Symphony No. 2(42) was commissioned by the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra in 1991 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.
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 a 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.
Reviews"Kievman uses a modernist's compositional tools, but he's a late-Romantic at heart .. challenges adventurous listeners without alienating those more traditional tastes." - Miami New Times