Morton Gould’s “Harvest”: Vibrant Midcentury Americana

Morton Gould (1913-1996) was one of the twentieth century’s most eclectic musical figures.

The American composer, conductor, and pianist produced both “serious” and “popular” music. In his youth, Gould played the piano for films and vaudeville acts. He was hired as the staff pianist for Radio City Music Hall. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, he was a prominent conductor and arranger for numerous radio broadcasts, which included “Cresta Blanca Carnival” and “The Chrysler Hour.” Morton Gould’s music transcends boundaries to include the influences of “jazz, blues, gospel, country-and-western, and folk elements.”

This is what we hear in Harvest, a brief but vibrant piece scored for string orchestra, harp, and vibraphone. Written in 1945, it is music which evokes hardship, rugged adventure, and a celebratory hoedown. Mysterious, shifting autumnal light combines with the wide open harmonies of the frontier.

Recordings

  • Gould: Harvest, David Amos, New Russia Orchestra Amazon

Featured Image: photograph by ForestWander

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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