MusicWeb International
Brian Wilson
September 21, 2015

The recorded repertoire of the music of Lukas Foss remains somewhat small. Much of what there is has been immured in multi-disc collections or features on multi-composer albums or is available only to download. I hope that the fact that the 2008 Harmonia Mundi recording of his Piano Concertos, with Foss himself among the soloists, has fallen into the last category is not an ominous sign for new recordings of his music (HMU907243 – from or Qobuz, both mp3 and lossless – NO booklet).

To the best of my knowledge no recording of the Four Symphonies, composed between 1944 and 1995, has appeared before, at least in the UK catalogue. Now the Boston Music Orchestra Project, have recorded them on a new 2-disc set, directed by Gil Rose, on their own label BMOP/SOUND 1043 [74:10 + 77:14] available to sample, stream or download from Qobuz.

Though Foss played with atonalism and even wrote of his later music that it was as crazy tonally as it had previously been crazily atonal, there’s nothing in these symphonies to frighten off any lover of the classical mainstream from Bach to Stravinsky, both of them influences on Foss. Since he was principally associated with Boston, it’s appropriate that BMOP should have made these authoritative recordings on the eve of their twentieth anniversary.

The downloads reached me as press reviews in wav format, so I cannot comment on the Qobuz downloads, but the wav transfers sound fine. At £11.99, however, Qobuz is both less expensive than the offering from Amazon UK and of higher quality than the latter, which is mp3 only and likely to be at only 256kbs.

Amazon US have these recordings both as a download and as a 2-SACD set. If you missed reviews by John France and myself of the earlier BMOP release of music by Irving Fine, you can find them here and here. My review of their recording of music by Elena Ruehr is here.

We seem to have missed the recording of the Piano Concertos. If anything, they are even more attractive than the symphonies or, at least, a next step if you try the symphonies and like them – check for yourself from Qobuz (sampling only for non-subscribers).