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Good as Gould

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Portrait of Morton Gould from the Morton Gould Papers, Music Division, Library of Congress.

The following is a guest post from Music Archivist Chris Hartten.

Morton Gould delighted American audiences for over seventy years with his impressive array of original symphonic compositions and arrangements. Born in New York in 1913, Gould quickly established himself as a tour de force on the radio and was recognized as one of the most promising and ambitious composers of the 1930s. He parlayed success on the Cresta Blanca Carnival radio show into a lucrative career that spanned almost every genre of American music. From the Broadway hit musical Billion Dollar Baby to Agnes de Mille’s ballet Fall River Legend, Gould was truly a composer and conductor for all occasions. His friendly persona and uncanny ability to produce compositions in mere hours, including the beloved American Salute, made him a legend within ASCAP and an influential public figure throughout the 20th century.

The Music Division is home to the Morton Gould Papers, a collection of holograph music manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and other personal papers of the composer. Notable scores include Spirituals, Apple Waltzes, American Salute, Tap Dance Concerto, The Jogger and the Dinosaur, Ghost Waltzes, and Gould’s Pulitzer Prize winning Stringmusic. Additional notes for several of these compositions, as well as a near-complete catalog of his arrangements, are located among the business papers.

Tap Dance Concerto, 2nd movement, 1952. Composer's holograph score. Morton Gould Papers, Music Division, Library of Congress.

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