, October 2012
…I’ve been eagerly awaiting this release, devoted entirely to Kurka’s work. It’s fabulous…Kurka was a major talent, and thankfully he lived long enough to produce a respectable quantity of top quality work…The four works gathered here, two world-premiere recordings and one CD first, also reveal Kurka to be an artist of wide expressive range.
Julius Caesar, subtitled “Symphonic Epilogue after Shakespeare”, is a brief…tone poem bustling with ear-catching incident, characterful tunes and motives, and some highly colorful scoring…The Serenade for Small Orchestra in reality is a symphony in four brief but nonetheless substantial movements. Here the composer’s neoclassical style is firmly in place, with three witty swift parts embracing an impressively expressive adagio.
This brings us back to the glorious Second Symphony…Conductor Carlos Kalmar’s performance is sufficiently different from David Alan Miller’s on Albany…In particular Kalmar takes an extra minute over the first movement, which renders its lyrical passages more eloquent and its rhythms clearer…like all great music the contrast merely enhances our appreciation of the composer’s expressive intentions. Timings are virtually identical in the slow movement and finale, the latter movement still impressing me as among the best six-and-a-half minutes of music by anyone.
In all four works the Grant Park Orchestra plays amazingly well, especially considering the unfamiliarity of the repertoire and the fact that Kurka’s orchestration is all muscle, with no fat at all. The strings in particular phrase with impressive rhythmic unanimity. © 2012 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review