This is the sixth volume of Gottschalk's Hyperion series of piano music, a wonderful project that has unearthed some beautiful and rare treasures of keyboard finesse from this American genius. In Philip Lane, Hyperion have also found a committed and tireless advocate, rather similar to Leslie Howard's labour of love on the much larger Liszt piano music series.
This volume is full of barnstorming rarities commencing with the "Venice Carnival", Grand caprice and variations, a titanic work that transcends our conception of this famous tune with some dazzling virtuosity. The short "Funeral March" is another delight, imposingly conceived, it is quite ravishing in soft textures also. A "Vision" and "Printemps d'amour" then follow, these are an etude and a mazurka respectively, and here Gottschalk recalls his mentor Chopin in more ways than one!
The grand works include an impressive "La Favorita", a fantasy on the Donizetti opera, and "Danse des sylphes", a caprice that is also very impressionistic in character. The Impromptu, RO106 is also very virtuosic in character whilst the short "Maiden"s Blush" and "Danse ossianique" are also delightful miniatures.
As I have already mooted, Philip Lane is perfectly suited to Gottschalk's music and his interpretations are well nigh unsurpassable. The recording is firm and very realist with a touch of brittleness at the top. In sum, this is another gorgeous piano music collection from the underrated American composer.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech