The Lazy

Since it was first performed by legendary star Kaye Ballard in 1954, Lazy Afternoon, from the Moross/Latouche musical the Golden Apple, has been one of the most recorded standards of the American Songbook. Each month we'll highlight 4 of the more than 400 albums by over 200 artists featuring reinterpreted recordings of Lazy Afternoon. You can listen to them on YouTube and buy them online. This month's selection are:

Kama Ruby -
Lazy Afternoon

Barbara Stanzl -
Lazy Afternoon

Jeremy Udden -
Three In Paris

Dick Kress-
The Sax Life of Dick Kress





by Jon Burlingame

Jerome Moross forever changed the sound of Western movies with his classic, Oscar-nominated score for The Big Country in 1958. But he was also an innovator in the musical theater, in ballet and in other musical realms. His Broadway show The Golden Apple was a landmark achievement combining opera with musical comedy; and he consistently surprised critics and audiences alike with his fresh approaches in the worlds of chamber and symphonic music as well.

Born on August 1, 1913, in Brooklyn, he graduated at age 18 from New York University, and in the 1930s was a member of Aaron Copland's Young Composers Group. Yet, as Christopher Palmer points out in his The Composer in Hollywood, Moross, "independently of his friend Copland, sought to develop an authentically American nationalist idiom which was not exclusively jazz-orientated but drew nourishment from a great variety of American folk and popular music cultures: musical comedy, vaudeville, folksong of the Appalachian mountain variety, spirituals, blues, rags and stomps."

For that reason, Moross's music is quintessentially American in richness and flavor. It feels inevitably rooted in American musical traditions. The composer moved back and forth across the continent during the 1940s, '50s and '60s, writing for concerts, radio, theater, and movies whenever Hollywood would call; he orchestrated Copland's scores for Our Town and The North Star, as well as Hugo Friedhofer's Americana-infused score for The Best Years of Our Lives.

Starting in 1948, he began getting film assignments of his own, culminating a decade later in his masterpiece, The Big Country, a sprawling Western directed by William Wyler and starring Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Carroll Baker and Jean Simmons. "For this film," says Mariana Whitmer, executive director of the Society for American Music (and author of a book-length study of the score), "Moross intentionally defied the familiar notions of how a Western should be accompanied and composed an imposing symphonic score that continues to inspire film composers."

Film-music historian John Caps cited "the authentic folk-song quality of the score, intentional and quantifiable," finding the music "rhythmically alive... [containing] that maverick, reckless, runaway pulse" that helped to define it as belonging to the American West. Palmer declared its rhythms "sturdy, muscular, rugged, sprung of the native soil. Moross's musical language – its tunes, its chords, its rhythms, its structure – is basically very simple. It is also personal to Moross."

Moross' score, recognized with an Academy Award nomination, redefined the sound of the Western. "Moross captures the sense of wide-open spaces and the grandeur of the Old West with a style that will be ably assimilated by Elmer Bernstein [and other composers] in the 1960s," adds author Roger Hickman in his book Reel Music: Exploring 100 Years of Film Music. And it brought more offers to Moross, whose other Westerns included The Proud Rebel (1958),The Jayhawkers (1959), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) and the themes for television's popular Wagon Train (1959) and Lancer (1968).

He scored films in other genres, including the thriller The Sharkfighters (1956), the Cinerama travelogue Seven Wonders of the World (1956), the medieval drama The War Lord (1965), the cowboys-versus-dinosaurs fantasy The Valley of Gwangi (1969) and Paul Newman's sensitive drama Rachel, Rachel (1968). But his other magnum opus in film, The Cardinal (1963), was a globe-spanning epic about the Catholic Church that combined reverent themes, Viennese waltzes and, of course, vintage Americana as only Moross could have provided. At director Otto Preminger's insistence, Moross went on location throughout Europe with the film.

But Moross was far from solely a film composer. He was constantly experimenting in every musical genre. His ballet Frankie and Johnny (1938) drew on folk themes; his Ballet Ballads (1948) combined ballet and theater; and his remarkable The Golden Apple (1954) (with librettist and lyricist John Latouche) won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical and, according to reviewers at the time, was nothing short of brilliant. It was a retelling of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey myths set in turn-of-the-century Washington state and anticipated the sung-through musical years before it became popular. Its best-known song is "Lazy Afternoon," introduced by Kaye Ballard and since covered by everyone from Barbra Streisand to Tony Bennett.

He composed his first and only symphony during the war years. As Buffalo Philharmonic conductor JoAnn Falletta recently observed, "Moross used traditional forms... in music that was intrinsically American. Reminiscent of the wide spacing and tonal purity of Copland's works, Moross brings his own accessible humor to the symphonic form." None other than Sir Thomas Beecham conducted the premiere of the symphony in Seattle in 1943.

