the cosmopolitan pianist is a program featuring music of national identity: adopted nationalities (godowsky's star-spangled banner), appropriated ones (bach italian concerto and liszt spanish rhapsody) and what i call 'psalm 137' pieces: composers in exile writing in their native language (chopin mazurkas, dinos constantinides greek variations, even gottschalk creole ballade).
baton rouge itself is an american city with a european and caribbean heritage. if anything i get that caribbean heritage is more prominent, but there's a conversation between the two. my program was about that general idea, of all the ways one culture can be expressed through another. the central european way of composing, especially for the piano, and the theory involved, was the meeting point for music sourced from very foreign places. chopin didn't just write mazurkas in a strict style, he adapted them to his internationalism and to some degree his audience.
that exotic flavor must have sold in paris in the 1800's because gottschalk brought his mildly creole - puerto rican musical memories there, and was a smash hit. his music hasn't aged as well as liszt and chopin, but you can still feel the drama.
as an encore i played the 'turkish' rondo of mozart, and the crowd went wild.
here's the live performance of chopin's mazurkas op24: