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Moross: Symphony no 1, Last Judgement, Variations on a Waltz / Falleta, LSO

Release Date: 12/27/1993 
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7188   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jerome Moross
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a landmark release in several respects. It offers a panoramic perspective on the symphonic accomplishments of a composer who has heretofore been recognized primarily for his theatrical and film music successes; these three works—all first recordings—add significantly to the documented store of accessible Americana; and they are given vigorous and idiomatic performances under the committed direction of the highly gifted young American, JoAnn Fallerta, and within a sonic environment which vividly captures both the brilliance of the orchestration as well as the thorough professionalism of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Jerome Moross's (1913-83) one and only symphony of 1942 comes as nothing less than a revelation.
Read more Because, although the example set by Copland's 1930's ballets must have spurred him on, at twenty-nine years of age Moross had already perfected his unique and very personalized amalgam of the American vernacular, containing echoes of everything from the political rally to the county fair and the vaudeville house. While most of his contemporaries, such as Siegmeister, North, and Gould, were most of the time writing music that was openly urbanistic and jazz-inflected, Moross's kind of generic indigenousness never seemed geographically—or even demographically— restricted but contained as much of Brooklyn as Cheyenne or even Cape May.

Although this twenty-minute work bears solid neo-classical movement headings, such as Theme and Variations, Sonata-Scherzo (which, with its sparkling solo piano deftly embellishing a “plain and simple“ theme, is almost a miniature concertino), Invention (a kind of “prairie nocturne“ foreshadowing aspects of The Big Country), and Fugue (which sounds more like a raucous town meeting!), the symphony's content is pure American—homespun tunefulness in Moross's most engaging manner. How malleable this style could become in his effortlessly craftsmanlike hands is illustrated by how naturally the music unfolds and almost writes itself with its flowing variants and inversions; and how far-ranging its applicability is evident in his operatic masterpiece The Golden Apple, where Moross immediately convinces us that these turn-of-the-century American country bumpkins standing in for the Greek heroes and gods could express themselves so plausibly in his sweet-and-spicy musical language.

The Variations on a Waltz is a later (1966) orchestral revision of a section of the ill-fated 1946 Ballet Ballads, a kind of hybrid vocal-choreographic concoction which, together with his rambunctious minstrel-show theater piece Gentlemen, Be Seated!, deserves a full-scale revival and/or permanent presentation on disc. The smoothly kaleidoscopic twelve-minute Variations consists of ten mostly brief and quicksilver movements and displays Moross's wittily seamless blend of the jaunty and the sentimental at its most appealing.

When he came to write the ballet The Last Judgment for Ruth Page in 1953, Moross was in total command of his distinctive orchestral idiom (The Big Country was only a few years away): he could make it appropriate for a wide gamut of moods and situations—this serio-comic treatment of the Adam and Eve story is full of erotic and parodie double entendres and bitonal infusions familiar from his first dance score, Frankié and Johnny, while never sacrificing the basic narrative thrust of the scenario. All the various pluralistic strands—or, to be more politically correct—all the multicultural elements of the American musical melting pot—are here interwoven and incorporated in a Biblical tale of universal import.

What more is there to say, except that no collection of American music can afford to lack this disc which, since Koch's brilliant and Grammy-award-winning pairing of the two splendid Barber cantatas, is the most compelling yet issued in this series.

-- Paul A. Snook, FANFARE [11/1993] Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 by Jerome Moross
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941-1942; USA 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 20 Minutes 7 Secs. 
The Last Judgement by Jerome Moross
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 23 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Variations on a Waltz by Jerome Moross
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946-1966; USA 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 14 Minutes 16 Secs. 

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