Thursday, April 6, 2017

Kurka, Robert. (1921-1957) Orchestral Works.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
First listen: 31-1-2011.
Second listen: 23-2-2011.
Third listen: 6-4-2017.
Label: Cedille Records.
Recording dates: June 2002 & June 2003.
Recording venue: Orchestra Hall, Chicago, USA.
Recording engineer: Christopher Willis & Bill Maylone.
Running time: 64:00.
Classical relevance to me: Well worth having.

Works performed: 
Julius Caesar, Symphonic Epilogue after Shakespeare, opus 28.
Symphony No. 2, opus 24.
Music for Orchestra, opus 11.
Serenade for small Orchestra, opus 25.

Performed by:
Grant Park Orchestra, Carlos Kalmar.

If you had to define Kurka's musical style I would say: Energetic rhythms, Jazzy influenced syncopations, brilliantly orchestrated with remarkable skill and ingenuity. Kaleidoscopic orchestration, spiky but tonal harmonies, and a knack for moments of great beauty. As a whole his music leaves me unsatisfied in the emotional department. It's all well to write brilliant music, but not fill it with some notes that actually touches your heart, it's no good. Technical satisfaction is guaranteed, one must admire what this composer is trying to elucidate, but I feel a wanting for more depth, instead of skirmishing over the surface, just deep enough to make an impression, but not deep enough to make it lasting.  O, well, it was a good try, but I will not try to get more music of him. He died very young of leukemia. Unfair!
The recording of the first two works is impressive, the rest is State of the Art. As an interpretation of this music, well it hardly could have been done better.



Live organ Concertos in the Netherlands.

Today I attended two organ concertos in the Netherlands. The first concert was in a place called Zandeweer near the Dutch coast, and the org...