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Friday, July 31, 2015

James Adler, Introspections

We last encountered pianist-composer James Adler back in July 3, 2013 with his James Adler and Friends CD (see the post on this site). He returns with another wide-ranging offering called Introspections (Albany TROY 1529).

As before James combines his own music in various configurations with that of others he feels affinity with, in which he performs as the pianist: Keith Cummines' "Three Works for James Adler" (2013-14), Paul Turok's "Clarinet Sonata, op. 110" (2011) (with Alexander Fiterstein on clarinet), and Seth Bedford's two movements from "Three Postcards for Piano" (2011-2013).

Then there are the Adler compositions: "Suite Moderne for Strings" (1982), "Psalm for Michael" (2003) for piano, oboe (Virginia Brewer) and cello (Eugene Moye, Jr.), "Six Little Variations on Noel Ancien" (1986) for piano and flute (Cain-Oscar Bergeron), "Twisted Tango" (2012) for piano and tenor saxophone (David Babich), and finally the song cycle "3 Introspections" (2014) with tenor Malcolm J. Merriweather, plus oboe (Brewer) and piano.

The music is quite decently performed. James Adler excels as performer-pianist without necessarily showing a huge amount of virtuosity. These works are not about that. It all hangs together stylistically in the modern neo-classical and post-romantic expressionist style, with an emphasis on the former.

The pieces are all well-crafted and bear scrutiny as they give pleasure. I would not put it in the top-ten releases of modern music I've covered thus far this year, but I would suggest that there is much to appreciate in this music.

It is worthwhile! Hear it.

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