Symphony 2(42) was recorded by the National Polish Radio Symphony Katowice / Polish Radio Choir of Krakow, Delta David Gier, conductor and released on New Albion Records (distr. by Naxos). Commissioned by the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mozart's death.
The music conveys a sense of Mozart as visionary artist, striving to pursue creative freedom despite the ultimate costs to his career and health. The final movement incorporates the "Lacrymosa" from Mozart's unfinished Requiem: the last bars of music that he wrote from his deathbed at age 35. For Kievman, this tragic ending becomes a frame of reference for the creative life, with the symphony's four-part structure depicting a metaphorical journey from youth through death, and beyond.
The transcendent final movement continues the journey towards a new psychic and spiritual terrain-or, in the words of the Lachrymosa, an expectation of mankind arising from the ashes on the day of judgment. An ethereal quality pervades the opening, as fragments of the familiar and unfamiliar float in a dreamlike state: echoes from each of the earlier movements and foreshadowing of new themes, accentuated by flutter-tongue playing of the winds and bold glissandi of strings. From the opening bar, these elements are linked by a subtle melodic figure in the bass and violas. a chant·like theme that progresses with the hypnotic steadiness of a train; the fragments develop over the course of its voyage, guided by the inexorable undercurrent of motion. A new melodic theme, somewhat nostalgic yet elegant, is first introduced by cellos and presented in ever longer appearances, as echoes of Mozart are continually asserted by various instruments. Interruptions by the harp, and later by tubular bells and vibraphone, suggest the heavenly nature of the destination.
A striking of timpani signals the sublime entrance of the chorus, emerging angelically from the instrumental fabric. The music then undergoes a gradual and organic transformation towards the Lachrymosa, as if summoned by the strengthening upward pull of choral voices. The developing lyricism is obscured by expressionistic surges -the metallic rhythm of timpani and tenor drums being played on their sides, or flaring interruptions of brass and orchestra. After a muted trumpet sounds the secondary theme for the last time, a new rhythmic transition appears in the marimba and vibraphone; no longer resisting the inevitable, the music is led to its destination by a delicate choral ascent.
From the midst of modernist techniques, Mozart's 18th-century theme arrives with an aura of otherworldly clarity and purity. The fatalism, sadness, and fear of earlier movements have yielded to the expression transcribed by Mozart at his own moment of death, reassuring and expectant. From this brief plateau of eight bars, Kievman carries forward the rising notes of the Lachrymosa in a beautiful and majestic ascent. The spiritual intuition is developed seamlessly, free now of worldly constraints, as if Mozart could suddenly experience the motion of time in an accelerated vision. Mozart's classical theme goes through an historical metamorphosis, from the romantic and chromatic to the modern and postmodern. The chorus and orchestra become gradually more expressive, colorful, and rhythmic, reaching a powerful crescendo; from this summit, the individual voices become more free and complex, resuming the ascent towards a final point of unison, then beyond into infinite silence.