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Published on Sep 11, 2010
Symphonie romantique, "La nuit des tropiques" ("Night in the Tropics"), RO 255 (1859)
II. Festa criolla
The first symphony by American virtuoso pianist and composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869). The son of a Jewish merchant and a Louisiana Creole woman, Gottschalk was soon recognized as a musical child prodigy and sent to the Paris Conservatoire. After he returned from France, he travelled extensively through South America, Central America and the Caribbean - these experiences inspired his first symphony called "Night in the Tropics." Gottschalk's concert tours in the States were immensely popular, until 1865, when he became embroiled in controversy following an affair with an Oakland Female Seminary student. Four years later, at the age of 40, Gottschalk collapsed on stage during a recital in Rio de Janeiro from a bout of malaria, and he died soon after.
The edition of the Symphonie romantique performed in this recording was edited and partially reconstructed by Richard Rosenberg. In Gottschalk's original performances, over 650 musicians were involved in performances of "Night in the Tropics," and they were expected to improvise the final part of the samba movement. In this performance, the orchestral forces are quite a bit smaller. Here, Rosenberg conducts the Hot Springs Festival Symphony Orchestra.