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Lukas Foss Orchestral Works

Naxos American Classics

Lukas Foss: Symphony No. 1 – Amy Porter, flute; Nikki Chooi, violin; Buffalo Philharmonic/JoAnn Falletta (Naxos 559938)

Lukas Foss was born in Berlin in 1922 (his birth name was Lukas Fuchs). He began studying music in Paris at age eleven, and in 1937, when he was fifteen, settled with his family in Philadelphia, eventually enrolling at the Curtis Institute of Music He studied piano, composition and conducting. Though he freely explored diverse compositional styles, three of the works in this recording fall into his early neo-Classical period and exemplify his dictum that “to have a big foot in the future, you’ve got to have a big foot in the past.” Symphony No. 1 is lyrical, bucolic and subtly jazz-influenced, while Three American Pieces show Aaron Copland’s “open air” influence in music for violin and orchestra. Foss’s Ode (original title: Ode to Those Who Will Not Return) expresses his feelings about the loss of American lives during the Second World War, and Renaissance Concerto is, in the composer’s words, a “handshake across the centuries,” a flute concerto ingeniously spiced with unexpected harmonic twists. These are valuable additions to the Lukas Foss section of WCLV’s library!