of L.M. Gottschalk
(Interactive page, in constant development)
A year before his death, Gottschalk wrote "I was born for the orchestra. I find in writing symphonic music broader, more multiplied sensations than writing for the piano" (Montevideo, September 27, 1868, ...).
If its Tarantelle gives a glimpse of his talent in this area, he unfortunately did not live long enough to really tackle this task. While organizing huge festivals, his few orchestral pieces required a work without rest and in the haste that undoubtedly helped ruining his health. In this conterxt, he had only time to concentrate on anything but the best "effect". The very majority of his compositions is for piano (two or four hands/2 pianos). Again, some may accuse him of having a little hackneyed his talent to please and adapt himself to audiences instead of elevating them. We may therefore find some works too naive or sentimental.
Gottschalk easily gives to those who only retain these works, reasons to consider him as a minor composer of outdated music. However, that would be a disregard of all of his compositions, which generally shows a deep melodic, harmonic research and a rhythmic revolution (syncopation, off-beat...). Besides, discovering Gottschalk's compositions is a diving in the musical universe of all the countries where he lived. Indeed, Gottschalk has always succeeded in making his own his musical environment to retranscribe motives or substance in his compositions. Thus, la Jota Aragonesa, Union, Souvenir de la Havane, Souvenir de Porto-Rico are really musical scenes.
Gottschalk also composed in all the genres: Mazurkas, Polkas, Schottisch, Waltzes, Ballades ... often showing a chopinesque inspiration. He also succumbed to the fashion of opera transcriptions : La chasse du Jeune Henri, Jérusalem, Miserere du Trovatore...
The catalog of his works, as listed by Robert Offergeld (still not exhaustive) has over 300 references. However, many unpublished works are forever lost. Gottschalk was familiar with improvisation and could play a work several times without couching it on paper. You will mostly find there compositions for which a manuscript exist or sufficient information concerning their origin. If Robert Offergeld (classification RO) referenced many lost works, he also confused some and forgot others, recently discovered. John Doyle (Classification D ), more recently, edited a catalog of published and/or handwritten Gottchalk's works.
Clicking on a work, you can access to a page with detailed informations, often an audio sample (usually one-third of the work) and sometimes a full record (through legal sites).
Main informations on the works originate from the composer's notes, biographies and booklets.
Feel free to supplement and enrich the information by adding your own votes, comments, information or analysis on the works (with your references, if possible).
The difficulty of the works, as indicated by the number of eighth notes, appear in the column "Level"