Music of a Life So Far...

Music of a Life So Far..., Phoenix Records
Simon Fryer, cello; Lydia Wong, piano

~Benjamin Britten – Sonata in C, Op. 65
~Alexina Louie – Bringing the Tiger Down From the Mountain II
~Alice Ho – Caprice for solo cello
~Krzysztof Penderecki – Capriccio for Siegfried Palm for solo cello
~Ronald Royer – A Short Odyssey
~Iannis Xenakis – Kottos for solo cello
~Gary Kulesha - ...and dark time flowed by her like a river...

A Short Odyssey (Click to Play play)

Program notes by Simon Fryer

Ron and I were both cellists beginning to make careers in Toronto when we met in 1989.  As time went on he decided that composition was where his voice really lay and he enrolled at the University of Toronto.  His thesis for his Master of Music degree was (perhaps not surprisingly) a cello concerto.  Journey piqued my interest quite markedly and was accompanied by an equally engaging shorter version for cello and piano:  A Short Odyssey.  The compression of Journey into A Short Odyssey condenses the concerto into a finely balanced concert piece without losing any of the original’s drive and character.  The musical environment is essentially tonal but Ron employs aspects of serial technique to create a quite individual language.  There is an accessibility and attractiveness to the music (perhaps a latent influence from Ron’s years in the LA studios?) that I find irresistible.  I have given several performances of Journey including the Canadian premiere, and have been overwhelmed by the positive reaction from audiences and orchestras alike.  Being a cellist himself, Ron has been able to judge very capably how the cello can best bring his music to life and has produced works of great verve with a rewarding capacity for expressiveness on the part of the performer.

Ron quotes Christina Georgina Rossetti’s poem Up-Hill on the title page of Journey—it is undoubtedly just as appropriate for A Short Odyssey:
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.