Adler: Choose Life

University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

Catalog #: TROY0328
Release Date: April 1, 1999
Format: Digital

Samuel Adler was born in Mannheim, Germany, on March 4, 1928. A prominent and important educator, Adler has enjoyed what might be called the patronage of the American University, which is the 20th century equivalent of the 17th century's church and the 18th century's court. Just as composers in the past often owed their allegiance to and drew their salaries from religious leaders or noblemen, so a large number of professional composers today are employed by colleges and universities, where they have many duties besides writing music. Adler's career is typical. In addition to being the creator of over 400 published works, he has also been a teacher, administrator, and author of textbooks. In 1966 he became Professor of Composition at the Eastman School, a position from which he recently retired; in 1974 he became chairman of the Composition Department; in 1984 he was named Mentor of the University of Rochester. He has published books on orchestration, musicianship, and choral conducting. And, like his counterparts two and three centuries ago, he is an accomplished conductor. