We're going deep in my next class, January 21. Originally, I wanted to give you a broad sample of American music, and we can still do that at a later date. But now, I want to explore the extraordinary work of just three 19th-century Americans who embody very different backgrounds, personalities and styles.
The music of Stephen Foster ("the father of American music") is simple, nostalgic and inward-turning, rooted in black America's sorrow and resilience. Louis Moreau Gottschalk was his opposite: a rock star of the stage and a phenomenally successful pianist who wrote swaggering, sexy music based on Creole and black music, not unlike George Gershwin. And John Philip Sousa was our March King, similar to Vienna's Waltz King, Johann Strauss. With their vigor and optimism, Sousa marches "should make a man with a wooden leg step out."
Despite their differences, all three Americans embody the spirit of their time in fascinating ways.
Join us at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, Classic Pianos, 3003 SE Milwaukie Ave., Portland.
David Stabler is a pianist, writer, dad and cyclist. He's working on a novel based on his childhood years living in Africa and just finished riding across America with his brother this summer.