KENNETH FUCHS (b.1956): Piano Concerto “Spiritualist” (Jeffrey Biegel [piano]), Glacier for Electric Guitar and Orchestra (D.J. Sparr [guitar]), Rush for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (Timothy McAllister [sax]), Poems of Life for Countertenor And Orchestra (Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen [countertenor]).
Catalogue Number: 09U067
Description: Fuchs' music is tonal and readily accessible, full of expressive warmth and original orchestral colors. The Piano Concerto takes its inspiration from three canvases by American Abstract Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler, whose simple color field-like blocks of warm hues often suggest landscape ('Silent Wish' which gives the slow movement its title is the CD cover illustration). Fuchs uses traditional forms - sonata form, rondo - in a neo-romantic virtuoso vehicle with optimistic, breezy outer movements featuring jazzy syncopations, and a reflective slow one. Glacier uses the expressive capabilities of the electric guitar and its augmented sonorities as a relatively conventional solo instrument in five evocative movements in response to the landscapes of Glacier National Park in Montana. The work is based on a motif in jazz harmony and a lyrical melodic theme; not infrequently one thinks of the outdoorsiness of Copland, and although the solo instrument is used virtuosically it is only in its cadenzas that its rock associations come to the fore. The alto saxophone concerto has two movements; a relaxed, sultry bluesy rhapsody and a jazz-inflected passacaglia. Poems of Life has in common with Spiritualist the clear, uncluttered imagery of its inspiration, here Judith G. Wolf's poetry. In simple, unaffected language a cycle of death, grief and enlightenment is presented, set to warmly nurturing, neo-romantic music. London Symphony Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta.