Friday, February 17, 2006

"Trylon and Perisphere," a Ferde Grofe classic

From the CD Paul Whiteman--Carnegie Hall Concert, December 25, 1938 comes this gem of a Ferde Grofe composition:

Trylon and Perisphere (Grofe), Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra. Performed live at Paul Whiteman's eighth (and last) Experiment in Modern Music. (Edited) comments by Deems Taylor.

This is such a wonderful piece, I hate to take any portion of it to task, but things get a bit turgid during Grofe's usual reprise-athon near the end--I wonder if the fault lies in Grofe's writing or if the performers hadn't quite gotten the score down? Maybe a little of both. At any rate, Trylon and Perisphere, written for the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair, was by far the best work featured in the concert, which is available for purchase here. It's a very interesting historical document, even if most of the works--by folks such as Richard Rodgers, Raymond Scott, and Duke Ellington--are less than inspiring. The slow moments are more than made up for by Fred Van Epps' Quonk, Morton Gould's The Bell Fugue, and a performance of Gershwin's Cuban Overture (with Rosa Linda--who completed the work after Gershwin died--at the piano!) And, of course, by Trylon and Perisphere. As a lover of Arthur Honegger's music, I listen to Grofe's piece and wonder if he was trying to render Honegger in easy-listening terms. If so, I can't imagine a more successful experiment.

A rare example of what "Pops" concerts could be, if there were only more Grofes out there....



Anonymous Byron Los Angeles said...

Hi Lee! Welcome back to the Vintage Lounge, and hope the weather is well for you o'er there.
Oh well, I deleted some songs I liked by mistake to free up some disk space, so I'm learnin' the hard 'drive' way to listen, learn and burn. Some files were in another folder called 'Exercise an open mind' (I should of opened the file first!;) Ah, Paul Whiteman, the ol' Potato head !
Byron Los Angeles

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Titi said...

The link is cracked...

9:28 AM  
Blogger Lee Hartsfeld said...

Hi, Titi.

The file link was taken down for bandwidth purposes--I can only afford so many downloads per month. I keep MP3s up as long as I can, but they have to go down after a bit. Sorry about that!


9:59 AM  

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