1997 32¢ Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Conductors and Composers
Issue Date: September 12, 1997
City: Cincinnati, OH
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) was able to substitute for his teacher at the cathedral organ during Mass by age seven. At 13 he went to study in Paris, and shortly before his 16th birthday he gave a recital that was attended by Frédéric Chopin, who predicted Gottschalk would become “the king of the pianists.”
In 1849 Gottschalk made his professional debut. Critics immediately compared him to Chopin, and as a composer he was labeled the first authentic musical spokesman for the New World. Gottschalk was especially known for his piano compositions that included The Dying Poet, The Last Hope, and Morte!!
Ethnic influences, especially those of French, Latin American, Spanish, and West Indian music are demonstrated throughout his pieces. His Louisiana Trilogy for piano, titled Bamboula, Le Bananier, and La Savane, drew upon the folk music of New Orleans, the city of his birth. While his orchestral piece, A Night in the Tropics, utilizes Latin dance rhythms, Souvenir de Porto Rico is based on a Puerto Rican peasant song.
Several of his compositions have distinctly American themes, such as The Banjo, which is a piano portrait of a minstrel show, and The Union honors the northern soldiers of the Civil War.