Clare Fischer | After the Rain

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After the Rain

by Clare Fischer

Breathtaking, rousing and impassioned contemporary, original works for orchestra that hang in space and hover over the landscape of the heart like a mist.
Genre: Classical: Orchestral
Release Date: 

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1. Suite for Cello and String Orchestra - After the Rain
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6:44 $0.99
2. The Early Years
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9:05 $0.99
3. Finale
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5:38 $0.99
4. Time Piece - Homage
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11:15 $0.99
5. Elegy and Blues
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7:53 $0.99
6. Fugue and Finale
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9:02 $0.99
7. Bachlude I
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4:03 $0.99
8. Bachlude II
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6:35 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
AFTER THE RAIN

With this recording, Clare Fischer presents for the first time, a program of original music that falls distinctly into the category of "classical." Well known and admired for decades as composer, arranger and pianist of singular originality, he is thought of first for his accomplishments in the jazz field. Clare remarked recently that until about fifteen years ago he thought that he needed to keep his jazz and classical writing somehow separate. More recently he acknowledged that he is what he is - a natural mixture of both. Jazz and classical influences as they are exquisitely entangled in Clare's mind, from his earliest composition to most recent, are heard in these extraordinary recordings.

Every perceived moment of beauty or emotion from life experience, whether from music, literature, art or personal relations inevitably affects an artist's work. As an awakening to classical music, Clare's high school music director and first mentor, Glenn Litton, played a recording of Shostakovich's First Symphony for Clare, then age 13. He soon heard Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige. The merging of influences had begun. During the years he played in Mr. Litton's high school band, Clare studied and performed on whatever wind instrument was needed to fill out the group's instrumentation. He refers to that as his earliest (and hands-on) study of orchestration.

Clare's only period of actual piano study before his university training, was from age 9 to 11. At age 12 he began to play the cello and later declared that instrument his major upon entering Michigan State University in 1947. At the same time, Clare submitted to the composition department a piano sketch of what is heard on this recording as The Early Years, (Movement II) from the Suite for Cello. As one hears this early composition and considers the chronology, it is staggering to think that it was conceived by an 18-year-old composer from a small town in Michigan. It seems clear that Clare never made a conscious decision to be a composer - he was one, fully formed, by the time he graduated high school. It is certainly unlikely that the distinguished composer H. Owen Reed, another mentor and life-long close friend (and the man to whom Clare submitted this early work), was accustomed to encountering such exceptional youthful efforts.

As part of the requirement for his Master of Music degree from MSU, Clare composed Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra. During the subsequent years of his professional career other notable classical compositions include: Rhapsody Nova for Woodwind Soloist and Wind Band, Piano Quartet, Cornucopia for Brass Ensemble, Miniature for Mallet Percussion and Strings and Sonatine for Clarinet and Piano. Of these, only the last, which was commissioned and performed by Richard Stoltzman, has been commercially recorded.

On recordings of his own works, Clare has performed on alto sax, e-flat valve trombone, cello, clarinet and bass clarinet. For a recent recording project Clare purchased and learned to play a complete choir of bugles as he composed for them.

In the 1980's Clare was "discovered" by a number of pop vocal artists who chose him to write - mostly for rock and roll recordings - string and orchestral accompaniments to be over-dubbed on their vocal and rhythm tracks.
Prominent among these artists are Prince, Vanessa Williams, Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney and Paula Abdul. On one particular date, Clare surrounded a harmonically simple pre-recorded pop vocal and rhythm track with a sweeping orchestral arrangement that left orchestra members applauding. Observing the star and her band while listening to the playback, their slight lifting of the chest and broad smiles seemed to say, "I didn't know we were that good."


SUITE FOR CELLO AND STRING ORCHESTRA

In 1999, with leftover time at the end a record date for which Clare had written the string arrangements, he was able to record The Early Years (Movement II), with Cecilia Tsan as cello soloist. Cecilia, whose solo playing was previously unknown to Clare, showed remarkable presence and identification with the music. After finally hearing this realization of his earliest work (1947), Clare then composed After the Rain and Finale to give the work a three-movement structure. The outer movements were written for Cecilia, produced by Clare and recorded later in 1999.

TIME PIECE

Time Piece was recorded in 1998 at Capitol Studios with a full symphony orchestra chosen, conducted and produced (paid for!) by Clare. Clare says of this work:

"The title refers to the 44 years between the original conception of this work and its first hearing. The first half of Homage was conceived and scored in 1953. The original ideas for the second half of the movement were conceived in 1953 but the actual writing of the music took place in 1987."

The homage referred to here is to Igor Stravinsky. Clare's inspiration being the early ballet music of that influential composer.

"The Elegy portion of the second movement, Elegy and Blues was, conceived in 1987. The Blues section was composed sometime in the early 1950's and it represents a manifestation of the duality of my existence as a composer. The piano solo in this movement was freely improvised and transcribed by Clare for this recording.

