Kenneth Fuchs’ Eventide is a one-movement concerto that highlights the exquisite lyricism of the English horn.
Composed especially for Thomas Stacy, solo English hornist in the New York Philharmonic, Fusch created a work with a highly unique character. A technically challenging piece, Eventide includes the use of multiphonic chords.
A multiphonic is an extended technique on a monophonic musical instrument (one that generally produces only one note at a time) in which several notes are produced at once. This includes wind, reed, and brass instruments, as well as the human voice. Multiphonic-like sounds on string instruments, both bowed and hammered, have also been called multiphonics, for lack of better terminology and scarcity of research. – Wikipedia
The piece is inspired by spiritual songs such as Mary Had a Baby and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. According to Fuchs, “Eventide is inspired by the mysterious quality of sunset glowing through stained-glass windows.”
The piece begins with mellow and delicate passages that create a sense of calm and anticipation, inviting listeners to embrace the tranquillity. Throughout the work, the soloist plays haunting multiphonic chords depicting the strange activity of the creeping darkness.
In the final moments of Eventide, Fuchs produces a declining motion that depicts the sun’s last rays giving way to the enveloping darkness of night. The music achieves a tremendous sense of completion, as though the natural world has reached a peaceful balance.