The Brooklyn Eagle: Green-Wood Cemetery Seeks To Bring Angel Back to Monument

June 4, 2009

‘Angel of Music’ Is Gone From Composer’s Grave

GREEN-WOOD — Brooklyn’s Historic Green-Wood Cemetery recently announced a new fundraising campaign to re-create “The Angel of Music” — a delicate and intricate sculpture that once marked the grave of legendary 19th century American composer-pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869).

The angel disappeared from the gravesite under unknown circumstances more than 50 years ago. The initiative, “Saved in Time: The Gottschalk Project,” is administered under the auspices of The Green-Wood Historic Fund, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

A New Orleans native, Gottschalk was recognized as a child prodigy by the local establishment, and by the 1860s was considered the foremost pianist in the New World. Existing photos of his monument show a white marble angel almost five feet high.

The angel’s left hand held a tablet inscribed with titles of Gottschalk’s most famous compositions. A heraldic trumpet was tucked beneath the angel’s arm. Her right hand extended in a gesture suggestive of leading an orchestra. At her feet was a classical lyre.

“Green-Wood Cemetery boasts thousands of artistically and architecturally significant sculptures, statues and monuments. But, with each passing year, caring for these historic treasures becomes a more daunting and expensive task,” said Richard J. Moylan, president of Green-Wood Cemetery.

The Historic Fund is currently reviewing design submissions from sculptors around the country. Three finalists will be announced in late June. The winning design will be unveiled in October 2009. Moylan estimated total costs for the Gottschalk Project will be approximately $200,000.

Established in 1838, Green-Wood Cemetery was declared a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior in 2006. The 478-acre cemetery is home to thousands of monuments, many designed by world-renowned turn-of-the-century sculptors.

Among the nearly 600,000 people buried there are Leonard Bernstein, Horace Greeley, F.A.O. Schwartz, Samuel Morse, Boss Tweed, and more than 3,000 veterans of the Civil War — both North and South.

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