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C. Michael Bailey
All About Jazz, August 2008

There appears considerable overlap between Orchestral Works (Complete) and Night in the Tropics / Celebre Tarantelle / Berceuse. Again Richard Rosenberg and the Hot Springs Festival Symphony Orchestra are the vehicle for the Gottschalk recital. But Rosenberg takes the music and re-imagines it, fleshing it out.

Rosenberg points out in his notes that “A Night in the Tropics” had only been performed since the composer’s death in condensed and “corrected” versions. Rosenberg reconstructed the pieces based on the composer’s autograph manuscript, a smaller orchestra than what Gottschalk had originally planned (which numbered several hundred musicians).

In the final movement of “A Night in the Tropics,” Gottschalk marked only the opening measure of the Afro-Cuban percussion, using the notation from “Bamboula.” Gottschalk readily expected the ensemble to improvise the remainder of that samba movement in a manner that places it as a sort of bridge between nineteenth-century concert music and a musical language that would soon evolve into that of jazz.

This promotes Gottschalk’s importance to jazz that would begin quickly evolving mere years after the composer’s death. Outside of the large orchestral pieces, Rosenberg treats the listener to several Gottschalk piano pieces adapted for orchestral interpretation. Gottschalk provided a language to American music that was uniquely American while still being a eutectoid of multiple cultural confluences. Gottschalk’s music is immediately enjoyable and the indebtedness of composers after him readily apparent.

Andrew Druckenbrod
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 2003

Called the ‘Creole Chopin,’ this 19th-century composer had a fascinating penchant for writing catchy and colorful pieces.

Joseph Horowitz
The New York Times, July 2001

…we can newly appreciate the best American composer of the period and a third New World original: Louis Moreau Gottschalk.

Here, Naxos has furnished the premiere recording of Gottschalk’s explosive orchestral show-stopper, ‘Night in the Tropics’ (1859), in something like its original version, with pulsating Cuban percussion and brigades of gyrating brass. Richard Rosenberg leads the Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra in a performance whose ‘Festa Criolla’ rattles the roof…This is mandatory American repertory.

Jeremy Nicholas
Classic CD, May 2000

…the large force gambols through these symphonic arrangements with great spirit…

International Record Review, April 2000

If you know Gottschalk’s unorthodox two-movement symphony A Night in the Tropics…hearing Richard Rosenberg’s scrupulous new restoration will be akin to hearing Mussorgsky’s Boris after living with Rimsky-Korsakov. Most obviously, the new edition respects Gottschalk’s profligate timbral imagination, giving us a renewed appreciation not only of the impudent contagion of climaxes (40 separate wind and brass parts), but also of the score’s subtler uses of instrumental resources. But Rosenberg has also taken seriously the details of Gottschalk’s notation bringing his rhythmic daring into sharper focus-a special benefit in the exuberant dance of the second movement.

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