Every once in a while, I like to buy a CD of a composer I'm not familiar with (and with NAXOS's low prices, why not?). When I got home and listened to this one, once wasn't enough. I listened twice through. This CD is real fun!!
In his day, Gottschalk was called "the Chopin of Creoles." Most of his writing was for the piano and this CD is generally short piano pieces arranged for orchestra. The music mixes strong folk melodies and New Orleans Creole inspired syncopation with the European Classical tradition- the result being a distinctly american divertimenti.
The music as a whole is very motif oriented with a touch of variation and some interesting arrangement twists. While and orchestral CD, the piano gets a lot of attention, giving us some nice interplay between the two.
The only complaint I have is that the CD was recorded at a music festival where professional musicians are playing side by side with selected 'pre-professionals.' I'm not a snob and normally it wouldn't bother me, but Gottschalk's unusual syncopation tends to be unprofessionally slopppy at times. Fortunately, any mistakes are in the supporting insturments. No star shall be subtracted because NAXOS has done such a great job giving us a quality CD at a good price.