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Gottschalk - The Union - Concert Paraphrase on National Airs

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by musicrecovery, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Everyone,

    This is my earlier recording of the 'Gottschalk - Union' that my project manager just re-finished.

    ed. note - original audio recording replaced with new studio recording - 2014.1001 -
    Gottschalk - Op. 48 - The Union - Concert Paraphrase on National Airs (9:33)

    youtube American Civil War Theme (with a few recording studio production photos) Slideshow uploaded 2014.0924 -
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQGJyw_UN24

    Louis Moreau Gottschalk composed this piece in 1862 as expression of his support and loyalty for the
    preservation of the 'Union' (the United States) during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Although Gottschalk
    was a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he very much opposed the secessionist movement
    of the 11 Southern States. None-the-less, he always identified himself as a New Orleans native in public speaking and concerts.

    -Kaila
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    For various reasons I've not been inclined to post on PS lately but I found this too interesting to remain silent. Partly because I know this piece so well, I went through a Gottschalk phase once and this was always one of my favourites from the big Dover anthology. I've long wanted to record some of these pieces but there was always something else.

    I admire your clean and conscientious playing here but I find it altogether too slow, soft, polite, and cautious. It's such a rousing piece of Americana, aimed to make people jump off their seats at the end and go crazy with patriotism. That daredevil virtuosity and exuberance I rather miss here. You need to take a risk now and then, and sod the consequences. The drumstrokes in the Tamburra section are a bit soggy and stilted, they need to have that menacing quality found in Alkan's Le Tambour Bat aux Champs. Or so I imagine anyway. The final pages should really go hell for leather. But yeah, easier said than done ! The little slips there are do not matter so much, except for a glaring D flat in the second bar of Yankee Doodle vs. Hail Columbia which I find really annoying in what I consider the best part of the piece. A master stroke to combine these two great tunes !

    I'm sorry to be a bit critical Kaila ! No matter what, it is an achievement to bring this piece off so well. Will you do more Gottschalk ? Or maybe have another go at this one and spice it up a bit ?
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Forgot to mention -I will put this one on the site. It's about time I did some admin work again.
     
  4. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    I agree with you for the most part. A few years before this recording, I performed the Union and it was faster and more exuberent.
    Unfortunately it was recorded on cassette and the sound quality is too poor to do anything with.

    Hopefully, I will one day relearn this piece and have the strength and ability to play it with more
    gusto and spirit and speed. As it is, the performance is conscientiousness and could be more daring.

    By the way, I also recorded the Bamboula and used to play it a lot. That is another piece I would really
    like to redo.

    Thank you for your comments and posting the recording at the site. I hope you will play some Gottschalk soon and post it.

    Best,
    Kaila
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    This one is now live, please check if all is ok.
    I don't think I will be recording any Gottschalk (or anything else for that matter) for a while yet, so maybe if you could provide a bio and maybe some blurb for the actual mp3 page ?
     
  6. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow, that sure put my speakers to the test. The dynamic range is incredible and you really bring it out well. Though I have to admit this is not my kind of music - somehow I feel it is like the score for a silent movie but I guess they were not invented at the time. I found the middle parts the most interesting. Chris may have a point in abandoning caution for the fireworks.

    OT for Chris: I'm glad to hear from you again and hope all is well with you. Running a site like this is a lot of work and benefits many people and I for one appreciate it a lot. The admins deserve more credit than they usually get. And I'll cheer for the Netherlands in the game tonight (kickoff in 2 mins)!

    Joachim
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That seems to have helped. 2-0 so far. We kick some Brazilian ass :)
     
  8. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist

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    3-0, and very well deserved, congrats! A fun game to watch.
     
  9. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very entertaining, but I think it needs to be a bit more expansively over the top, absurd even. The trouble with such pieces is they are exponentially more satisfying when in the hands of a top-notch virtuoso, someone like Katsaris comes to mind. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it and always appreciate hearing from a composer who, temperamentally speaking, really should be part of my repertoire!
     
  10. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chris,

    I will keep my current recording on the site as a place holder, and re-record it later this year.
    I have some thoughts for re-interpreting the piece.

    I will work on a Gottschalk bio (brief) and some info about The Union for the mp3 page.
    Thanks for your comments and suggestions about the performance. Also, much appreciation to you and the other Admins for the work you
    put into maintaining the Piano Society site and Forum.

    ----
    Joachim,
    Thanks for listening and sharing your thoughts on the piece and my performance.

    -Kaila
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yea, that was a good game. Without exception all Dutch players were on excellent form, reducing the Brazilians to a bunch of desperate tricksters. Nice to see some of the lesser gods score too. If only we'd had Brazil for the half finals instead of Argentina.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for that Kaila, much appreciated.
     
  13. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    This is on the order of what we need for the 4th of July simulcast music during that last explosive part of the fireworks. I don't know if anyone has thought of it, but each year when we get the big bang explosions at the end of the display, we are listening to the old Russian national anthem. They always play the "1812 Overture", which has nothing to do with our "War of 1812".
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hey Scott ! Long time no hear. Have you been lurking or otherwise ?
     
  15. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Kaila,

    It's great to hear some Gottschalk music here. I think he's one of the most colorful characters on the American music scene before or since. Like other 19th century artists and composers, he went to Paris for his training. Nonetheless, I believe we all consider him to be an American "original". Sometimes when I hear a piece by Gottschalk, like The Dying Poet, it sounds like salon music--but I mean that in the best sense. I think of his piece "The Banjo", for example. Who else could have so convincingly replicated the sound of a banjo piece on a piano?

    I really enjoyed hearing your rendition of "The Union". It's been a long while since I last heard it, but I believe your rendition is very good indeed. Yes, you could perhaps have taken a risk here or there to good effect, as has been suggested here, but I would be quite content to hear it the way you play it now. I believe it's a highly creditable performance.

    The piano sound was wonderful too. The bass is very rich. Is this the same piano you've used in prior pieces that you've posted here?

    Thanks for posting!

    David
     
  16. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi David, Scott, Joachim, and Andrew,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Frankly, I will be very happy when this piece is re-recorded.
    I have many new perspectives on it now from the comments I received at the Piano Society.

    The expression markings of Gottschalk are very interesting.
    I look forward to re-recording.

    David, my most recent recordings have been performed on a Steinway at a local studio, this
    Gottschalk recording was performed on a Steinway in a theater space at local college.

    Chris,
    I will submit the Gottschalk Bio around the time I do the re-recording.


    Best,
    Kaila
     
  17. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Hey Chris, Kaila, and everyone,

    It has been a rough couple of years. I've lurked a couple of times, but things kept happening. Anyway, I plan to be on again regularly as things settle down.

    Sorry, Kaila for doing this here, but I thought that I should answer Chris' question since he posted it hear.

    Scott
     
  18. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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