With his idiomatic and graceful style, pianist Philip Martin has established himself as the foremost exponent of Gottschalk. Much of his music is by no means easy to play; it requires an impeccable technique matched with Èlan and joie de vivre for its most effective execution. Although not essentially a great composer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk had a unique spontaneity and individuality which Martins performances bring vividly to the fore. The composers music was hugely popular during his lifetime and his works display a real melodic charm and a great sense of fun. Each of the eight discs in Martins extensive Gottschalk series has received wide acclaim and left pianophiles eagerly awaiting the next issue.
The young French cellist Edgar Moreau, an established Erato artist, is joined by his siblings – the violinists Raphaëlle and David and the pianist Jérémie – for Dvořák’s five Bagatelles op 47 and Korngold’s Suite op 23. As David points out, works for the combination of two violins, cello and piano are unusual: “These are wonderful pieces that are rarely played, so this is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on them.” When it comes to playing as a family, Edgar feels that “There’s something that works almost instinctively,” while Raphaëlle explains that “We don’t need to look at each other, and we breathe together in a certain way. There’s something very strong about it.” Completing the programme are transcriptions of much-loved operatic arias from Dvořák’s Rusalka and Korngold’s Die tote Stadt, performed by Edgar and Jérémie.
This program offers three lively, colorful, and captivating orchestral works by two United States composers, born almost a century apart. These pieces exhibit the fruitful exchange and flow of musical material between North and South America that has long played a role in popular music, apparent not only in commercial song and dance music using Latin American melodies and rhythms but also in early jazz and blues where tango rhythms are so often heard, as in W. C. Handy's St. Louis Blues. And both Gottschalk in the 1850s, close to the beginning of a creative American musical tradition, and Gould in the 1950s, when such a tradition had flowered considerably, show a combination of seriousness of approach with a popular touch.