Moross regularly challenged the status quo: His Gentlemen, Be Seated! received only three performances at New York's City Center Opera in 1963: its review of events during the Civil War, performed as a minstrel show, was too much for critics or audiences to handle as the civil-rights movement was reaching its height. He spent much of his last decade writing chamber music and turning Lucille Fletcher's radio play Sorry, Wrong Number into a one-act opera (1977).

Moross died on July 25, 1983.

Says Whitmer: "He consciously refused to be swayed by popular trends. He turned away from modernist techniques (such as serialism) early in his career and he never looked back. Instead Moross called on the music he heard around him for inspiration, including popular song – he had a great appreciation for Vernon Duke, who he met when he was quite young – and jazz heard in clubs. But Moross also had a vast knowledge and appreciation of classical music. With the exception of his ballet, Frankie and Johnny, Moross never relied on quoting from the American folk repertoire to sound 'American.' Because his music was inspired by American musical idioms, it was intrinsically American."

Moross's career is celebrated in a nationally syndicated two-hour special, Jerome Moross: "The Big Country" and Beyond, produced by the WFMT Radio Network and hosted by Michael Feinstein.


Monday, May. 11, 2020
JERRY STILLER has died at 92.
It was announced today in a tweet by his son, Ben. He will be missed and we pass on our deepest condolences to his children. His credits in theater and film are
long. One credit left out of his New York Times obituary was his role as Mayor Juniper in the 1954 original Broadway show by JEROME MOROSS and JOHN LATOUCHE, THE GOLDEN APPLE. He is shown here in a production still from the GOLDEN APPLE. That's Jerry on the right in a dance sequence. May your life be a blessing. To read more, click here

Friday, Feb. 7, 2020
The War Lord (Blu-ray)
A Medieval drama starring Charlton Heston, The War Lord (1965) is one of the actor's best films, soundtrack by Jerome Moross. It's out on Blu-Ray DVD and reviewed here.

Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2019
With Ninth Album ‘Tet,’ Vocalist Beata Pater Finds a True Sense of Freedom
New album features Moross' Lazy Afternoon
Material includes showtune standards such as “Lazy Afternoon” and “Old Devil Moon,” as well as modern-jazz classics like “Crystal
Silence” by Chick Corea and “Little Sunflower” by Freddie Hubbard, as well as a few entries by Alan Chip White. To read more, click here
To buy, click here

Scores available through Amazon!

GENTLEMEN, BE SEATED! The Musical History of the War Between The States, the Complete Vocal Score is now on sale! Buy it at Amazon.
To buy, click here

70th Anniversary Commemorative Edition
"Ballet Ballads"

composed by Jerome Moross and lyrics by John Latouche
The Original 1948 musical in 4 acts
The Complete Vocal Score
edited by Larry Moore
Forward by Mariana Whitmer
Buy, click here

Monday, Feb. 11, 2019
Even More of My Favorite Movie Score
by Leonard Maltin
Imagine loving a movie soundtrack but never having a chance to hear it all
The most-played score in my collection is Jerome Moross’ evocative, Oscar-
nominated music for The Big Country (1958), William Wyler’s sprawling film starring Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston. To read more, click here

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019
Kaye Ballard, One of the Mothers-in-Law on the 1960s NBC Sitcom, Dies at 93
A whiskey-voiced singer who was the first to record 'Fly Me to the Moon,' the Cleveland native also starred in the movies, on Broadway and in nightclubs.
To read more, click here

Thursday, Sep. 27, 2018
Philip Chaffin to Release Song Cycle from LGBTQ Perspective WILL HE LIKE ME?
PS CLASSICS will release the groundbreaking new recording Philip Chaffin: Will He Like Me? online and in stores November 9, 2018.
Chaffin, the label's co-founder - joined by his husband and producer Tommy Krasker - reimagines the Great American Songbook for the post-marriage-equality era. Will He Like Me?
To read more, click here

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
The Valley of Gwangi

At long last, Intrada presents Jerome Moross' original soundtrack to the Ray Harryhausen fantasy The Valley of Gwangi, thanks to the generous participation of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Moross' opening main title features confident western rhythms that harken back to Moross' score to The Big Country, and yet its powerful solo trumpet speaks both to the film's western nature and to Gwangi himself. Jerome Moross' distinctive Americana musical style was most befitting for a "western" film packed with cowboy heroics.

Friday, October 27, 2017
Review: Words and Shadows

by Howard Pollack
Duke Ellington called John Latouche (the lyricist of “The Golden Apple”) ‘a great American genius . . . a man so imitated today by other people writing shows.’ Brad Leithauser reviews ‘The Ballad of John Latouche’ by Howard Pollack. To read more, click here>>>

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Revisiting Broadway’s forgotten genius

by Howard Pollack
Born into poverty in Richmond, Virginia, John Latouche (1914-1956) even as a youth established himself as bboth a rascal and a genius. To read more, click here>>>

Thursday, June 1, 2017
Village Voice : At City Center, A Too-Brief Concert Staging Revealed The Core Of “The Golden Apple”
After years of requests from diehard fans, City Center’s Encores! finally put up, on May 10–14, a staged concert of the 1954
musical The Golden Apple To read more, click here>>>

