CLARE FISCHER: After the Rain – Suite for Cello and String Orchestra; Time Piece; Bachludes I & II – Cello soloist: Cecilia Tsan/ Concertmasters: Assa Drori and Gerald Vinci – Clare Fisher Productions CFP012201, 61:00 (2/26/03) ****:

Somehow the name Clare Fischer had escaped my musical education. Fischer died in 2012, but led a productive life that extended into many kinds of music. He was a keyboardist, composer, arranger, bandleader, you name it. In the ‘50s he was pianist and arranger for the Hi-Los, he worked with Dizzy Gillespie, and composed jazz standards like “Morning” and “Pensativa”. He had 11 Grammy nominations and did orchestral backgrounds for Prince, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, to name a few.

This recording contains classically-oriented compositions, some drawn from earlier piano works. Some of the music is contemplative, as in After the Rain, some is regal like Time Piece – Homage. All of it is interesting. Fischer had his own distinctive musical voice, and the disc is a good listen, and for me an introduction to this musical prodigy.

The Bachludes are inspired by Bach, but something that follows Fischer’s philosophy of harmony equals emotion. He takes the basics of Bach and extends it to what Fischer calls the ‘10th power’. The Bachludes are emotional and involving.

The recording is from sessions in 2003, and I was surprised to see that Fischer has a lot of CDs on offer. The recording is not demo quality, but certainly a good one, with a stable image of the instruments spread between my two speakers. It’s not closely miked, and that seems appropriate to the music on offer.

I thought the most moving of the compositions was his Suite for Cello and String Orchestra – After the Rain. There are elements of jazz and classical in this work, yet the blend makes musical sense. After the Rain stems from an earlier composition, and later Fischer added two more movements, The Early Years and Finale to make this a three-movement work.

I’ll certainly explore more of Fischer’s compositions, and am happy to have made his musical acquaintance on this disc.


1. Suite for Cello and String Orchestra – After the Rain
2. The Early Years
3. Finale
4. Time Piece – Homage
5. Elegy and Blues
6. Fugue and Finale
7. Bachlude I
8. Bachlude II

—Mel Martin