Movement 1: Andante
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