Length: c. 4 minutes
Orchestration: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, cymbals, snare drum, tam-tam, thunder sheet), and strings
First Los Angeles Philharmonic performance: July 28, 1931, Henry Svedrofsky conducting
A graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, Alexander Mosolov was one of the driving forces on Moscow's new music scene in the 1920s. He earned a reputation as a musical "constructivist" with scores that plumbed the expressive potential of motoric rhythms, jagged melodic lines, percussive attacks, and pungent dissonance.
The Iron Foundry was the introductory episode of a four-movement orchestral suite from a ballet named Steel that was commissioned by the Bolshoi Theater but never staged. Mosolov's Suite received its premiere in 1927 at a concert in Moscow commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Revolution. While the other three movements (titled respectively, "In Prison," "At the Ball," and "On the Square") have been lost, The Iron Foundry, a vivid musical evocation of its subject matter, was an instant hit. It was published three times, taken up by conductors throughout Europe and, in 1936, released on disc in the West. Under the title "The Spirit of the Factory," it scored a huge success at its American premiere - in July 1931 at the Hollywood Bowl - as the music for a dance choreographed by Adolph Bolm.
- Laurel E. Fay is Scholar in Residence for Shadow of Stalin.