Thursday, May 11, 2017
New York Times Theater Review : A Game Effort at Polishing Up ‘The Golden Apple’
To make a cult, it takes a failure. On that count, “The Golden Apple,” a musical retelling of “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” set in Washington State
around 1900, certainly qualifies. To read more, click here>>>

Friday, May 12, 2017
As the cult musical plays Encores! this week, we dig into the roots of Jerome Moross’ score.
Encores! music director Rob Berman explains how
composer Jerome Moross “dug up the American past” in his score for the 1954 musical. To read more, click here>>>

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Daily News :‘The Golden Apple’ shines intermittently at Encores! — theater review
“The Golden Apple” isn’t your garden-variety Broadway musical.
To read more click here>>>

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Playbill : The Cult of John LaTouche’s The Golden Apple and Its Long-Awaited Encores! Debut
The A-gays loved it; McCarthyites loathed it. Find out why the 1954 musical The Golden Apple—opening at Encores! tonight—still entrances.
To read more, click here>>>

Saturday, May 13, 2017
BWW Review : Encores! Serves Up Delicious Mounting of Cult Favorite THE GOLDEN APPLE
In the late-night hours of June, 14, 1994, when hockey's New York Rangers won their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years, there were fans visiting the gravesites of loved ones, armed
with six-packs of beer and radios, to share with long-gone fans a moment they thought they might never live to see. To read more, click here>>>

Friday, May 12, 2017
Deadline Hollywood : Alec Baldwin Segues Smoothly From Trump To Tillerson; ‘Golden Apple’ Revived
Shape-shifting seamlessly from his Saturday Night Live alter-ego as pouty President Trump to Boy Scouts-loving Secretary of State designee Rex Tillerson, Alec Baldwin led an all-star cast
Thursday night in a live performance of testimony from the recent Senate interrogations of four Trump cabinet nominees. To read more, click here>>>

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Time Square Chronicles : The Golden Apple: The Mincemeat Pie that Triggered the Trojan War
The Golden Apple, which debuted on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre back in 1954 was praised back then for its all American
sound and passion (although it only ran for 125 performances). To read more, click here>>>

Saturday, May 6, 2017
BWW TV: Go Inside Rehearsal for Encores!THE GOLDEN APPLE with Lindsay Mendez, Ashley Brown & More!
If you are among the lucky theatergoers to see the limited run of Encores! production of The Golden Apple
opening on May 10 at New York City Center, here is a teaser of what you can expect as you meet the cast and crew. To see the video, click here>>>

Monday, April 17, 2017
Just Announced! The cast of "The Golden Apple" at NY City Center. Opens May 10.
Lindsay Mendez, Ryan Silverman, and More Set for The Golden Apple at Encores!
A number of stage favorites will take part
in the Encores! presentation of The Golden Apple, which will take place May 10–14 at New York City Center. To read more, click here>>>

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Big River, The New Yorkers & The Golden Apple Slated for Encores! 2017.
Encores! upcoming season will begin with Roger Miller’s 1985 retelling of Mark Twain’s classic novel, Big River, on February
8, 2017, followed by Cole Porter’s The New Yorkers. The Golden Apple, John Latouche and Jerome Moross’ whimsical reinvention of Greek epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, is set to close out the series' 24th year. To read more, click here>>>

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
City Center Encores! Announces 2016-17 Season: Long-awaited Golden Apple revival is a highlight of the season.
The Golden Apple, the 1954 musicalization of Homer's The Odyssey (reset in post-Civil War America) that has
attracted a cult following in the years since its original three-month Broadway run, will be featured during recordings on CD and DVD of the past year — hardly comprehensive, but the ones I’ve returned to with unceasing pleasure.
the 2017 season of the Encores! Great American Musical in Concert series at New York City Center. To read more, click here>>>

Friday, January 1, 2016
The 10 Best Sounds In The Classical World In 2015
by Lloyd Schwartz
Here are some of my favorite musical
recordings on CD and DVD of the past year — hardly comprehensive, but the ones I’ve returned to with unceasing pleasure.
To read more, click here>>>

Friday, November 13, 2015
My Dream Encores! Show
Cynthia Nixon on THE GOLDEN APPLE
by New York City Center
Tony and Emmy Award winner Cynthia Nixon has played everyone from Jean Brodie to Eleanor Roosevelt, but the role that got away was Agnes Gooch.
“I’m too old now, but I always really wanted to do Gooch,” she says. “Because if she sings badly, it’s fine, you know?” If the third lead in Mame seems like an unlikely Everest, keep in mind that Nixon is obsessed with musicals. She and Sarah Jessica Parker used to sing showtunes during long nights on the set of “Sex and the City,” and these days she still listens mostly to cast recordings. For her dream Encores! show, Nixon selected The Golden Apple, Jerome Moross and John Latouche’s exquisite, brainy “opera for Broadway,”
To read more, click here>>>

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