Tournament Galop (1860)
LOUIS MOREAU GOTTSCHALK (1829-1869)
(trans. John H. Butler)
Louis Moreau Gottschalk was born in New Orleans in 1829, and his background and upbringing brought together the elements of the American genteel period of music and the New Orleans Creole traditionÑ elements that characterize the output of America’s first “classical” composer. In the short span during which he lived (he died in 1869), Gottschalk managed to capture the accolades of audiences in many diverse quarters of the world, both as pianist and composer. Although most of his composition was for piano, he also wrote a number of orchestral pieces, and a few incomplete dramatic works.
The Tournament Galop was written as a brilliant exercise in piano technique, calculated to drain the last ounce of enthusiasm from a concert audience. While it is of only slight musical substance, it deserves a place in the light-music literature along with the equally deft and ingratiating “showpiece” compositions of Liszt, Johann Strauss, et al. John Butler scored this wonderful piano piece for band, a practice that contributed a substantial number of classical pieces to the ante-bellum band repertoire.
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