The notes to this 1993 release, reissued by Albany in 2013, claim that the neglect of American composer Jerome Moross is due to "extra-musical factors," and that "no one can question" the intrinsic value of his music. That is, of course, for individual listeners to decide, but it's true that the music heard here is unique, pushed even farther in a jazzy direction than that of its main influence (Copland) and most similar contemporary (Leonard Bernstein). Copland in fact praised Moross as "probably the most talented" composer of his generation. He remains better known among film music buffs, for such works as the score to The Big Country (1958) than among concert audiences. That may be because his writing matches the cheery mood of mid-century American film better than the weightier one of symphonic music and ballet, a genre in which Moross was especially prolific. The rhythmic nature of his work seems to suggest itself for dance, but the cinematic treatment of the story of Adam and Eve in The Last Judgement (1953) would make its subject unlikely to be guessed by a concertgoing audience: it's just too bouncy. Its chief interest lies in the fact that the story is told primarily through Eve's eyes; the composer later called the work "all very Women's Lib." The Symphony No. 1 and Variations on a Waltz for orchestra are written in the same broad cinematic vein, but gain interest through their collision with traditional symphonic forms. With an enthusiastic performance from the London Symphony Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta, who is the best champion this music could have hoped for, this program will be of interest to Copland fans who want to see just how far the influence of the populist phase of his career could be carried.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Symphony No. 1|
|The Last Judgement, ballet|
|Variations on a Waltz, for orchestra|