Like the fascinating Homage segment of After the Rain's (here) Suite for Cello & String Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion and the Rest starts out with the gripping Pensamientos for Solo Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra, a cutting-edge experiment in neoclassicalism strongly rooted in trad manners tossed this way and that with deeply satisfying results, a 13:45 exposition of the sort of unorthodox composition that years ago rescued my then-young ears when I heard jazz cats like Anthony Davis. Up to that point, I was considering eschewing classical music altogether. "But, man," I pondered, "if this dramatic a result can be obtained from all those dead guys, then I need to pay a lot more attention to what Davis and others are rooting in!" This disc should have the exact same effect on newer generations because it's a sunken galleon of immense treasures.
In fact, I'd recommend it to exactly that crowd even before After the Rain because each cut is a touch more vivid than its companion's collected opuses. Hell, even the Mancini interpretation, Two for the Road, is like Blomdahl decided to cool out his 2001, A Space Odyssey cosmicness a bit and slip Mantovani a mellifluous psilocybin extract to see what would happen. More interlude than anything else, it's a transition into Clare's son's (Brent) lullabye, Weekend in Stockholm, blending Satie with Alain Kremski and a sedated Lalo Schifrin.
Following the satisfyingly lengthy cavalade of cuts here, After the Rain would be something of a ramp down, though Music for Strings contains its pools of calm as well. The biggest difference in the two is probably the two solo piano pieces, faintly Cage-ian while Moonlight Sonata-esque but as though wrought by Rachmaninoff (himself a Romantic, though if you listen to the BBC Orchestra's take on Isle of the Dead, you'll hear the distinct progressive slants as wel). Clare Fischer, let me say, then, is WAY more progressive than Sergei. Brent Fischer's Retrograde Orbits for Vibraphone arises and, if this is representative of his serious work outside a prolific catalogue of jazz and rock sideman gigs, then an ongoing exposition of his own classicalist multi-category work is WAY overdue. The son isn't following in the father's footsteps, he's his own man, but his compositions here are marvelous contrast to his dad's.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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