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The Serenade for Small Orchestra is much closer to the symphony in its effect. It is in four well-paced, contrasting movements. Kurka took its inspiration from the poetry of Whitman. The work begins with an allegro molto featuring that wonderful, springy muscularity that characterizes much of his faster music. A short, moody Adagio precedes an athletic and forceful III. The serenade's finale picks up where III leaves off, but with a joyous feeling that brings the program to a satisfying conclusion [listen -- track 9, 4:07-5:20].

Though not well known, The Grant Park Orchestra of Chicago dates back to 1935. It shines here under conductor Carlos Kalmar in performances that do full justice to this fine music. Strongly recommended.

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


Robert Kurka Symphonic Works

CDR 90000 077 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 64'00" 2004 Cedille Records

Grant Park Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Robert Kurka (1921-1957): Julius Caesar, Symphonic Epilogue after Shakespeare Op 28 (1955); Symphony No 2 Op 24 (1953); Music for Orchestra Op 11 (1949); Serenade for Small Orchestra Op 25 (1954)


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