Here are videos of the first two movements of Symphony No. 2: “Tales from the Realm of Faerie” by Michael Kurek. (Scroll down to see movement two and then the program note for the symphony.) These videos combine virtual mock-ups of the music with visual images chosen by the composer for your enjoyment, which do not attempt to tell any particular story but perhaps reflect something of the flavor of the music. Feel free to ignore these, as this music is written for the concert hall, to be heard without any visual images. The first movement (12 minutes) is generally heroic in tone, the second (10 minutes) generally loving. Planned to be composed during the summer and fall of 2019, the third movement will be music for a ball at a great fairy-tale castle, and the fourth victorious — for a total length of around 40 minutes for the whole symphony. A pdf file of the score of the first two movements is available upon request.
This symphony’s subtitle, “Tales from the Realm of Faerie,” (“Faerie” being the archaic term for Fairyland) calls forth in my own imagination a kind of rich musical tapestry intertwining all the colors and scenes of many fairy-tale worlds I have entered and loved. Although there is a coherent classical form in the thematic and key structure of each movement, I conceived the orchestration as a fantasia of fairy-tale impressions in sound, spinning out like golden threads from a magical, musical spinning wheel. I have no particular fairy story in mind but rather hope that childlike ears might simply lose themselves in this world, as a child hearing fairy tales being read aloud – in swashbuckling fanfares, love themes, pointillist fairy dust, the surprising appearance of an evil sorcerer, music for a grand ball at a castle, or anything else one might wish to imagine from one’s own storehouse of fairy-tale (or non-fairy-tale) dreams. More than specific images, though, I have tried to capture in music a certain spirit of unspoiled beauty, innocence, nobility, and heroic goodness that I associate with that literary genre, even within the seriousness of the traditional symphony genre. While it is fine if my music is pictorial and narrative enough to evoke “cinematic” comparisons, my true role models are those early 20th-century tonal symphonists of the concert hall like Sibelius and Vaughan-Williams, who were free from the demands of on-screen dialog and scene changes to tell their epic tales in music alone. The first movement is in Sonata form. The main themes of the second movement are in an ABA design, but with each preceded by the same (though varied) introductory/bridge music. (Movements 3 and 4 are still being composed as of this writing, and their notes will be amended here.)
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