Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Gottschalk, Louis Moreau

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GOTTSCHALK, Louis Moreau, musician, b. in New Orleans, La., 8 May, 1829; d. in Tijuca, Brazil, 18 Dec., 1869. His father was of German-Jewish descent and his mother of Creole birth. At an early age he showed marked musical ability. To complete his musical education, his father sent him to Paris, where he studied the piano with Hallé and Camille Stamatz, and harmony with Maleden. He also formed a friendship with Hector Berlioz, who gave him valuable advice. His first appearance was made in Paris in 1845. He continued his studies in musical composition till 1848, when he gave a series of public concerts in Paris with much success. He then travelled in Switzerland and Spain, and made a European reputation before returning to the United States in 1853. His first appearance in this country was made in Boston, and he afterward played in New York, in other cities of the United States, and in Mexico and South America. After spending some time in Buenos Ayres and Montevideo, he went to Rio Janeiro, where he gave many concerts and projected a musical festival, beginning 24 Nov., 1869. On the second evening's performance he became ill while playing one of his compositions, “La Mort,” and was removed at once to Tijuca, where he died. Gottschalk played principally his own compositions, which are dreamy and sensuous, but without intellectual vigor and force. He executed them with feeling and delicacy of expression, which appealed to the popular taste. His arrangements of the works of others are of no special merit, nor was he a skilled interpreter of the works of the masters. His pieces are chiefly illustrative of tropical and southern life, and include “Le Bananier,” “La Savane,” “Ricordati,” “La Marche de Nuit,” “O ma Charmante,” “Reponds-moi,” “Manchega,” “Grande Valse de Concert,” “Grande Étude de Concert,” “Mazeppa,” “La Moissoneuse,” “La Danse des Ombres,” “Ossian Ballads,” “La Bamboula” (a wild African dance), and Cuban dances. He was decorated with the cross of the legion of honor and the order of Isabella the Catholic. He contributed to the “Atlantic, Monthly,” “Notes of a Pianist,” which were edited by his sister (Philadelphia, 1881).