A series of concerts at New York’s Dodsworth’s Hall, beginning in January 1856, led to the greatest public and critical acclaim that any American composer had yet achieved. ‘Public appreciation seems finally attending to Gottschalk (it has taken a somewhat stupid while to do so)’, wrote Richard Storrs Willis in the Musical World
of 26 January 1856. ‘He is fast growing into his proper sphere … as one of the first living pianists.’ The New York Atlas
concurred, claiming that, unlike his competitors, Gottschalk provided music ‘calculated for both the lovers of more severely classical, and those who affect music of a more popular character’. It had taken Gottschalk exactly three years to achieve this level of recognition since his return to the United States in January 1853.
The third concert in the Dodsworth’s Hall series on 25 January included works by Weber, Beethoven, Liszt—and a string of Gottschalk premieres including a fantasy on the finale of Lucrezia Borgia, Solitude and Sospiro, a typically graceful waltz in D flat. Gottschalk himself proudly drew attention to its ‘exquisite details of harmony’.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2001