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Kaleidoscope
JAMES FRY


Cover Design: Julian Adamaitis

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Catalog Number: CPS-8653
Audio Format: CD
Playing Time: 70:48
Release Date: 1998

Track Listing & Audio Samples
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    Kaleidoscope
1.
Mercurial (3:49)
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  2. Melancholy (4:42)
  3. Maniacal (4:25)
    Elizabeth Rheude, clarinet
    Jay Hershberger, piano
     
    Twelve Studies
  4. Play of Mirrors (2:21)
  5. Of Wood and Metal (1:31)
  6. Elfin Chase (0:44)
  7. Mesto - Dark Reverberations (2:11)
  8. A Fragrance on the Wind (2:17)
  9. Cascade (1:40)
  10. Halcyon Days (1:47)
  11. Little Whimsy (0:44)
  12. Impetuosity (0:37)
  13. Unrelenting (0:45)
  14. Aboriginal Ritual (0:51)
  15. In Close Pursuit (0:51)
    Jane Solose, piano
     
    Impressions
  16. The Sounds of an Impromptu Song (2:33)
  17. The Distant Chime of the Wind (3:51)
  18. Toward Where the Light Glows (2:38)
    Vladimir Mityakov, guitar
     
  19. Gloria for SATB and Piano Duet (8:04)
    University of North Dakota Concert Choir
    James Rodde, director
     
    Drift of the Eastern Gray
  20. Drift of the Eastern Gray (1:15)
  21. A Resonance of Emerald (0:34)
  22. Unknown Peninsula (0:43)
  23. Beryl Bells (0:55)
  24. Pianos in the Woods (0:34)
  25. Amber road (0:33)
  26. Spheric Wind (0:49)
  27. The Steeples Swam in Amethyst (0:56)
  28. Finale (4:03)
    Jane and Kathleen Solose, pianos
     
    Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble
  29. Allegro; Lento (6:10)
  30. Allegro Molto (7:25)
    Elizabeth Rheude, clarinet
    Michigan State University Wind Symphony
    John Whitwell, director

Reviews

Fanfare - March/April 1999 - by Robert Kirzinger

"James Fry is a composition professor at the University of North Dakota. The overall title of the disc is Kaleidoscope. The works on this disc are mostly set forth in short movements of particular character. Fry's style ranges from a fairly thorny modernism (the piano etudes) to pleasant Neoclassicism (Impressions for guitar) to Stravinsky emulation (Gloria for SATB chorus and piano duet). Kaleidoscope for clarinet and piano is structured in three movements, fast-slow-fast. The first and third are based on a steady pulse, while the second is a freely sung lament. The pitch language is atonal with a noticeable concern for harmonic progression and voice leading. The piano takes an accompanist's role for much of the piece, and both instrumentalists play with confidence and excitement.

At least half of the first movement of the two-movement Concerto for clarinet and wind ensemble is comprised of a cadenza for the clarinet with minimal accompaniment. Theres almost no real interplay between ensemble and soloist. The frenetic second movement integrates the two a bit better, though theres not much of a feeling of concerto here. Theres some nice rhythmic vitality in the second movement, including a quotation from The Rite of Spring. The piece seems unfinished, though, as if it should have another movement.

Twelve Studies for piano runs a gamut of mood types as well as techniques, though no approach receives more than a couple of minutes of exploration. The first study is the longest, at just under two and a half minutes; five of the pieces are less than a minute long. Fry calls for some in-strings work from the pianist, but restrains himself from using sounds completely outside the pianos usual timbral range. The movements tend to swing between fast, extroverted fingerwork and free-tempo, recitativelike passages. The difficult passages speed by cleanly at the fingertips of Jane Solose. Her sister Kathleen joins her in Drift of the Eastern Gray for piano duo, eight short character pieces and a more substantial finale.

Fry show great understanding for the guitar in the three-movement Impressions (1997). The wonderfully idiomatic writing never sounds contrived. Fry employs a Neoclassic, tonally centered language here to lovely effect. Russian guitarist Vladimir Mityakov plays with a beautiful tone and sure knowledge of the piece, which encompasses quiet harmonics, jazz or rocklike strumming, and more traditional contrapuntal passages.

From its first chord, Gloria (1988) sounds utterly derived from Stravinskys Mass. It begins in declaiming, homophonic chords and progresses to more lyrical writing, never wandering far from the sound world of Stravinsky, with only slightly more demure references to the Poulenc Gloria.

This is often very fine music, eclectic and well crafted, emotive and challenging and exciting. The performances are first rate, and the several recording venues and personnel maintain a consistently high level of quality throughout. The disc is thoroughly enjoyable."