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Friday, February 24, 2012

American Masters: Douglas Moore & Marion Bauer

Well, I am back to working on my blog again. No promises, but I hope to post a new out of print recording at least every two weeks. Time will tell. Enjoy the latest recording below!

Liner Notes:
CRI 101, the first record put out by Composers Recordings, Inc., consisted of Farm Journal by Douglas Moore (one of CRI's co-founders), and two works for string orchestra by Marion Bauer.

Douglas Moore and Marion Bauer had very different backgrounds and though their music is not, on the surface, very much alike, in fact,they had a lot in common. Born in the last decades of the century of romantic music, they both had distinguished careers as composers,writers and educators. They were trained in France and helped to shift the focus of American musical culture away from the heavy German influence that had been dominant for so long. And both represented moderate, eclectic views about music and musical expression in a scene often dominated by the sometimes shrill, opposing voices of experimentalism, neo-classicism, and expressionism.

Douglas Stuart Moore, the more popular and the more populist of the two, came by his penchant for Americana very naturally. He was born, on August 10, 1893, in the colonial hamlet of Cutchogue in Southold Town, on the North Fork of Long Island, New York.Cutchogue's seventeenth-century heritage can still be seen in some of the oldest remaining domestic architecture in the United States and the settlement is still surrounded, as it was in 1893, by farms (the major difference is that wine grapes have replaced potatoes as the major crop). On his father's side, the composer was in the direct line of Thomas Moore who sailed from Connecticut in 1640 to foundSouthold Township; on his mother'sside, he was descended from both Miles Standish and John Alden. All his life, he maintained, as his permanent residence, the house in which he was born. He died in neighboring Greenport on July 25, 1969.

Although it was not unusual for a well-brought young man in 19th century New England and New York to play the piano and dabble in music, a full-fledged musical career was usually considered out of the question. But Moore was consistently encouraged by his teachers and, after long hesitation, took the plunge. He studied at the Hotchkiss School, Yale (with Horatio Parker, who was also Charles Ives' teacher) and, after a World War I stint in the navy, with Vincent d'Indy and Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

In 1921, he was appointed director of musical activities at the Art Museumin Cleveland where he continued his composition studies with Ernst Bloch. Four years later he returned to New York, started writing music for the American Laboratory Theater, and began his long association with Columbia University where he headed the music department for many years before his retirement in 1962. He was the author of two widely known music appreciation books and served as president of both the National Institute and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It was in the autumn of 1954 that he co-founded Composers Recordings, with the composer Otto Luening also of Columbia University and the arts administrator Oliver Daniel.

Moore's musical style—simple and direct, often to the point of homespun—is almost entirely organized around his gift for melody. Not surprisingly, he is best known for his twelve operas, notably The Devil and Daniel Webster (1938) which he wrote with Steven Vincent Benet, Giants in theEarth (1949) with E. R. lvag and which earned the 1951 Pulitzer Prize, and The Ballad of Baby Doe (1956) with John Latouche, perhaps the most performed American opera after Porgy and Bess and the work which launched Beverly Sills' career, and his final opera Carry Nation (1966). But the orchestra—chamber and symphonic—was also an important medium for him and his catalogue includes two symphonies and a number of suites and tone poems, many of them evoking American themes: P. T. Barnum, Moby Dick, Babbitt (later retitled Overture on an American Tune), Village Music, Down East.

It is certainly fitting that CRI's first release included music by one of the most important American women composers. Marion Eugenie Bauer was born in WallaWalla, Washington, on August 15, 15,1887. She studied in Portland, Oregon, in New York and in France where she is thought to have been Nadia Boulanger's first American pupil. Beginning in 1919, she became part of a group of composers who regularly summered at the MacDowell Colony and which included a number of notable women, among them being Amy Beach, Mabel Daniels, Miriam Gideon and Ruth Crawford. Bauer began her long and distinguished teaching career in 1926 at New York University where she remained until her retirement in 1951; she also taught at Juilliard and lectured at the Chatauqua Institute in western New York and elsewhere. She helped to organize the American Music Guild and the League of Composers, served as music critic for the
Evening Mail and Musical Leader, and was the author or co-author of a number of important articles and books, most notably, her Twentieth-Century Music, long a standard reference. In the 1920s, she was described as "a radical member of the musical left wing," but by the1940s her music was being described as a "middle-of-the-road impressionist." Neither view does justice to the range and accessibility of her works. She died in South Hadley,Massachusetts, on August 9, 1955.


F. Charles Adler Conductor
Alfredo Antonini Conductor
Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra Orchestra
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra Orchestra
Eric Salzman Liner Notes
William Strickland Conductor
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Orchestra

Track Listing:

Douglas Moore (1893-1969)

  1. I.  Up Early
  2. II. Sunday Clothes
  3. III. Lamp Light
  4. IV. Harvest Song
  1. I.  Grand March (2:08)
  2. II. Polka (1:29)
  3. III. Waltz (3:35)
  4. IV. Gallop (2:01)
  5. V.  Cake Walk (1:56)
  6. VI. Quickstep (2:57)
  1. I.  Andante con moto; Allegro giusto
  2. II. Andante quieto simplice
  3. III. Allegretto
  4. IV. Allegro con spirito
Marion Bauer (1887-1955)

  1. I.  Prelude
  2. II. Fugue
  1. I.  Prelude
  2. II. Interlude
  3. III. Finale: Fugue
Download links: Enjoy the music, or here.
A used copy of this recording is available at

More recordings of music by Douglas Moore:
More recordings of music by Marion Bauer: