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American Classics - Adler: Of Musique, Poetrie, Art And Love / Melton, Wincenc

Release Date: 12/16/2008 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559602   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Samuel Adler
Performer:  Laura MeltonCarol WincencElizabeth FarnumJohn Sampen,   ... 
Conductor:  Emily Freeman Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bowling Green Philharmonia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

ADLER Of Musique, Poetrie, Art, and Love. 1 Flute Sonata. 2 3 Piano Preludes. 3 Soundings. 4 4 Composer Portraits. 5 Piano Concerto No. 3. 6 Pasiphae 7 Laura Melton (pn); 1–7 Read more class="ARIAL12"> Elizabeth Farnum (sop); 1 Carol Wincenc (fl); 1,2 John Sampen (a sax); 4 Roger B. Schupp (perc); 7 Emily Freeman Brown, cond; 6 Bowling Green Philharmonia 6 NAXOS 8.559602 (76:18)

So singular has been Samuel Adler’s contribution to the training of countless American composers that his own well-crafted compositions are not given nearly the attention they deserve. With long stints on the faculty rosters of Eastman and Juilliard, he has nevertheless remained a prolific composer, and we can only hope that recordings such as this will point more performers in his direction as a source of fine programming material.

Three Piano Preludes neatly encapsulates Adler’s methods while demonstrating his continued creative prowess late in life, as do three other works on the disc written after 2000. These are character studies in the manner of similar works by Debussy and others, with cascading water depicted in the first, dream states in the second, and an ancient French poetic structure in the third. Here and elsewhere, there is no traditional tonality as such, but certain pitches, cells, or textures catch the ear and help structure the works.

Four Composer Portraits is another set of piano miniatures with specific inspirations, in this case a group of fellow composers roughly of Adler’s generation. At first, the notion of close mimicry of the style of multiple composers in a single work didn’t strike me as an especially novel concept, but on further consideration I can’t think of another instance of this particular method of homage. Each movement also uses letters from the composers’ names, a more well-tested form of tribute. Hearing the pointillist serialism of Babbitt so closely juxtaposed with the lyricism of Rorem both rendered by a third party is quite a clever and diverting parlor trick.

His Piano Concerto No. 3, like many of his works, unfolds with greater brevity than one might expect in a work so labeled, spanning just 11 minutes in one movement. There is an intriguing truncated lyricism at work in the first few minutes, as the string orchestra trades phrases with the soloist in melodic fragments that are interrupted with other motives soon after their introduction. The Bowling Green Philharmonia under Emily Freeman Brown partners well with pianist Laura Melton, the fine soloist here and in the other keyboard works.

Not only are the seven works of uniformly high merit, but Adler not surprisingly composes idiomatically for his players, without contributing any particular novel techniques or original timbral combinations. The nearest approach to extended techniques is heard in Soundings for alto saxophone and piano, which asks soloist John Sampen to augment his virtuosic, bravura traversal with tongue and key clicks. Adler is fortunate to have other fine artists at his disposal as well, including flutist Carol Wincenc in the traditionally structured Flute Sonata, soprano Elizabeth Farnum in the song cycle Of Musique, Poetrie, Art, and Love , and percussionist Roger B. Schupp in the busy and intricate Pasiphae.

FANFARE: Michael Cameron
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Works on This Recording

Preludes (3) for Piano by Samuel Adler
Performer:  Laura Melton (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Notes: Composition written: USA (1999 - 2000). 
Of musique, poetrie, art and love by Samuel Adler
Performer:  Laura Melton (Piano), Carol Wincenc (Flute), Elizabeth Farnum (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; USA 
Composer Portraits (4) for Piano by Samuel Adler
Performer:  Laura Melton (Piano)
Written: USA 
Notes: Composition written: USA (2001 - 2002). 
Sonata for Flute and Piano by Samuel Adler
Performer:  Laura Melton (Piano), Carol Wincenc (Flute)
Written: 2004; USA 
Soundings for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Samuel Adler
Performer:  John Sampen (Alto Saxophone), Laura Melton (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; USA 
Pasiphae by Samuel Adler
Performer:  Roger Schupp (Percussion), Laura Melton (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; USA 
Concerto for Piano no 3 by Samuel Adler
Performer:  Laura Melton (Piano)
Conductor:  Emily Freeman Brown
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bowling Green Philharmonia
Written: 2003; USA 

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