by Robert Kurka -
Robert Kurka's promising career was cut short when he died of leukemia in 1957 at the age of 35. His strongly tonal music incorporates the most accessible elements of the best known American and Russian composers of the first half of the 20th century. Barber and Prokofiev are especially clear influences, but his music often pulses with a muscular drive that was beginning to give him a voice of his own.
Julius Caesar, Symphonic Epilogue after Shakespeare has an overture-like length and texture that make it a good start to the program. It summarizes the composer's strengths -- clearly stated melodies, expert development, effective orchestration and strong rhythms. The piece is appropriately dramatic, though it may suggest the American West more than Imperial Rome
[listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:10].
Copyright © 18 September 2005
Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA