This CD is the first known recording of the music of Robert Goldbeck, and serves as a fascinating snapshot of the eclectic sounds of late-19th century American piano music. While hard to describe Goldbeck's style, it is often said to have hints of the sound Chopin and Liszt while remaining in a sentimental, charming mood. It certainly could be heard on the concert stage, but it might be more at home in the elegant parlor of an 1880s brick home in Chicago or St. Louis.
Piano Music from America’s Gilded Age— A time when European immigrants poured into America. A time when American culture began to take its unique place on the world stage. A time when urban centers such as New York, Chicago, and St. Louis bustled and grew into metropolises to rival the large cities of Europe.
The term “Gilded Age” was coined by Mark Twain to refer to a hint of an American golden age during the late 19th century. Still reeling from the effects of the Civil War, the faint signs of a prospering middle and upper class were overshadowed by the reality of a huge, struggling working class. Nevertheless a growing tide of musicians, artists, and educators from Europe arrived in America, determined to bring the culture of the motherland to émigré sons and daughters.
Pianist, composer, author, and educator Robert Goldbeck (1839-1908) was one of these immigrants from Germany. A concert pianist with a penchant for travel, Goldbeck succeeded in developing music conservatories in several American cities. His most lasting contribution was as the co-founder of Boston’s New England Conservatory—one of America’s oldest and leading musical institutions today.
Goldbeck was also active in New York, Chicago, and St. Louis, where he died while teaching at the Strassberger Conservatory.
Dr. Dwayne Huff is an Associate Professor of Music (Piano and Music History) at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri. A pianist since the age of five, Dr. Huff began his training in the Royal Conservatory (Toronto, Canada) program while growing up in Germany. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Wichita State University where he studied piano with Dr. Andrew Trechak and Prof. Paul Reed. He earned his Doctor of Arts in Music degree from the University of Mississippi where he studied piano with Prof. Stacy Rogers.
Dr. Huff’s doctoral essay under the supervision of Dr. Alan Spurgeon at the University of Mississippi (2007) was on the subject of Robert Goldbeck. In his paper, Dr. Huff completed the first known full biography of Mr. Goldbeck and included an annotated bibliography of over 100 solo piano works which were collected from various sources*.