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Kenneth Fuchs (b.1956): Falling Man; Movie House; Songs of Innocence and of Experience / Roderick Williams, baritone

Album Summary

>Fuchs, Kenneth : Falling Man, scene for baritone & orchestra
>Fuchs, Kenneth : Movie House, for baritone & chamber ensemble
>Fuchs, Kenneth : Songs of Innocence and of Experience, for baritone, flute, oboe, cello & harp
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Kenneth Fuchs, one of America's leading composers, deepens his bond with conductor JoAnn Falletta and the London Symphony Orchestra with this superb recording of vocal music featuring baritone Roderick Williams. The new works include Falling Man, a dramatic scena based on the powerful post-9/11 novel by Don DeLillo; Movie House, a cycle featuring settings of seven poems by John Updike; and Songs of Innocence and of Experience, four settings from William Blake's iconic two-part illustrated collection of poems. Fuchs's music continues to find its visual counterpart in the work of Abstract Expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler, whose art adorns the cover of this disc.

Expedition Audio Recommended
This disc is well worth owning for the music and the works show off the best in contemporary classical music. Williams is an outstanding baritone and we are lucky to hear him on these works. This release was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in 2013. The sound quality of the disc, as on most Naxos issues, is outstanding. I hope that Fuchs continues to compose such interesting and wonderful music in the future. read more

American Record Guide, January/February 2015
Kenneth Fuchs (b. 1956) studied with Babbitt, Diamond, and Persichetti and got his DMA in composition from Juilliard. Falling Man (2009- 10) is a "dramatic scena for baritone voice and orchestra" and uses texts from Dom DeLillo's 2007 novel of the same name about the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. Fuchs uses a falling 12-tone theme as the musical seed. His scoring in all these pieces is often evocative and always tasteful. Williams is appealing and his diction superb - you almost don't need the texts - but his emotional connection to the words is stunted. Movie House, a long cycle of John Updike poems from 2007, is better. It's written for baritone, flute, oboe, clarinet, string trio, and harp; and the instrumental parts have more personality. Songs of Innocence and Experience ('The Lamb', 'Holy Thursday', 'Spring', and 'The Tyger') is from 1977 and sounds almost the same as the pieces composed 30 years later.



Reviews

Excellent Addition to Series
This release is the fourth such collaboration between Kenneth Fuchs and JoAnn Falletta -- and it's of the same high quality as the other three (see my review of Atlantic Riband). This time around, Falletta and the London Symphony Orchestra present three Fuchs works for baritone and chamber orchestra.

Roderick Williams is the baritone soloist, and he has a warm, rich voice that is supple and expressive. And that's a good thing, because each of these works has it's own character and mood.

Falling Man is inspired by Don DeLillo's novel about 9/11. At times, the work is unsettled and chaotic, echoing the emotions of the original event. Fuchs sets some of the text in an atonal declamatory style that detaches the narrator from the action. But that detachment doesn't last. There are hints of jazz in this work, as well as a quiet, contemplative section towards the end that draws in the listener.

Kenneth Fuchs is a great admirer of John Updike, and his work Movie House sets seven of Updike's poems to music. To me, this set had a very American sound, almost as if Fuchs had used Copland as a starting point. That's not to say Movie House is derivative -- far from it. Fuchs is inspired by his material and his music responds to Updike's imagery, providing emotional context for the words.

William Blake's poems, which are set in Songs of Innocence and of Experience are perhaps the most familiar to most listeners. And yet Fuchs gives them a fresh interpretation. The settings are quite beautiful, each song a charming miniature to be enjoyed.

If you've enjoyed this series to date, you'll not be disappointed with Falling Man.
Submitted on 08/29/14 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Fuchs, Kenneth : Falling Man, scene for baritone & orchestra
  • Performer: Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: JoAnn Falletta
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Running Time: 17 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2009-2010

>Fuchs, Kenneth : Movie House, for baritone & chamber ensemble
  • Performer: Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: JoAnn Falletta
  • Running Time: 32 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Fuchs, Kenneth : Songs of Innocence and of Experience, for baritone, flute, oboe, cello & harp
  • Performer: Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: JoAnn Falletta
  • Running Time: 8 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1977