Medicine: Monster Rally

Pianists celebrate Gottschalk

America's first world-class musician, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, built a precocious career on three isms: romanticism, pianism and giganticism. He had the dazzling keyboard technique of his European contemporaries, Liszt and Chopin, and a languid, aristocratic sexuality as well. Women vied for the white gloves he tossed aside before sitting down to play—and often for other favors afterward. His recitals, heavily laced with showpieces of his own composing, catered unabashedly to the florid, sentimental taste of the day. On occasion he disdained using one piano where ten or 14 would do. During the years before his death at 40...

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