Phoenix Records (1997)
“Simon Fryer doesn’t shed a trace of enthusiasm in both the playing and his notes in this splendid recital of contemporary cello pieces….everything here sounds ideally brewed and technically complete…Pieces by Canadians Alexina Louie, Gary Kulesha, Alice Ho and Ronald Royer are all worthwhile, their individual voices genuinely felt.”
- Saturday Free Press, Winnipeg
Simon Fryer-Cello / Lydia Wong-Piano
1-5. Benjamin Britten – Sonata in C, Op. 65
Music of a Life so Far represents a shamelessly personal selection of works for solo cello and cello with piano, written during the years of my life by a diverse group of composers in a wide variety of styles. I value these works not only as significant contributions to the cello repertoire but also as landmarks in my musical and personal development. – 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.