"Morton Gould’s music has not lacked for champions (curiously enough one was the great Greek maestro and advocate of ’difficult’ 20th century music, Dimitri Mitropoulos), though in recent years it seems to be experiencing the inevitable oblivion that almost always overtakes the work of a recently deceased (1996) ’popular’ composer. I have no doubt, however, that Gould’s name will endure. There’s simply too much brilliance and craft in virtually everything that he touched, and if his somewhat defiant listenability and ingratiating ’crossover’ idiom irritates the self-proclaimed cultural tastemakers, then more power to him...All of the works here are based to greater or lesser degree on pre-existing songs or folk tunes, though Gould often goes farther in his adaptations than, say, Respighi did in Ancient Airs and Dances, or Stravinsky in Pulcinella. It’s great to have the complete Foster Gallery available on one disc; all previous versions still in print consist only of excerpts from this witty, affectionate tribute to America’s great 19th century popular songwriter, and Theodore Kuchar’s performance is terrific. American Ballads and the famous American Salute (a.k.a. "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again") exist in competing versions--the Ballads on a wonderful Albany CD conducted by Kenneth Klein--and while Klein’s London Philharmonic has more pizzazz than Kuchar’s Ukrainian band, the differences aren’t great enough to preclude a recommendation. Both performances are excellent, and the couplings are completely different: the Albany disc includes Spirituals for Strings and the American Symphonette No. 2, among other things. This handsomely played, brightly recorded disc offers genuine, quality fun from beginning to end. Hopefully there’s more Gould on the way. It’s time."
David Hurwitz - ClassicsToday.com - July 2000
"The three works on this record all display Morton Gould’s penchant for adopting quintessential American themes, transforming them into his own instantly recognizable style. The mysterious variations on ’Taps’ and the nobility in Gould’s treatment of ’We Shall Overcome’ that are part of the American Ballads mark this as one the composer’s most telling creations. The Foster Gallery is lighter in tone, incorporating the melodies of Stephen Foster in an imaginative, wholly ingratiating manner."
Mark Koldys - American Record Guide - December 2000
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