About this Recording
8.559224 - FUCHS, K.: American Place (An) / Eventide / Out of the Dark
English  German 

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. He created with playwright Lanford Wilson three chamber musicals presented by Circle Repertory Company in New York City. Fuchs served as Director of the School of Music at the University of Oklahoma from 1998 through June 2005, and the Research Council of the University of Oklahoma and University President David L. Boren contributed substantially to the funding of this recording. He is Head of the Department of Music and Professor of Composition at the University of Connecticut. Fuchs received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the Juilliard School, where his teachers included Milton Babbitt, David Diamond, and Vincent Persichetti. The present recording represents the culmination of eighteen years of music composition and collaboration between Fuchs, Falletta and Stacy, beginning in 1985 when they were colleagues at the Juilliard School in New York City.

An American Place, a nineteen-minute work for full orchestra in one movement, represents the mature orchestral style of the composer Kenneth Fuchs on a grand scale. “The score”, he says, “reflects the palette of musical sounds that have developed in the United States during the last hundred years, including popular and classical elements, and is intended to suggest the rich body of music created by the American symphonists who have come before me and from whom I continue to take inspiration. 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. The principal musical elements of the entire composition – the intervals of a minor second, major and minor thirds, a perfect fifth, and a minor seventh–emerge at the outset from a hushed orchestral texture.” The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of JoAnn Falletta, gave the world première performance in March 2005.

Eventide, Concerto for English Horn, Harp, Percussion, and String Orchestra, is the fourth work Fuchs has composed especially for Thomas Stacy. A 21- minute work in one movement, Eventide takes its creative impulse from the spiritual tunes “Mary Had a Baby” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, among others. The music emerges from a gossamer string texture with the English horn weaving a looping strand of melody. The shape of an original spiritual tune materializes from this texture, and the work subsequently takes the form of a singlemovement tapestry of fantasy variations based upon the simple triadic intervals typical of spirituals.

Out of the Dark, Suite for Chamber Orchestra After Three Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler, was composed in 1984 as a fifteen-minute work in three movements for wind and string quartets with French horn. Falletta conducted the world première performance in January 1985, at the Juilliard School. She suggested creating a setting for chamber orchestra and subsequently led the world première of that version with the Denver Chamber Orchestra in November 1986. Out of the Dark represents the distillation of Fuchs’s thinking regarding the use of the twelve-tone method of musical composition, integrated with diatonic, minimalist, and serialised musical elements. It is the first example of his continuing interest in conveying through musical sound and form the relationships 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 Expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler. “Her large, freewheeling, brilliantly colored canvases,” he says, “embodied for me the true spirit of the enterprise. The work is inspired by three 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 a progression from tension to resolution, and it is this concept I have attempted to express in music.”

Kenneth Fuchs


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