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Morte!! 'Lamentation', RO174 Op 60
? 1868; published in New York in 1869; alternative title: She is dead

'Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 4' (CDA67118)
Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 4
MP3 £4.00FLAC £4.00ALAC £4.00Buy by post £10.50 CDA67118  Download currently discounted
'Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDS44451/8)
Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £38.50 CDS44451/8  8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Track 8 on CDA67118 [5'58]
Track 8 on CDS44451/8 CD4 [5'58] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Morte!! 'Lamentation', RO174 Op 60
Without doubt, this piece qualifies as Gottschalk’s most familiar title with the least familiar music. It has rarely been recorded—and who has heard it in recital? Yet few who follow the piano do not know that Gottschalk wrote a piece called Morte!!. It is usually consigned to the Musical Sniggers Department by those who have never heard the work, along with The Maiden’s Prayer and The Robin’s Return. It is rather more interesting than these when played sensitively and ‘straight’ (as here). Composed towards the end of his life, Morte!! quickly became Gottschalk’s most popular work in South America, in the same lachrymose tradition of his The Dying Poet, The Dying Swan and his other great weepie The Last Hope. One contemporary report refers to ‘the vague terror it spills into one’s soul … shocking because of the profound inner turmoil it provokes’. He himself described it, not without pride, as ‘un succès de larmes, as several of my fair listeners wept at listening to that rather sad and disconsolate of my last effusions, which is my favourite now, and which I consider as being neither better nor worse than old Last Hope’. He dedicated it to his friend ‘Monsieur le Comte Jioannini, Minister of His Majesty the King of Italy’.

With its steady funereal beat and recurring bottom pedal Fs, Morte!! was the last complete work Gottschalk played in public (25 November 1869 in Rio de Janeiro). As he began the next piece, Tremolo, he collapsed over the keyboard and died in agony three weeks later from peritonitis following a ruptured appendix.

Ten months after his death, his body was interred in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery. Until it fell into disrepair, the inscription beneath read: ‘L. M. Gottschalk—Morte’, notwithstanding the translation of the Spanish word: ‘She is dead’.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2000

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67118 track 8
Recording date
13 May 1999
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Gottschalk: Piano Music, Vol. 4 (CDA67118)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: February 2000
  2. Gottschalk: The Complete Solo Piano Music (CDS44451/8)
    Disc 4 Track 8
    Release date: October 2011
    8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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