Hilltop Diary, April 5, 2020

As with so many of you, we remain home-bound as instructed by the powers that be, for the good of all. And it is for the good of us, since Crystal has been fighting some kind of plague, whatever it may be, and I have only had mild symptoms but am pretty much over those now, in any case. We have a good storage of food and supplies for the duration.

This past Friday, April 3, 2020, I was very happy to talk about my book, The Sound of Beauty, on the nationally syndicated radio program “Kresta in the Afternoon”.

Teaching has continued online for both of us, with my classwork submitted by e-mail and private composition lessons conducted by phone. There are really only two weeks left before the last day of classes on April 20, anyway, and neither of my classes have a final exam, anyway. And then I’m done forever, strange to say. This has been my final semester of school before taking my early retirement, of my own choice, from Vanderbilt, in order to devote myself entirely to my work composing, and lately also as an author. It is a blessing that I can afford to do so, financially. But it is a strange last semester! No graduation ceremonies for the poor seniors. I was to be feted during graduation days at receptions and parties for professors “emeritus”, of which I will soon be one, but the reception will still be given for me at Ingram Hall on campus at 3:30-5 on Thursday, September 3.

The new book has certainly prospered as the result of our quarantine. I have now completed 61,400 words (already book length), or ¾ of the manuscript. As I may have indicated here earlier, the title of the book matches the title of my new Symphony, “Tales from the Realm of Faerie,” and they are closely linked, in that the book is inspired by the music (not the other way around) and refers to the music several times. They may use the same cover art. Parma Recordings plans to sell the CD and book together as a bundle. Since the book follows the music, I have only been able to write ¾ of it, so far, because I have not yet composed the last (fourth) movement of the symphony! So now I turn to composing that and will then come back and write the last section of the book. We have the recording dates set up for next year. These kinds of things have a long lead time, because of the logistics of scheduling a full symphony orchestra, recording engineers, halls, microphones, etc. Don’t look for the CD release till perhaps summer of 2021.

Meanwhile, Parma’s art department has already been at work!  What follows are images to show you the three stages of cover design for the new CD.  First, they ask me to suggest a concept I would like for the cover art, and I sent them this, which I had made myself using an image from the internet (but knowing that image cannot be used by us):

Kurek Cover Art Sample

Next, they sent a “first round” of their own cover designs, with two choices:

First drafts of cover art

I indicated that I love their first one (the one closer to my submission), but theirs has too many white dots, which are mostly too small, so they look more like snow than like fairy orbs.  So they came back with this really beautiful “second round” cover, which I really love – beautiful, and this will be the final cover art:

Half-size Final Cover Art

Everything is in bloom here, finally, with some nice, sunny days and many of our bulbs in bloom. I’ll wait till next time to post some photos.  We are wishing you a healthy and happy spring and Easter season!

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