Fuchs: Falling Man
Composer Kenneth Fuchs continues his fruitful relationship with conductor JoAnn Falletta and the London Symphony Orchestra on this new disc from Naxos Records. The fifth collaboration between the composer and the conductor features an accessible triad of world premieres, comprised of two 21st century compositions, and a song cycle from 1977.
The opening piece is the title track, "Falling Man." Adapted by J.D. McClatchy from the 2007 novel by Don DeLillo, the text is an excerpt in which a businessman, having just escaped the World Trade Centers on 9/11, struggles to understand this new state of existence. Written for baritone voice and orchestra just five years ago, Fuchs' music expertly conveys the man's experiences during this climactic period in our history. The LSO ably supports Fuchs' work under Falletta's baton through both the fragile accompanying sections and the three instrumental interludes.
The second work is a seven song cycle for baritone voice and chamber ensemble utilizing the poetry of John Updike. Titled "Movie House," Fuchs has painted a cinematic series of songs that wonderfully contribute to his canon. The septet allows a variety of colors to come forth underneath Updike words, and are particularly effective on "Maples in a Spruce Forest," and the first text of the cycle, "Telephone Poles."
The final selection is a relatively short series of four songs, also for baritone voice and chamber ensemble, devised from William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and of Experience."
Roderick Williams is the soloist on all the selections. Williams' performance on "Falling Man," in particular, vividly portrays both the eerie horror and the chaos of that horrific day, as told through DeLillo's novel, while he is in complete control throughout the other two song cycles.
The fascinating Liner Notes contained in the disc are provided by the composer himself, and give insightful information about his process and his interest in the works contained. This is a wonderfully recorded disc that should continue to gain Fuchs the notoriety he so deserves.
Kenneth Fuchs / JoAnn Falletta / London Symphony
CD and digital formats