Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Adler Plays Syncopated Rhythms
Genres: Dance & Electronic, New Age, Classical
Pianist and composer James Adler made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16, the start of a varied career in the United States and Europe. He has appeared throughout the world at leading concert ve... more »
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Pianist and composer James Adler made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16, the start of a varied career in the United States and Europe. He has appeared throughout the world at leading concert venues, including New York City s Alice Tully and Carnegie Halls. He made his London debut at the famed Wigmore Hall. Known as a pianist who can create whatever type of music he wants at the keyboard (Chicago Sun-Times), he has had particular success with his account of Gershwin s Rhapsody in Blue, the final work on this disc. His succinct description of the whole program perfectly sums it up: I wanted to prepare a CD program that is fun. Has rhythm. That is danceable. That is a little jazzy with depth and lyricism, and celebrates American traditions in music. Though not necessarily in chronological order.
A Fascinating Program of American Piano Music
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 05/15/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The program on this CD is what attracted me to it. It contains some rarely heard works by such composers as Ornstein, Antheil and Menotti as well as by the CD's pianist, James Adler. The main idea of the program is to present American piano music that partakes to some (or a large) degree of American popular music. Thus, it starts with Gottschalk and Joplin followed by such things as a delicious threesome by Leo Ornstein -- his Mazurka, Humoresque and Valse -- and moving on to what for me is the highlight of the disc, the pieces by George Antheil, the soi-disant 'Bad Boy of Music'. These pieces, unlike some of Antheil's outré works, are harmless enough but brimming with such charm that I found myself listening to them repeatedly. 'Little Shimmy' is a delight. It is followed by 'The Ben Hecht Valses', written as a gift for the journalist/filmmaker Ben Hecht ('Front Page') who had hired Antheil to write music for his films. Later on the CD is Antheil's bustling 'Toccata No. 2' which parodies 'Bringing in the Sheaves'.
The paired pieces by Menotti -- 'Ricercare' and 'Toccata' -- are a bit more academic that one expects from Menotti, but they brim with life and that inexplicable Menottian charm. Aaron Copland apparently made solo piano transcriptions of 'Saturday Night Waltz' and 'Hoe-Down' from his ballet 'Rodeo'; I had never heard them before. They are, frankly, only modestly effective in Adler's performances, possibly more a function of the transcriptions than of the performances, although it must be said that Adler's skills at the piano are competent but not as transcendent one might like. Adler himself composed 'Prelude', 'Toccata' and 'Two Dances in One' which are fun pieces.
The CD concludes with the one-piano arrangement of Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' which Adler modifies by including the original's cadenzas.
This CD is a find for those who are fascinated by obscure byways of American piano music; much heard here is not, as far as I know, available elsewhere.