Morton Gould tribute packs Carnegie Hall

March 21, 1996|By Allan Kozinn | Allan Kozinn,NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE $$TC

NEW YORK - About 2,000 admirers of the music of Morton Gould filled Carnegie Hall's parquet and the lower two balconies yesterday afternoon to pay tribute to this eclectic composer of symphonic works, Broadway musicals, ballets and film scores.

The program, called "A Celebration of Morton Gould," was presented by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, of which Gould had been president for eight years. Gould died Feb. 21 at age 82.

Gould's successor, Marilyn Bergman, presided over the tribute, a nearly two-hour program that included performances that touched on the enormous range of styles Gould's music encompassed, as well as recollections by friends and colleagues, and videotape of Gould himself.

The composer's family was present, but did not speak, although some of their remembrances were included in an eight-page program book that also included memorials from President Clinton, Van Cliburn, Isaac Stern, Beverly Sills, Jerome Robbins and other musicians and politicians.

The program began with Gould's final work, "Remembrance Day (Soliloquy for a Passing Century)," in a performance by the University of Connecticut Wind Ensemble, for which it was composed.

The ensemble also performed Gould's more ebullient "Fanfare for Freedom," and returned at the end of the program to play two of his most frequently heard works, the "Pavane" from the "American Symphonette" and the "American Salute," Gould's extended set of variations on "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."

Between the wind ensemble's appearances, John Daly Goodwin led members of the New York Choral Society in the sweetly harmonized "Quotations," and Christopher Taylor, the bronze medal winner at the last Van Cliburn competition, played "Ghost Waltzes," a work Gould composed as one of that contest's hurdles.

Lane Alexander was the soloist in the Toccata and Rondo from Gould's "Tap Dance Concerto," and Cy Coleman sang and played "There Must Be Something Better Than Love" from one of Gould's musicals, "Arms and the Girl" (1952).

An earlier musical, "Billion Dollar Baby" (1945), was represented by "Bad Timing," sung by Gould's collaborators on the show, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

And the current of jazz and blues that ran through many of Gould's works was heard in the incendiary piano piece "Boogie-Woogie Etude," played by Marvin Hamlisch and Tedd Joselson, and a movement from "Interplay," performed by Ron Odrich, clarinetist, with Joselson, Bob Litwak on drums and Harvey Swartz on bass.

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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