Composers: A Real Pioneer

Like the reigning romantic heroes of mid-19th century musical Europe, Chopin and Liszt, New Orleans-born Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-69) had sex appeal aplenty. As a Wunderkind pianist-composer in the Paris salons, as a lion on tour in the U.S., the West Indies and Latin America, he dazzled the ladies with his pink-lemonade piano pieces and thrilled them with his frail, aristocratic good looks and his saturnine, bedroomy eyelids. One panting female, so the story goes, even swooped down upon him at the end of a recital, picked him up in her arms and made off with him for the night.

If...