FUCHS, K.: American Place (An) / Eventide / Out of the Dark (JoAnn Falletta/ London Symphony Orchestra/ Thomas Stacy/ Timothy Jones) (Naxos American Classics: 8.559224)
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KENNETH FUCHS (b. 1956)
An American Place Eventide Out of the Dark
Kenneth Fuchs has written for orchestra, band, chorus,jazz ensemble, and various chamber ensembles. Hecreated with playwright Lanford Wilson three chambermusicals presented by Circle Repertory Company in NewYork City. Fuchs served as Director of the School ofMusic at the University of Oklahoma from 1998 throughJune 2005, and the Research Council of the University ofOklahoma and University President David L. Borencontributed substantially to the funding of this recording.
He is Head of the Department of Music and Professor ofComposition at the University of Connecticut. Fuchsreceived his Doctor of Musical Arts degree incomposition from the Juilliard School, where his teachersincluded Milton Babbitt, David Diamond, and VincentPersichetti. The present recording represents theculmination of eighteen years of music composition andcollaboration between Fuchs, Falletta and Stacy,beginning in 1985 when they were colleagues at theJuilliard School in New York City.
An American Place, a nineteen-minute work for fullorchestra in one movement, represents the matureorchestral style of the composer Kenneth Fuchs on agrand scale. \The score", he says, "reflects the palette ofmusical sounds that have developed in the United Statesduring the last hundred years, including popular andclassical elements, and is intended to suggest the richbody of music created by the American symphonists whohave come before me and from whom I continue to takeinspiration. The first section includes many moods, hues,and tempi. It is followed by a fast Finale scherzando,suggesting the brash optimism of the American spirit. Theprincipal musical elements of the entire composition - theintervals of a minor second, major and minor thirds, aperfect fifth, and a minor seventh-emerge at the outsetfrom a hushed orchestral texture." The VirginiaSymphony Orchestra, under the baton of JoAnn Falletta,gave the world premi?¿re performance in March 2005.
Eventide, Concerto for English Horn, Harp,Percussion, and String Orchestra, is the fourth workFuchs has composed especially for Thomas Stacy. A 21-minute work in one movement, Eventide takes its creativeimpulse from the spiritual tunes "Mary Had a Baby" and"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", among others. The musicemerges from a gossamer string texture with the Englishhorn weaving a looping strand of melody. The shape of anoriginal spiritual tune materializes from this texture, andthe work subsequently takes the form of a singlemovementtapestry of fantasy variations based upon thesimple triadic intervals typical of spirituals.
Out of the Dark, Suite for Chamber Orchestra AfterThree Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, was composedin 1984 as a fifteen-minute work in three movements forwind and string quartets with French horn. Fallettaconducted the world premi?¿re performance in January1985, at the Juilliard School. She suggested creating asetting for chamber orchestra and subsequently led theworld premi?¿re of that version with the Denver ChamberOrchestra in November 1986. Out of the Dark representsthe distillation of Fuchs's thinking regarding the use of thetwelve-tone method of musical composition, integratedwith diatonic, minimalist, and serialised musicalelements. It is the first example of his continuing interestin conveying through musical sound and form therelationships between music and the arts of painting,collage, and poetry. When Fuchs lived in New York City,he fell in love with the works of the Abstract Expressionistartist Helen Frankenthaler. "Her large, freewheeling,brilliantly colored canvases," he says, "embodied for methe true spirit of the enterprise. The work is inspired bythree large paintings: Heart of November, Out of the Dark,and Summer Banner [shown on the cover of this booklet].
These canvases and their titles suggest to me aprogression from tension to resolution, and it is thisconcept I have attempted to express in music."Kenneth Fuchs