1998 / Dunrite Productions and Max Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
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 influences 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.
January 1, 1998