Hyperion Records

La moissonneuse 'Mazurka caractéristique', RO173 Op 8
1848/9; published in Paris in 1850

'Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 4' (CDA67118)
Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 4
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'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 2 on CDA67118 [2'42]
Track 2 on CDS44451/8 CD4 [2'42] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

La moissonneuse 'Mazurka caractéristique', RO173 Op 8
Having wowed his sophisticated Parisian audiences with three Creole-inspired pieces (Bamboula, La Savane and Le Bananier; the fourth of this Louisiana quartet, Le Mancenillier, would follow in 1849), the nineteen-year-old Gottschalk set about producing some polished nods to Chopin before turning to the French countryside for inspiration. La Moissonneuse (‘The Reaper’) and La Glaneuse (‘The Gleaner’, now lost) reflected subjects that were popular with the French romantic painters of the time (though Millet’s famous picture of gleaners came eight years later). Gottschalk’s reaper is a playful Parisian, rather than a Pole, the mazurka peppered with scherzando, scintillante and brillante directions. It was one of three Gottschalk works which Bizet played as a child prodigy pianist. The key is A flat, save for an unexpected visit to B major towards the end and in the final bars. It was written in 1848 and dedicated to Gottschalk’s friend the Italian pianist Alfred Jaëll (who, coincidentally, emigrated to the USA the same year and whose wife Marie was the dedicatee of Saint-Saëns’s Étude en forme de Valse). La Moissonneuse was one of the pieces that Gottschalk included in his triumphant New York debut in February 1853.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2000

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