Jerome Moross was one of the most original voices in 20th-century American music. Along with Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson, he sought to create an authentic musical vocabulary rooted, at least in part, in the folk traditions of this country. We knew him best from his Oscar-nominated score for The Big Country (1958) but Moross actually worked in every arena of American music from classical to chamber to theatre. His Broadway masterpiece was The Golden Apple (1954), which was years ahead of its time, combining aspects of musical comedy and opera. The book and lyrics were by the estimable John LaTouche. For the first time, there is now a complete recording of the work and, in my introduction, I offer some historical and musical context.
Dave Strohmaier, who has spent decades restoring all of the great Cinerama films of the 1950s and ’60s, asked me to participate in his documentary about their music. “The Best in the Biz: The Cinerama Travelogue Composers” examines the scoring process and the grand symphonic music written by such greats as Max Steiner (This Is Cinerama), Morton Gould (Cinerama Holiday), the team of David Raksin-Emil Newman-Sol Kaplan-Jerome Moross (Seven Wonders of the World), Dimitri Tiomkin (Search for Paradise) and Alex North (South Seas Adventure). It’s a whole hour, a rarity in DVD extras today, and I am proud to share screen time with my friends, composers William Stromberg and John Morgan, and filmmaker Harrison Engle, talking about these landmark scores.