Hilltop Diary, October 7, 2022

Deer 2After all that hot heat, a hint of a chill huffs across Hilltop. The deer are descending in multitudes, munching in the meadow on our acorns. Pumpkins are piled in places in our garden, garnered from a rural road. Only please do not put anything pumpkin into my coffee.

In a season of such abundance and alliteration, it feels fitting that Crystal is  rehearsing Cinderella in two shows. The first is Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” (October, Audience of One Productions in Lebanon) and the second is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic “Cinderella” (December, Pull-Tight Players in Franklin). Congratulations, Crystal !!!


Meanwhile, (okay, I’ll drop the alliterations) it has been a productive time on my ballet, titled Raffaella. Once I am in the thick of composing a new piece like this ballet, my emotional focus naturally goes there. I breathe it day and night. In this case, with a big symphony album release in one week, my attentions are somewhat divided.

Mentally, I am grateful about the new album and all the celebration of it, but emotionally, it is the new music that is stuck in my head. Here is the newest demo from the ballet, seven minutes long. I won’t attempt to tell you the story of the scene, but I will say that I set out to write unashamedly tuneful music for ballet audiences, not dark and sophisticated stuff for Modernist intellectuals.


About 30 of the 70 total minutes of ballet music are composed now. It will still take months to complete the composing, and then months more to do all the tedious editing of over 200 pages of conductor’s score and over a thousand pages of players’ parts.

easel front

For the record release party, I had my new album cover printed poster size, 3’ X 4’ so it could serve as a selfie station, dry-mounted on foam core board. Then I screwed together some strips of wood and glued them to the back of the poster as an easel frame. Here are some photos of the front and back. It stands over six feet tall. I have no idea what I will do with this great monstrosity after we use it, though. 

Lots of other planning is underway for the eighty or so expected Nashville guests. A fine Jazz Trio will soon be in town. We will not have any kind of spoken program, just a relaxed cocktail party with catered hors d’oeuvres and a couple of bartenders and lots of music and arts people happily mingling. My choral publisher, CIR, is kindly sponsoring the venue and creating name badges for everyone. I’ll hope to post a few photos here next time.

In my previous post, I mentioned the saga of our refrigerator dying and not yet being fixed or replaced, even though we supposedly have an appliance insurance plan at $50/month. I’m sorry to say it is still not replaced, and for well over two weeks we have been managing between our freezer in the garage and three ice chests. Pretty much a nightmare, but I’m not losing any sleep over it. Another guy is supposed to come today to look at it again. These are the kinds of things we take for granted, aren’t they? Some people in the world never have a fridge or ice for food storage, after all. UPDATE, OCT. 8: The guy came and replaced the thermostat, and now it works! Just like that. Spent two hours cleaning the inside and restocked it from those ice chests. What a relief. 

Parma/ Navona Recordings has a very nice album page up with a whole movement of my symphony streaming for free, biographies, liner notes, etc. Check it out and hear the 2nd movement HERE. Meanwhile, a narrated ad for the album goes online on the release date, October 14, on Spotify for their listeners to see and hear, and Spotify now has a “Michael Kurek Station.”  I’m not worthy! HOWEVER. . . 

#notgettingrich:  Spotify pays a royalty of $0.0004 per stream, or four cents for a hundred streams. After the distributor and the record label keep 3 of those 4 cents, I get one cent, or one dollar for every 10,000 streams, and have received a whopping total of $35. for the roughly 350,000 streams that my last album (The Sea Knows) has so far enjoyed.


On the Hilltop this week I was sitting outside and witnessed a huge, majestic bird of prey, so beautiful I thought it must be an eagle. But some investigation proved it was a red-tailed hawk, native to Tennessee, and it looked exactly like the one in this photo. Wingspan of over two feet, it landed and then took off and floated away, aloft. Breathtaking!!!

Wishing you a great fall and all the pumpkin latte you want (please, drink the stuff).

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