As narrator Deems Taylor humorously notes, Grofe reverses the order of the structures in question, first describing the Perisphere (after a superbly scored mysterioso start which establishes the main themes), then going on to the Trylon, which is where the work gets very rousing. Not just rousing, but hang-on-to-your-seat rousing. Oh, and in the third movement (which almost imperceptibly flows from the second) we hear the ascending chromatic note patterns that later appeared in Grofe's 1950 Rocketship X-M score--and then, two years later, in his Valley of the Sun Suite.
The CD liner notes describe the Trylon and Perisphere as the "two structural symbols of the (1939-40) fair; the Trylon was a 7-foot-high obelisk, and the Perisphere a 200-foot-wide ball-like structure." Like so:
Yup, those things. The structures no longer exist, though the Unisphere from the 1964 Fair still stands, and I saw it during my one trip to New York, back around 1985. I was on a bus, and, suddenly, there it was, and it didn't look as epic as I would have thought. But this was before it was restored, and I do recall it definitely seemed in need of repair and a good shine job. Restored to its original glory and all lit up at night, it must be something to see....
And we can only imagine what an awesome sight the Trylon and Perisphere were. But, thanks to Grofe, we know what they sounded like.
DOWNLOAD: Trylon and Perisphere (Grofe)
Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra. Performed live at Paul Whiteman's eighth (and last) Experiment in Modern Music, Carnegie Hall, Dec. 24, 1938. (Edited) comments by Deems Taylor.