Symphony No 2: Tales from the Realm of Faerie
by Michael Kurek
PROGRAM NOTE: This symphony’s subtitle, “Tales from the Realm of Faerie,” (“Faerie” being the archaic term for Fairyland) calls forth in my own imagination a kind of rich musical tapestry intertwining all the colors and scenes of many fairytale worlds I have loved. I conceived the work as a fantasia of fairytale impressions in sound, spinning out like golden threads from a magical, musical spinning wheel. I have no particular fairy story in mind but rather hope that childlike ears might simply lose themselves in this world, as would a child hearing fairytales being read aloud – in swashbuckling fanfares, love themes, pointillist fairy dust, the surprising appearance of an evil sorcerer, music for a grand ball at a castle, or anything else one might wish to imagine from one’s own storehouse of fantastical dreams, whether concrete or completely abstract.
However cinematic such images might sound, this symphony remains classical in its technique, with large-scale traditional forms, various contrapuntal textures, classic voice leading, developmental sections, and modulating key schemes reminiscent of the late Romantic and especially early twentieth-century symphonists. Beyond fairytale imagery on the surface, I hoped to capture the deeper spirit or tone of unspoiled beauty, innocence, nobility, heroic goodness, and hopefulness associated with that literary genre.
The first movement is in sonata form. The main themes of the second movement are in an ABA ternary design, but with each part preceded by the same (though varied) introductory music. Movement three is also in an ABA design, with a quicksilver scherzo in the outer parts framing a two-themed grand ballroom waltz part in the center. Movement four has a unique form that is like a large rondo but with an altered design, ABACBAC instead of the standard ABACABA, with four transitional sections connecting five of the parts.
Navona Records presents Michael Kurek’s SYMPHONY NO. 2: TALES FROM THE REALM OF FAERIE, a rich musical tapestry intertwining the colors and characteristics of many fantastical worlds the composer has entered and loved. Performed by the European Recording Orchestra, a certain spirit of unspoiled beauty, innocence, nobility, hope, and heroic goodness stretches across four movements, each giving the listener creative control of the worlds they conjure. With a well-balanced lineage of traditional compositional techniques running throughout his symphony and other works for choir to follow, Kurek presents a dynamic assortment of work that keeps the spirit and heritage of classical music alive.
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