For most of 1868, Gottschalk was shuttling between Montevideo and Buenos Aires. In November, after some concerts at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, he made for the ‘barren and windswept’ village of San Isidro, some twenty kilometres to the north. Here he stayed for some months with friends in their house overlooking the coastal pampas of the Rio de la Plata. Exhausted from a series of monster concerts and an attack of tonsillitis, Gottschalk took some weeks to recover but then entered into an unusually productive period of composition (see notes on Vision
and Caprice élégiaque
, above). Although marked ‘tempo di mazurka con spirito’, this appealing Impromptu
in A flat has more in common with a Parisian waltz, its visually appealing crossed-hand effects in the central D flat major section adding to its stylish charm. The Impromptu
is dedicated to Madame Elise d’Aubigny, who had been a close friend of Gottschalk’s mother in Paris and to whom he had been introduced in Montevideo two years before his stay in San Isidro.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2003