Fuchs: Serenade Nos. 3 & 4 & 5 For String Orchestra
Cologne Chamber Orchestra
Christian Ludwig, conductor
Naxos completes its survey of Fuchs' Serenades with this release (the first two were released last year
with the same performers). It's a collection well worth owning.
Robert Fuchs is
perhaps best remembered as a composition teacher. His impressive list of
pupils include Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolf, Erich Korngold, Jean Sibelius
and other major composer who defined the post-romantic scene of the
early 20th Century. During his lifetime, though, he was also highly
regarded as a composer. These works attest to his skill.
By definition, a serenade is a fairly light work, and all three of these
compositions have that spirit. They're short, amiable compositions that
present their attractive melodies in a straight-forward manner. That's
not to say they're simple works. Fuchs uses a rich harmonic language
that provides subtle emotional inflections. Chromatic relationships help
the music glide smoothly from one idea to the other, all the while
sounding like an organic whole.
To my ears, the serenades reminded me somewhat of Elgar's Serenade for Strings,
which was written around the same time. The Cologne Chamber Orchestra,
under the direction of Christian Ludwig plays with a light touch, which
brings these serenades to life. Brahms liked Fuchs' music very much. I