Ron Clearfield – Dream Manifestation (1998)

FrontCover1Classically trained cellist Ron Clearfield has branched into a diverse range of musical styles. In addition to working with such classical music icons as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland, and Seiji Ozawa, Clearfield has accompanied such pop artists as George Benson, Linda Ronstadt, and Dionne Warwick. He was a featured solo cellist on Judy Collins’ Christmas Special for the A&E network. On his own recordings, Dream Manifestation and Time on Earth, Clearfield skillfully blends the classical tradition with world music and jazz influences to create a highly atmospheric sound. The grandson of a pianist and teacher, who emigrated to the United States from Russia, and the son of a clarinet player, Clearfield studied violin from the age of ten. He switched to cello shortly afterwards. Receiving a Masters degree in cello performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, he made his professional debut with the Indianapolis Symphony, the same group that his father had launched his career with more than two decades before. Clearfield remained with the Indianapolis Symphony only briefly before he left to seek work as a freelance cellist in Philadelphia, Houston, New York, and Miami. Building a studio in his home, he recorded three self-produced albums before signing with the EverSound label in 1998. His debut album, Dream Manifestation, was released a few months later. For the past three decades, Clearfield has meditated regularly, using techniques that he learned from Guru Maharaji. He currently serves as associate principal cellist of the Asheville Symphony in Asheville, North Carolina and conducts the Asheville City/Buncombe County Schools Orchestra.(by Craig Harris)

RonClearfield01This accomplished cellist plays with The Florida Symphony Orchestra, and on this second effort, combines his sterling classical background with beautiful keyboard arrangements. The mixture of strings, pianos and light electronic orchestration will make for perfect in-store listening. The second album by this symphony cellist from Florida is a celebration of the beauty of the planet and of humanity’s aspirations for peace and harmony. Playing piano and synthesizers as well as cello, Ron Clearfield is joined by other musicians on reeds, flute, harp and percussion to create gentle and uplifting melodies that combine the elegance of classical music with the warmth and expansiveness of New Age. The crown jewel of the album is the nine-minute “Listen…the Earth is Weeping,” where a section of Indian flavored cello, tabla and tamboura is seamlessly inserted into the symphonic structure of the piece. Dream Manifestation is an engaging work of tenderness and beauty that both relaxes and inspires the listener.(allmusic)

From the cover photo of Ron Clearfield playing his cello against a painted backdrop of mountains, clouds, and floating red leaves, I expected Dream Manifestation to be a cello album. It is instead a powerful ensemble work. Clearfield plays piano and keyboards as well as cello, tamboura, and percussion, and is joined by other musicians on oboe, English and French horns, flutes, zither, strings, harp, and guitar.
With a theme of unity, peace, and the healing of Earth and its inhabitants, the music is very emotional and dramatic. I am especially impressed with “Listen… The Earth Is Weeping” – a tour de force with orchestration, keyboards, and percussion. Strong Eastern RonClearfield02influences are heard, but there is a very universal quality that is so fitting and appropriate to the theme. At 9 1/2 minutes, this piece is fully realized and is mesmerizing from start to finish – I can’t get enough of “Listen…”, and would recommend the CD based on that track even if the rest of the CD wasn’t fascinating. But it is! It opens with “Home”, a study in peaceful tranquility with flute, cello, and harp. “Soliloquy” is a lovely, serene “duet” with cello and synth. “Farewell”, composed in honor of Clearfield’s father, is haunting – simple, direct, and from the heart. “The Return and Dance of Gaia” is much more upbeat and rhythmic. There are Eastern influences in this piece, too, giving it a very warm and exotic feel. “Dream Manifestation” is cinematic in its sweep and grandeur. A bittersweet, questioning mood on piano builds to a dramatic climax and becomes delicate and gentle as the cello assumes the lead. “The Marriage of Heaven and Earth” is almost anthemic with several movements, and gives the closing a very peaceful message of peace and optimism. This is a very moving and powerful work, and I highly recommend it. (by Kathy Parsons)

In other words: One o the finest new age recordings I´ve ever heard !

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Personnel:
Tim Adams (percussion)
Ron Clearfield  (cello, keyboards, percussion, tamboura)
Mary Byrd Daniels (violin)
John Dee (english horn, oboe)
Danny Ellis (keyboards)
Jomo Faulks (percussion)
Jeff Johnson (guitar)
Jennifer Hart Merrell (french horn)
Tim Richards  (tabla)
Jeanne Tarrant (flute)
George Tortorelli (bamboo flute, zither)

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Tracklist:
01. Home 5.55
02. Soliloquy 3.44
03. Farewell 5.33
04. The Return And Dance Of Gaia 5.38
05. Dream Manifestation 6.41
06. Listen…the Earth Is Weeping 9.27
07. The Marriage Of Heaven And Earth 7.08

Music composed by Ron Clearfield

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