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Walter ROSS (b. 1936)
Through The Reeds
Oboe d'amore Concerto (1998) [15:44]
Bassoon Concerto (1983) [17:10]
Concerto for Flute and Guitar (1987) [20:17]
Oboe Concerto(1984) [16:57]
Michal Sintal (oboe d'amore), Roman Mesina (bassoon), M. Turner (flute), Radka Kubrova (guitar), Igor Fabera (oboe), Adriana Antalova (harp)
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Kirk Trevor
rec. May 2002, Slovak Radio Studios, Bratislava. DDD
The Capstone Collection Series
RAVELLO RECORDS RR7854 [69:00]

Walter Ross was raised in Nebraska and was active as an orchestral French horn player. At present he plays bass in the Blue Ridge Chamber Orchestra in Charlottesville VA.
 
He was taught composition by Robert Beadell and later studied at Cornell with Robert Palmer - we need to hear his Piano Quintet. Karel Husa was also his teacher as was Ginastera. He has had two residencies at the MacDowell Colony. Ross founded the Charlottesville University and Community Orchestra and was its conductor for two years. His choral works include Lux Aeterna to honour the victims of 9/11. This has been performed at Ground Zero. He has a real predilection for concertos of which his roster includes ones for clarinet, trombone, tuba, double bass and violin. 
The present concerto collection serves to assure us that if he can be placed in any school he is a tonal, life-enhancing and dynamic lyricist. Add to this an evidently fine ear for timbres, instrumental meld and rhythmic strata.
 
The Concerto for Flute and Guitar is a carefree piece, able to draw on the sort of stirring pulse you find in a Walton march or a Copland hoe-down. He sets time aside for pastoral musing in the work’s Adagio con elegiaca
The Oboe d'Amore Concerto was written for Jennifer Paul, whose Amoris imprint helps revive the fortunes of this rather marginalised instrument. The music is in a smooth, leafy-tonal idiom. It might almost be a marriage of RVW 's Oboe Concerto and The Lark Ascending. There is an especially poignant Andante amabile and a toe-tapping and entwining Adagio animato.
 
The Bassoon Concerto again displays his gift for fast-paced attractive writing both for orchestra and soloist. In the Adagio pastorale he does what it says on the can and treads that the line between evolutionary languor and forward motion. The racing finale again reminds us that Ross might perhaps also have been influenced by that master of the compact concerto, Malcolm Arnold.
 
We start with a poetic yet lively Double concerto and we also end with one. This one is for oboe, harp and strings. It kicks the trend by starting with a warmly hazy Lento carezzando which again suggests Anglophile sympathies. The fast pattering mercury-winged Festivo again had me thinking of Arnold. We end with an Adagio patetica e Impetuoso. The first element of the finale provides an enchanting symmetry with the first movement. Those dreamy horizons and heat-hazed fields at times give way to the devil-may-care quick-time serenading of the two solo instruments.
 
The insert booklet is pretty good but what a shame about the lack of dates for these works, though this information can be found on this website.
 
Ross's music is well worth seeking out especially if you have a taste for new intelligent melodic-dynamic music.
 
Rob Barnett

Experience Classicsonline