra percussion including bamboulas and other Afro-Caribbean instruments.

The second movement is an extraordinary conception, probably the earliest symphonic setting of a samba and not so very different from the Brazilian-inspired works of Darius Milhaud three-quarters of a century later. The Andante is more European than tropical, heard here in an arrangement by the pianist Artur Napoleão (or Napoleon) (1843–1925), born in Oporto of Italian-Portuguese parents. A student of Thalberg and Herz in Paris, Napoleão gave concerts with Gottschalk in Havana in 1860, after three years of successful tours of South America and the United States. He settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1867 where he founded a publishing firm. Artur Rubinstein, in his autobiography My Many Years, recalled that Napoleão ‘at the ripe age of ninety-eight [more likely seventy-eight] played for me, with astonishing precision, a piece by Gottschalk’.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 1997

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDS44451/8 disc 3 track 9
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 9
    Release date: March 1997
  2. Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music (CDS44451/8)
    Disc 3 Track 9
    Release date: October 2011
    8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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