This berceuse with its central gentle habanera, though hugely indebted to Chopin, finds Gottschalk at his reflective best. Inspired by some lines of Victor Hugo (‘Dans ce monde de mensonges / Moi j’aimerai mes douleurs / Si mes rêves sont tes songes / Si mes larmes sont tes pleurs’), a first version of Reflets du passé
was composed in 1847 but has since been lost. This second version from nearly a decade later was published as No 3 of a projected series of twelve ballades entitled Rayons et Ombres
. The title page tells us that No 1 is called La Sérénade
(which I have been unable to identify) while No 2 is Ricordati
. What the other nine pieces were (to have been) must remain a mystery. Reflets du passé
is dedicated to someone with the unlikely name of ‘Ratheb Nags’.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2000