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Larry Bell: Unchanging Love / Bell, Gekker, Bunbury, Huff

Release Date: 11/11/2008 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1068   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Larry Bell
Performer:  Chris GekkerLarry BellRichard BunburyHarry Huff
Conductor:  Larry Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BELL Poems. 1 Liturgical Suite. 2 4 Lyrics. 3 Unchanging Love. 4 Remembering Al: Idumea Variations 5 Larry Bell (pn); 1,3,5 cond; 4 Chris Gekker (tpt); 1,3 Richard Read more Bunbury (org); 2 Harrylyn Huff (org); 4 Cambridge Symphonic Br Ens 2 ALBANY TROY 1068 (67:39)

Larry Bell received his D.M.A. from the Juilliard School. He studied composition with Vincent Persichetti and Roger Sessions, whose influences are not readily perceptible in the music presented here, except in the most underlying and abstract of ways—precision of utterance and internal logic. He currently occupies the chair of music post at the New England Conservatory in Boston, and is also an associate professor of composition at the Berklee College of Music.

Bell’s is an unabashedly tonal, lyrical, and unproblematic approach to music —a far cry from the complexities and arcane constructions of Charles Wourinen and Elliott Carter. Not to get me wrong, I am a fan of both Wourinen and Carter, but I find Bell’s tunefulness refreshing (it all depends on my state of what’s left of my mind of the moment).

Poems , for trumpet and piano, serves up five melodically inspired pieces that, in their simple eloquence, bring the best of the Beatles to mind. Chris Gekker has made himself known over the years as a superb trumpeter who is able to produce meltingly flute-like tones at one extreme, and to bring the house down at the other. Here he is at one with the composer as pianist. And so it goes for the rest of this offering. Organist Richard Bunbury is fully attuned to the simple poetry of the Liturgical Suite ; Chris Gekker once again does himself proud in the Four Lyrics for trumpet and piano, as does the Cambridge Brass Ensemble with Harrylyn Huff at the organ in Unchanging Love.

A key to this release is found in the all too brief final piece, Remembering Al: Idumea Variations . It was composed in the summer of 2007 in commemoration of the death of the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Alfred D. Chandler. It is a muted, aphoristic piece full of tonal ambivalences, but a piece that, in its paradoxical directness of utterance, not only conveys the grief experienced at the demise of a beloved friend, but also gives us a fleeting glimpse into eternity.

The sound on this offering is up to conveying its essences. Some of my friends in the music business will undoubtedly dismiss this music on the grounds that it sounds too good to be good. I hereby lodge my dissenting opinion.

FANFARE: William Zagorski
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Works on This Recording

Poems for Trumpet and Piano by Larry Bell
Performer:  Chris Gekker (Trumpet), Larry Bell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Liturgical Suite by Larry Bell
Performer:  Richard Bunbury (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Four Lyrics for Trumpet and Piano by Larry Bell
Performer:  Chris Gekker (Trumpet), Larry Bell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Unchanging Love by Larry Bell
Performer:  Harry Huff (Organ)
Conductor:  Larry Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Remembering Al " Idumea Variations" by Larry Bell
Performer:  Larry Bell (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 

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