Hilltop Diary, September 10, 2022

Greetings from Hilltop! If you received an event invitation by e-mail concerning me, kindly do remember to répondez s’il vous plait (“Please reply”) using the link on the attached invitation form, both for a yay or a nay. Nowadays I feel badly inconveniencing you to have to take time to decline an invitation you didn’t ask to receive – sorry about that! But it helps the organizers very much to know either way.

For the above event, we have been fortunate enough to line up the fantastic Chris Saunders Jazz Trio (piano, string bass, and drums). Chris has played with and accompanied many top performers, including Liza Minnelli, Chuck Berry, Lucy Lawless, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, and the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

I broke down and created a Twitter account yesterday, which I have long resisted, but only to publicize my new album to more people than can be reached on Facebook. I won’t be using it very often or offering my opinions on any other topics. If you do want to follow it, though, my address there is @MichaelKurek12.  I don’t know whether “12” means there are eleven other Tweety Birds with my name! I am truly stumped on how to navigate their site and will probably avoid it as much as possible.

Each day I check on Amazon under my name in the music categories, but the pre-order of the new album is still not posted. Perhaps if you try in the next few days, it will be there, since it is a bit overdue now. The album is, however, already available for pre-order HERE.

If you place a pre-order (please do), write me at Mickeykurek@aol.com, and I’ll reply with a link to one of two free bonuses. This is only for PRE orders, paid before the release date of Oct. 14. Bonus 1, for anyone: A three-episode podcast on “The making of…” my symphony. Bonus 2, for those who can read a score: A pdf file of the full (over 200-page) conductor’s score and a podcast about my favorite moments in the orchestration.

My new ballet project got very frustrating for a few weeks, in terms of writer’s block. I just could not compose anything worth keeping! That always happens when I try consciously to think of the music myself. And then, as it has done so many times in my entire life from early childhood, original music I never heard before begins just playing involuntarily in my head. I have to write it down to make it stop torturing me. In this scene of the ballet, I had thought I needed something playful, delicate, and whimsical and had tried over and over in vain to write something in that vein. (Hey, I just used “vain” and “vein” in the same sentence – cool!) But the music that started playing in my head was a love theme. Once I wrote it down, I realized why that makes much better sense for that scene. Here is just the theme in strings only, a little over a minute long, if you’d like to hear it. This theme will be embedded and expanded into longer pieces of music in the ballet.


Crystal’s schedule remains crazy, with school teaching by day and rehearsals for the role of Cinderella in Into the Woods three nights a week. However, her fall break is coming up, and we are very much looking forward to doing some things together: canoeing on the Harpeth, picking apples at an orchard, and antique hunting at antique stores. Before that, she will audition for another upcoming show and attend with me a performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet being directed by a friend.

Now the story of Hamlet is about a young lad who lived in a tiny “hamlet” (a tiny little town) in England. Shakespeare actually “re-imagined” a play by playwright William Cornysh, born a century before, called Village. Oddly, the lead character in Cornysh’s version was also named Village. Shakespeare changed both his version’s title and main character from “Village” to “Hamlet” and set it in his own, more modern, time. Later, playwright Thornton Wilder “re-imagined” the same play set in America in the first decade of the 20th century, and called it “Our Town.”  (And now, assuming you realize that this entire paragraph is false and pure satire, you know why I try to live in the realm of faerie as much as possible.)

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