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
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
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
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
Ross's music is well worth seeking out especially if you have a taste
for new intelligent melodic-dynamic music.