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Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, January 2006

One December day, JoAnn Falletta was at Kleinhans Music Hall, rehearsing "Messiah." Falletta, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's music director, came home late that night. And there was an ecstatic message on her answering machine.

The message was from Kenneth Fuchs, whom she had been friends with since their days at the Juilliard School.

He told Falletta, "You're up for a Grammy Award."

The disc that was nominated for a Grammy was a recording Falletta had made of Fuch's music with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Naxos label. The judges had singled out one of the pieces - an ethereal, restful work called "Eventide" - for Best Instrumental Performance With an Orchestra. The producer, Michael Fine, was also nominated for a Grammy for Classical Producer of the Year. . . .

Naxos has emerged as a powerful force in music. The budget price of the discs allows listeners to take chances on music they may not be familiar with. And the maverick label indulges in bold, long-running projects, including a complete Schubert song survey and the "American Classics" series.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will soon be recording its fourth disc for "American Classics," a recording devoted to Aaron Copland. Falletta's Fuchs recording with the London Symphony is also part of the American music series.

Grace E. Merritt
Hartford Courant, January 2006

The producer of a disc of classical music composed by Kenneth Fuchs, head of UConn's music department, and one of the musicians on the disc have been nominated for Grammy Awards. The disc, "An American Place," was produced by Michael Fine, who was nominated for Best Classical Producer and English hornist Thomas Stacy was nominated for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance. For Fuchs, who began composing in high school and devotes many hours after work to his passion, it is a thrilling recognition of his life's work. "It's a real privilege and an honor after all these years of really plugging away. I'm really thrilled we got recognized," said Fuchs, who joined the University of Connecticut faculty in July. . . .

"In our field, a Grammy is a top award," said David G. Woods, dean of UConn's School of Fine Arts. "I think that it is tremendous for the university and particularly for the School of Fine Arts." A native of New Jersey, Fuchs came to UConn from the University of Oklahoma, where he had been director of the school of music. Before that, he had been dean of students and academics at the Manhattan School of Music. Visit to hear a sample from the compact disc.

Bradley Bambarger
Newark Star-Ledger, November 2005

Tennstedt recorded a two-disc set of orchestral Wagner with the Berlin Philharmonic for EMI, but overly broad tempos enervated the music. This Wagner CD, with the London Philharmonic, documents a top-form 1992 concert, with the Royal Albert Hall's reverberation adding to the epic effect. Moreover, the live vibe adds an impetus missing from the Berlin set. As with the stunning 1990 Beethoven Fifth on one of Tennstedt's BBC discs, this Wagner shows that the energy of a great night can be bottled.

Tennstedt kept the tension taut enough to send shivers in this concert, although the "Meistersinger" Prelude still feels as grandly spacious as an old German castle. "Siegfried's Funeral Music" from "Götterdämmerung" fully evokes a long, dark ride over the river Styx, and even "The Ride of the Valkyries" sounds fresh. A stray cough and squeak aside, this well-recorded disc is one of the best from the LPO's new in-house imprint . . .

Victor Carr, Jr., November 2005

Kenneth Fuchs' An American Place is a bright, big-hearted, neo-romantic work in the style of John Adams' Harmonielehre. Adams' finale is an unmistakable influence as both works open with motor rhythms chugging along in the strings while woodwinds and high percussion chirp and tingle above as the music builds to a spirit-lifting sunrise. Fuchs pretty much goes his own way from there as the piece travels through a series of engaging episodes--some featuring wonderful brass writing--and closes in a similar atmosphere to its opening. Eventide is a concerto for English horn, harp, percussion, and strings inspired by Negro spirituals such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Mary Had a Baby", though Fuchs does not quote them directly, at least not in a manner that's easily recognizable. The work is reminiscent of the pastoral mood-music of Vaughan Williams, though the English horn writing occasionally brings to mind jazz saxophonist Kenny G--a tribute perhaps to the free spirited, highly virtuosic playing of soloist Thomas Stacy.

The pleasantries end with Out of the Dark, which is a set of three pieces based on works by expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler. Heart of November begins in thorny string paroxysms, while Out of the Dark moves somewhat away from the gnarly harmonies of the previous piece. Summer Banner gradually reintroduces consonance, and the work ends in a blissful, subdued atmosphere (with fine solo work by hornist Timothy Jones). Jo Ann Falletta leads first-rate performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, captured in excellent sound--another fine addition to Naxos' American Classics series.

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