Louis Moreau Gottschalk was an American composer and pianist who worked mainly outside the U.S.A. Born in New Orleans he travelled to Europe at the age of 13 to study music. Much of the early music he composed was based on music he remembered from his childhood in Louisiana where he was exposed to a variety of musical traditions. From the 1860’s he was regarded as the best known pianist from the New World and his talent was recognised by both Chopin and Liszt. A tempo of 100 quarter note beats to the minutes is used in the realisation of “Le Banjo” which dates from 1853 whilst the piece needs to be played with a very even tempo with the piano being played quite percussively. The tied notes need to be carefully identified in both the melody and bass line where the acciaccaturas (crushed notes) are used to recreate the “hammer on” technique used by players of fretted instruments. The term Ardito means bold whilst Ben misurato indicates that the music needs to be played in a strict tempo and the term martelltato is an indication that the notes are to be strongly accented. Whilst this is a cut down and simplified version of the work the original in the key of F sharp major is often played by piano virtuosi as an encore. The sustaining pedal hasn’t been indicated in the score but limited use may be considered. In this arrangement for solo piano the playing context is for the music to be presented as a concert item for intermediate level players. Stephen Foster’s Camptown Races is referenced both at the beginning and the end of the arrangement whilst the trills in bar 81 and bar 149 start on the note. There is a further challenge in that a concert version of the piece can be readily sourced for those who like a real challenge.