This remarkable piano work by Loius Moroue Gottschalk (1829-1869) is a piece that I played in high school for a competition. I'm going to give you fiar warning that this is not your typical piano piece. First, I'll give you a little background on Gottschalk: he is considered by most to be the first truly American pianist. He was a flashy, pyrotechnical genuis...could be considered the Liszt of America. The ladies swooned over him and he was truly an entertainer. This piece was written for President Lincoln's Inauguration Speech and uses the piece Star Spangled Banner, Yankee doodle, and Hail Columbia. He uses the piano not only as a melodic instrument, but as a rhythmic one as well. The opening of the piece is comprised of thunderous octave running passages in Eb minor. These are supposed to emulate the cannons in battle. After these chords, a very melancholy Star Spangled Banner comes out of the smoke of the cannons. This is actually very pretty and lyrical. The minor, somber melody then is transformed into a "barbershop" vershion of the melody that then moves into Hail Columbia. There is a little left hand pulsing gliss that sounds like snare drums. This melody is very proud and regal and is very simple. The layers build and then Yankee doodle comes in in the right hand while columbia is in the left. The chords and sound are huge and everything is very proud and broad...and off course show-off to the hilt. This piece really is an odd piece, by no means in the classical repertory, but I really like. It is very lyrical and flows well. It modulates and is graphic and has an interesting backgroud. Well enough of being patriotic..have a fantabulous night!