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Michael Kaulkin

LETTER TO HUNGARY for string orchestra Instrumentation Violin I (div. in 4) Violin II (div. in 4) Violas (div. In 4) Cellos (div. in 3) Basses (div. in 2) Duration: 15 minutes Letter to Hungary was premiered in Budapest, Hungary in November, 2005, by the Hungarian Chamber Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alberto Santana. The HCSO commissioned the work to open their inaugural “American Composers' Podium”.

Michael Kaulkin (b. 1967) is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory having previously studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. He is active in the San Francisco Bay Area as a teacher and as a composer of works for chorus, orchestra, film and the musical stage. His music has been described as “exceptionally beautiful on many counts.”

Swirly Music Catalog No. SWM-004 Copyright © 2005 Michael Kaulkin Unauthorized photocopying or reproduction of any part of this material is prohibited.


Michael Kaulkin

LETTER TO HUNGARY for string orchestra PROGRAM NOTE Since even before living in Budapest in the early 1990’s, I have loved Hungarian music for its enigmatic melodies and infectious rhythms. With Letter to Hungary I’ve taken the opportunity to explore what can be achieved by mixing these elements with my own style and sensibilities. This is a playful piece, in which Hungarian rhythms and instrumental styles appear unexpectedly and then recede into the background. Although most of the material is original, my hope is that the Hungarian listener will be convinced he or she has heard these tunes before. The emotional core of this 15-minute piece is the well-known folksong Madárka, madárka, in which a little bird is asked to deliver a letter home to the singer’s beloved Hungary. To me, this suggests someone in exile, living outside Hungary against his/her will, and so it’s a song about homesickness. Fragments of the tune are woven into the texture of the plaintive, chorale-like introduction, and it becomes the main focus of the slow middle section. The final minutes consist of a vigorous scherzo that eventually becomes a gentle backdrop for one last majestic statement of the madárka theme, culminating in a wild csárdás coda. Madárka, madárka Csácsogó madárka Vidd el a levelem, Vidd el a level Szép magyar hazámba Ha kérdi, ki küldte, Mondd csak, hogy az küldte Kinek bánatában Szíve fájdalmában Meghasad a szíve — Hungarian folksong

“Dear little bird, please bring this letter to my beloved Homeland. If she asks who sent it, tell her it is from one with a broken heart.” — translation, Michael Kaulkin


Commissioned by the Hungarian Chamber Symphony Orchestra Alberto Santana, Music Director

Letter To Hungary Adagio

Michael Kaulkin (2005)

con sord. div.in 3 Violin I pp con sord. div.

Violin II pp

Viola

Violoncello

Contrabass

7 Vln. I pp

mp

Vln. II pp

p div.

con sord.

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div.

Cb. p

13 Vln. I mf

p

Vln. II mf

p unis. Vla. p

mf

Vc. p

mp

mf

Cb. p Copyright Š 2005 Swirly Music (ASCAP) San Francisco, California International Copyright Secured. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited by Federal Law and subject to criminal prosecution.

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ff San Francisco October 28, 2005

SWM-004 (rev. Oct. 2006)



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