JEROME MOROSS (1913 - 1983)
Although not a name well known to audiences today, Jerome Moross was a prolific writer of Broadway musicals and film scores. Best known for his score to the Western The Big Country, he wrote music that was distinctively American and remained tonal and melodic throughout his career. He loved folk-tunes and popular songs of his day, and in his formative years constantly sought out indigenous music influences. Willie the Weeper was one of a triptych of one-act dance cantatas that Moross wrote between 1940 and 1945. The idea of these three Ballet Ballads was to fuse the arts of text, music and dance into a new dramatic unity according to the composer thus none of the works features any spoken dialogue. It describes the dope-fuelled fantasies of a chimney sweep and is based on two folk poems, Willie the Weeper and Cocaine Lil.