SELECTED PRESS COMMENTS

“LarryBell’s music is superbly crafted, always well written for the instruments, straightforward, and utterly communicative.”

 Hubert Culot MusicWeb-international.com


 

“Bell ‘s piano playing was commendable–not flashy, but brimming with musicality, intelligence, and desire to communicate. Tone quality was fetching and finger technique clean.”

  David Cleary New Music Connoisseur


 

“[Larry Bell,] the versatile Boston composer, whose music mixes modern European elements with the twang of his Southern heritage.”

        The New Yorker


 

“A beautiful and distinctive American voice.” – Peter Burwasser – Fanfare


 

“A formidable force on the tonal side of the contemporary divide.”

– Jack Sullivan – American Record Guide


 

” Bell, who similarly revealed the beatific nature of his creative beast playing the first Persichetti parable, XIX.  This man has a mystic keyboard touch, eliciting tone from the piano like a therimin player who never actually fingers his instrument.  The evocative grace in his execution illuminates affinity beyond respect for his mentor, reflecting a bond of kindred spirits.”

                                   Kitty Montgomery Kingston Freeman, NY (Woodstock-Fringe American Song/Fest)


 

The Black Cat
“In reviving an outmoded and melodramatic 19th-century form, the composer assiduously avoided sticking tongue in cheek, writing into the music a torrent of kitschy effects that Liszt himself might have appreciated.”

– Michael Kimmelman – The New York Times


 

Celestial Refrain

“Larry Bell’s ‘Celestial Refrain’ consists of eleven pages of great music. Bell has come up with a composition that is folk-like, at times almost primitive, yet always incredibly rich in ideas and inventiveness…

invigorating, fascinating… [It] will haunt both your mind and your heart.”

– John Minahan – Guitar Review


 

“The orchestra under Benjamin Zander and the choruses under Jean Meltaus have a bright, vibrant sound admirably suited for the child-like Songs of Innocence and Experience”

Jack Sullivan The American Record Guide


 Concerto for Oboe and Five Instruments

“[Bell’s] postmodernly structure compositional style, in which diverse elementslink with one another, orient it to Arnold Schoenberg and Charles Ives, as well as to Pop,Rock, and Neoclassicism.”

Salzburger Volkzeitung


 

Fantasia on an Imaginary Hymn

“For all the ferocity of some of the work’s lines, it ends lyrically. No hymns are actually used, but the composer uses serial harmony to suggest the flavor of such hymns – an attractive new twist on the Charles Ives esthetic.”

– Lon Tuck – The Washington Post


 

The Idea of Order at Key West

“[The music] takes on a decisive and individual life of its own. Bell’s writing is hightly evocative of nature… It’s really quite impressively beautiful.”

– Bill Zakariasen – The New York Daily News


 

Miniature Diversions
“Bell is a skilled craftsman who defty blends serial techniques with more conventional methods of expression. He has a gift for melody, a sense of wit and a feeling for continuity. All were evident in four ‘Miniature Diversions’ for piano and in a ‘Fantasia on an Imaginary Hymn’ for viola and cello.”

– Arthur Hepner – The Boston Globe


 

Piano Concerto

“…an amiable, light-spirited work… And the finale is enlivened by interesting chordal modulations in the piano part, deft wind writing, and hints of rock influence struggling to shine through the work’s Neo-Romantic surface.”

– Allan Kozinn – The New York Times


 

Piano Sonata

“… Bell himself played his Piano Sonata, whose diverse stylistic ingredients were assimilated and very well mixed together in his rendering.”

Salzburger Volkzeitung


 

Piano Sonata No. 2 “Tala”
 “It’s a pleasure to report that Sonata No. 2 ” Tala ,” Op. 61   (2002) was a slice of sheer joy.   The piece’s harmonic language and rhythmic material show a strong affinity for Messiaen’s piano oeuvre, but Bell effortlessly pushes the music from here into Art Tatum-like jazz figuration, deftly outlining the similarities between these seemingly disparate idioms.   And despite being a one-movement selection, this is truly a sonata in the Lisztian sense, with clear analogues to exposition/development/recapitulation procedures, expressed here in an inimitable way.”

 David Cleary New Music Connoisseur


 

River of Ponds
“A substantial piece of tuneful, warmly lyrical cello writing with a hint of Americana sometimes calling Copland to mind. . . . Larry Bell’s music is contemporary, though very tuneful and warmly lyrical, and – above all – very accessible.”

– Hubert Culot – Classical Music web. UK


 

River of Ponds

“… most appealing… a solid old-fashioned piece of writing.”

– Arthur Hepner –  The Boston Globe Century Music


 

A Sacred Harp

“[It] conjured up images of urban America in the 1980s and created an expectancy. Something’s coming, the music seems to say, and unequivocal joy was prefigured… strong, vivacious and independent.”

– Valerie Barna – Mesquite News (TX)


 

String Quartet No. 1

“[Bell] speaks concisely as well as authoritatively. Each of his thematic units possesses the emotional force and precision control of a major talent.”

– Thomas Willis – The Chicago Tribune


 

String Quartet No. 2

“It’s elegantly and thoroughly composed, and dramatic in its progress.” – Andrew Porter – The New Yorker

 

“In the eight annual Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards program… special mention was made of Larry Bell’s String Quartet No. 2, which [was] deemed ‘persuasive and of very high musical merit’ by the jury.”

               – Karen Monson – The Baltimore Sun


 

” It would be idle to go through each Prelude and Fugue in detail. Suffice to say that the whole cycle is a very attractive and nicely contrasted set of miniatures, all superbly crafted and cast in a colourful, accessible idiom. Bell’s Reminiscences and Reflections Op.46 is a welcome addition to the already long series of Preludes and Fugues. It should be avidly picked up by any pianist willing to add a less familiar, but rewarding and enjoyable set to his/her repertoire.”

Hubert Culot Classical Music Web (www.musicweb.uk.net)


 

“It may be a set of prelude and fugues, but there’s nothing academic about our own Larry Bell’s new CD. Good humor and an innocent American lyricism prevail. Beyond arranging the pairs chromatically, Bell wisely decides not to chase Bach (his fugues are more Beethovenian). With the help of pianist Jonathan Bass, Bell, through song and dance, gives us a very different kind of well-tempered clavier. The Prelude and Fugue in E is a highlight.”

–  David SalvageSequenza21.com


 

Reminiscences and Reflections (performance)

“The three preludes and fugues selected from the Well Tempered Klavier -inspired piano collection Reminiscences and Reflections, Op. 46   (1993-98) are extraordinarily fine, casting this older approach into fluid structures brimming with imagination. There’s not an ounce of textbook dryness here; rather, there’s plenty of contrast in texture, color, and emotion.”

 David Cleary New Music Connoisseur


 

The Triple CD Release: The Book of Moonlight, The Sentimental Muse, and Reminiscences and Reflections

His essential impulse in this violin music, as in most (if not all) of what he writes, seems to be ingenuous communication. It is possible to listen to this material with attention to Bell’s precise and fascinating adjustments of harmonic elements, or simply bathe in the wholeness of the sound. That he can write on both levels is an impressive achievement.

 Peter Burwasser Fanfare