Gottschalk: Piano Music

Gottschalk: Piano Music—Cecile Licad, piano (Naxos 559145)

For the week of Independence Day, we have music by the first American pianist/composer acclaimed in the salons of Europe, Louis Moreau Gottschalk.  Jed Distler of had this to day about this Naxos disc when it was first released in 2003: “Cecile Licad may have been groomed under Rudolf Serkin's exacting tutelage, but her visceral, exuberant Gottschalk playing evokes Vladimir Horowitz's diabolical art.  It's not just speed and accuracy that Licad brings to the impossible repeated notes in Le banjo or Tremolo, but also impulsive dynamic surges and fustian drama. Her nimble, skywritten runs in La jota aragonesa simply take your breath away, as do her exquisitely shaped soft chords.  For all of Licad's affetuoso teasing in The Dying Poet, somehow the work's surface treacle never turns maudlin.  She summons up every inch of blood and thunder in virtuosic nationalist works such as the Souvenirs d'Andalousie, Souvenir de Porto, and The Union. Her rhythm is infectious as well as galvanizing: listen to La Gallina's tango-influenced underpinnings and you'll be dancing within seconds…We've got the best of Gottschalk, played to the hilt, at budget price. A sensational disc: don't miss it.”


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