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<<  -- 2 --  Ron Bierman    DRAMATICALLY AGGRESSIVE


The Second Symphony is the star of the release. It's in three movements. Oddly enough the first theme of the opening sonata-form shares a noticeable rhythmic pattern with the Symphonic Epilogue that precedes it [listen -- track 2, 0:00-1:25], but the melodies and orchestral colors are even more effective. The rousing first movement is followed by a bitter-sweet interlude. Rhythmic kettle and snare drums add an unsettling military edge to the otherwise quiet, contemplative mood. The finale, with an occasional near-quote of Prokofiev's fifth, is hugely entertaining. It is an ebullient outburst that shows the composer at his best [listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:19].

Music for Orchestra is the earliest work here, and the least effective. It does further demonstrate Kurka's dramatically aggressive style, this time in the vein of astringent Stravinsky, but emphatic timpani and brass are sometimes bombastic rather than compelling.

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Copyright © 18 September 2005 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


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