The Valley Of Gwangi:

The Classic Film Music Of Jerome Moross

Composed by: Jerome Moross

Performed by: The City of Prague Philharmonic

Distributed by: Silva Screen Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Jerome Moross began his lifelong journey into music when he began taking piano lessons at age five.  He began composing music by age eight and by age eighteen had graduated New York University’s School of Music while concurrently holding a Julliard conducting fellowship.  Shortly after graduating, Moross gained quite a bit of recognition for his compositions, creating concert pieces, ballets and theatrical music.  From 1948 to 1969, Jerome Moross composed musical scores for sixteen films.  Silva Screen Records have compiled some of these works into an album entitled The Valley of Gwangi: The Classic Film Music of Jerone Moross.

            This compilation, performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic, features a broad spectrum of Moross’ work, offering the listener the opportunity to discover just how diverse Moross’ compositional work truly was.  Films like Wagon Train and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn feature a sweeping musical style filled with horns and strings.  A theme we see often in this set of tracks is that of adventure and innocence as expressed in The Mississippi.  Vastly different from these tracks is Romanza from the dramatic film Five Finger Exercise.  Guilt plays a strong role in this film and is expressed through the haunting, angry music one would expect to find in the soundtrack of a horror film.

            Possibly the most interesting tracks in this album belong to the film The Valley of Gwangi.  The storyline of the film is a western meets science fiction type of theme, featuring cowboys trying to capture dinosaurs for profit.  The storyline is strange to be sure, but the music would have to reflect the plot.  Somehow Moross finds a way to mix western elements with shocking action sequences worthy of a film in the science fiction genre.

            The Valley of Gwangi: The Classic Film Music of Jerome Moross is an enjoyable compilation of music from the golden era of film.  I found it surprising that this compilation would not have any tracks from The Big Country, his most successful film score (earning an Academy Award nomination) and one he is best known for.  However, despite this omission, I found this album to contain a diverse enough collection of musical score as to express to the listener the talent of Jerome Moross as a film composer.  Fans of classic movie music will be proud to add this album to their musical score collection.


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