"The third movement, Fugue and Finale, was conceived in 1987, the fugue theme is jazz-like in phrasing but not in choice of notes. There are sections where I have utilized jazz orchestral procedures but in a classical way, i.e. the use of plunger mutes in the brass including combinations of the tight closed plunger and French horn
brass mutes."

This entire work was commissioned by the Reader's Digest Meet the Composer program. The third movement was performed in concert by the New American Orchestra in 1988. Plans to perform the entire work were never completed.

BACHLUDES I and II

The recordings of these two works are, according to Clare, nearly twenty years old. The performance is striking in quality and these compositions represent, once again, the depth of expression and uniqueness that Clare's harmonic concept always delivers. Harmony equals emotion. I like to imagine that the old Kapellmeister of Leipzig would be thrilled to hear the harmonic priciples he codified taken, as they are by Clare, to the tenth power.

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In an over entertained world where music is so often sold to our generation with great calculation and cynicism, the release of this music creates an important and original musical document. Popular culture thrives on the synthetic while Clare Fischer has always woven his own pure harmonic cloth. The breadth of his distinguished accomplishments is greatly widened by the release of these recordings.

Gary Foster February 2001


Reviews


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Simon Pilbrow

Revelation: Clare Fischer's masterful orchestral works
Clare Fischer’s extraordinary musical accomplishments would be great in each of his chosen genres in their own right had he done them alone. That he can do all of them so well is truly remarkable, and his orchestral works are no exception. “After the Rain” brings together orchestral pieces from early in his career to ones written more recently, and shows his absorption at a very young age of so much of twentieth century ‘classical’ repertoire, orchestral techniques and its rich harmonic foundations and how it has matured in his hand over the ensuing decades. This is a treasure trove of Fischer genius. Those familiar with his piano works will recognise some orchestral re-workings of these, but most of these recordings were a complete revelation to this listener. The superb and scholarly liner notes from long term Fischer colleague and reedman Gary Foster paint the history of Clare’s orchestral composing and give great insight into his work. Anyone who appreciates and enjoys Clare Fischer’s music or any of the twentieth century orchestral repertoire will find much to marvel at and enjoy.

Phil Kelly

Wonderful new work by an overlooked master
This is beautiful imaginative 20th century orchestral work to me somewhat reminscent of composers William Walton, Frederic Delius and other neo romanticists but still vintage Clare Fischer chromatic voicings are apparent.

The Cello Soloist is superb!

Donna Fischer


Larry Dunlap wrote today and said,

"It is stunningly beautiful. I have enjoyed your writing and playing for many years, but, in my opinion, this surpasses anything else of yours with which I am familiar.

It would be wonderful to hear some of this music performed live. I hope you have a chance to see that happen.

Larry Dunlap"

Chuck Sher

After the Rain
Clare - I just bought your CD "After the Rain" and want to congratulate you on producing one of the most beautiful CDs ever created. Peace be with you - Chuck sher, Sher Music Co.

Paul Stanbery

A fine classical music meal, steeped in jazz and addictive!
This is the cream of Fischer's output. And for a listener subsisting on nothing but diet "pop" it may be a bit rich. But, for a composer of Fischer's training and experience, the symphony orchestra is the ultimate challenge, demanding not only arresting ideas, but their strategic location in large, complicated forms, and set appropriately for the dramatically correct instrumental voice or combination.

The richness begins with a gorgeous dark orchestral sound that just doesn't quit. The suite for cello that begins the album -- the appetizer in a meal for the musically searching soul -- is, more or less, like a hauntingly nostalgic concerto I think evokes Clare's pastoral upbringing, fairly conventionally classical in concept and presentation, but harking back to other 20th-century reflections of the baroque string orchestra sound of composers like Corelli, Vivaldi, and Locatelli -- with perhaps a northward glance in admiration for the German masters. All perfectly suitable for the mid-century music student who began the piece and the veteran of many years in the Hollywood recording industry who finished it.

I consider TIME PIECE, a work of major symphonic proportions and pretensions, the true jewel of this album, a truly adult work that's appropriate as "main course". Here Fischer's jazz innovations in jazz writing are harnessed to complete another early start -- this time for the choirs of all the orchestral sections -- leading through a complex, bittersweet world we all know: of half-fulfilling satisfactions, wonderful people crushed or frustrated but a source for our most precious memories, cycles of fascinating relationships: loves and friendships, and our own maturing world-view, solidifying as we interlock contradictory influences of and on others. There's no question the work is not jazz, but jazzy. Those who love that most American of musics will find it lovable, and those who find themselves loving this work will have started to love that music. It is music swimming with ideas, interwoven with all the perplexing fantasy of the Bach organ preludes Fischer's music shows he knows as well as he knows Meade Lux Lewis.

The Bachludes for strings, a worthy supplement to Villa-Lobos' explorations of the same terrain, finish the album: a beautiful dessert, with a slight tragic taste of life's brevity -- like the richness of bittersweet chocolate that addicts.

When you get this album -- and you should -- set your player on infinite repeat for an afternoon as you listen. You'll find yourself getting richer; I did.