This is a revised and retitled version of Gottschalk’s Op 1, his Polka de salon
, composed in 1844 and published in Paris two years later (featured on CD 5 of this series). For notes on Ossian, the ‘legendary Gallic poet’ (in reality, the eighteenth-century Scottish poet James Macpherson), the reader is referred to CD 4 of this series where Gottschalk’s two Ossian Ballades
are discussed. Many of Gottschalk’s idiomatic harmonies and figurations are already present, albeit modestly, in the Danse ossianique
, a slight but pretty nod to Chopin—the favoured key of A flat, a merry triplet motif, brilliant runs in octaves and repeated-note passages. There is little Caledonian about it and indeed, as noted in CD 5 by Gottschalk’s biographer S Frederick Starr, ‘if the bass line were changed to a habanera rhythm, the piece as a whole would be transformed into a jaunty Caribbean dance’.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2003