The un-numbered Ballade
(RO271) from 1853 can be heard on CD 2 of this series, while the 6ème Ballade
, Op 85 (RO14) is contained on CD 1. The RO catalogue does not list a Second, Third, Fourth or even Fifth Ballade, though there is a 7ème Ballade
(RO16) mentioned. Ballades 6, 7 and 8 were published posthumously but nothing is known of the circumstances of their composition. The model of Chopin is obvious without the Polish master’s original and inimitable powers of expression: in this Eighth Ballade
(E major) the main theme threatens to break into one of the nocturnes; after a brillante passage in which, unusually, Gottschalk (or his editor?) offers the player a cut of twenty bars, there is an episode in the relative minor that resembles a mazurka; this is followed by a chorale-like episode in D flat before an octave restatement of the opening theme.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2001