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Bamboula

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Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Louis Moreau Gottschalk (arr. Di Scala)


Subtitle: Danse de Negres

This work bears the designation Op. 2.


General Info

Year: 1844-45 / 2015
Duration: 7:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manuscript

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute III
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (2 on a part)
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III-IV
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium (Bass Clef)
Tuba
Double Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Timpani
  • Glockenspiel (shared)
  • Xylophone
  • 3 Tom-toms (high, medium, low)
  • Bass Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal (shared)
  • Large Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Cabasa
  • Castanets
  • Claves
  • Cowbell
  • Guiro
  • Maracas (shared)
  • Tambourine
  • Vibra-slap


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Bamboula utilizes a Creole folk melody identified with the text Quand patate la cuite na va mangé li! ("When that 'tater's cooked don't you eat it up!") The song was used in New Orleans with a Negro dance called the bamboula derived from a drum of the same name. During Gottschalk's childhood, the bamboula could be seen and heard in Congo Square, a weekend gathering place for Negroes. Whether the young Louis was acually taken to the Square by his slave-nurse is not known; it is certain, however, that the singing and drumming could be heard from the balcony of the family home scarcely two blocks from the Square on North Rampart Street.

The fantastic spectacle of the bamboula was described years later by George W. Cable in his article "The Dance in Place Congo" (1886). He speaks of the "booming of African drums and blast of huge wooden horns," the use of triangles, Jew's harps, rattles, banjo, and the slap of bare feet on earth. Gottschalk's Bamboula distills the savagery of the original and yet is marvelously evocative: the pounding octaves, the syncopated banjo figures, the tension and surprise. It is one of the remarkable piano pieces of the nineteenth century.

When New Orleans heard Gottschalk perform the piece for the first time in 1853, it marked not only the homecoming of a native celebrity but also the return of a bit of local melody after a sea-change: "The 'Bamboula' was received literally with a whirlwind of the most vehement expressions of admirations; magnificant bouquets fell by twenties on the platform…Every one had been waiting for this piece and every one was delighted with it."

It was later republished in 1973 by Dover in the compilation “Piano Music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk.”

- Program Note from "Piano Music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk"


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Oakland (Calif.) Municipal Band (Troy Davis, conductor) – 31 July 2016


Works for Winds by this Composer


References

  • Richard Jackson, (1972). "Piano Music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk"; Dover Publications, Inc.: New York; pp. ix