The music of Gottschalk is entertaining and can nonetheless be extremely
rewarding as in this well selected collage of piano music for various hands
combinations. Nimbus have sensibly split the discs with the two hands featuring
on one and the four hands on the other. Of the latter (four hands), I was
deeply enthused by the various picturesque impressions including a scintillating
caprice and brilliant and heady impressionism in 'La Jota Aragonesa'.
Alan Marks and Nerrine Barrett are perfectly in unison in the latter piece
and they make many grand rhetorical flushes out of the delightful 'Orfa'
and 'La Gallina', both singular representations of Gottschalk's pianistic
prowess. My only quibble with this first disc was the short timing of just
over three quarters of an hour but this is a 'two-for-one' offering and with
such quality playing the skimpy timing was more than acceptable!
Alan Marks has the second disc to himself, which contains some very beautiful
music. Some are obviously 'Americanized' pieces such as the 'Union' paraphrase
but the Spanish connection is also deeply present. Marks plays the delightful
'Souvenirs d'Andalousie' with consummate skill. He is also a very persuasive
advocate of the deeply felt meditation, 'The Dying Poet' and the host of
other pieces that complete the disc, especially the trendy 'Tournament galop'.
There is nothing overtly cerebral in this music but the melodies and fine
craftsmanship are very endearing. Completists may wish to collect Hyperion's
ongoing Gottschalk series superbly played by Marc Andre Hamelin but bargain
hunters and other piano enthusiasts should be well served by this excellent