Scope and arrangement
The Robert Kurka papers, dating from 1941 to 1982, hold scores, correspondence, clippings, books, and a professional journal. The papers are in two divisions: scores and professional files.
The scores, which date from 1942 to 1957, hold about 40 of Kurka's compositions, unfinished compositions, and sketches, mainly in the form of manuscripts and manuscript reproductions. They include the operatic version of The Good Soldier Schweik (1957); three symphonies; four string quartets; sonatas or concerti for solo instruments and piano, chamber group, or orchestra; and a few choral works. Some have parts and piano reductions in addition to full scores. The Good Soldier Schweik has a typescript of the libretto (in a one-act version); the full score manuscript for Act II; and a published piano-vocal score of the entire opera, with annotations.
The professional files hold correspondence, clippings, books, and a journal. The correspondence dates from 1947 to 1982, though the bulk is from 1947 to 1957. About half of it is with Kurka's publishers and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); this correspondence also includes contracts and royalty statements. Other correspondence is with presenters, funders, and orchestras regarding performances of Kurka's work, and with the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Edward MacDowell Association concerning his fellowships. A small set of letters document Kurka's teaching engagements. Correspondents include the Paderewski Fund, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Ravinia Festival, the Oklahoma City Symphony, Sarah Lawrence College, and Harvard University. Correspondence dating from after Kurka's death is with his widow, May Kurka.
The clippings date from 1946 to 1957, and are arranged chronologically. They document performances and criticism of Kurka's music. Many have programs attached to them, and a few have correspondence from friends or colleagues as well. The professional journal (titled Journal of Musical Events) logs the performances of Kurka's music from 1941 to 1957.
The books consist of two copies of the novel The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schweik in the World War, by Jaroslav Hašek (one in English and one in Czech). They contain notes from Kurka regarding the composition of The Good Soldier Schweik.
The papers are arranged in two divisions: scores and professional files. The scores are arranged alphabetically, and the professional files by document type.