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Le songe d'une nuit d'été 'Caprice élégant', RO240 Op 9
1850; published in Paris in 1850; after Thomas

'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
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Track 3 on CDA67118 [3'29]
Track 3 on CDS44451/8 CD4 [3'29] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Le songe d'une nuit d'été 'Caprice élégant', RO240 Op 9
The Midsummer Night’s Dream of the French opera composer Ambroise Thomas was first produced in Paris at the Opéra-Comique on 20 April 1850. It was rated highly in its day as one of the liveliest and best of the series of opéras comiques that Thomas wrote in the 1850s and early 1860s, before his greatest triumphs, Mignon (1866) and Hamlet (1868). Despite its title, Le songe d’une nuit d’été does not concern the characters of Shakespeare’s play, but is about the playwright himself—a sort of ‘Shakespeare in Love’—and includes appearances from Elizabeth I, Falstaff and Shakespeare. The French bass Hypolite Belhomme (1854–1923), a friend of Thomas, recorded an aria from it in 1906. Gottschalk, too, was a friend of Thomas and his delicate (G major) treatment of one of the opera’s arias must have been composed contemporaneously; it was his earliest published foray into the realm of operatic transcription. (Gottschalk’s fantasy La Chasse du jeune Henri, Op 10, based on Méhul’s opera Le Jeune Henri, though composed a year earlier in 1849, did not appear until 1851.)

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2000

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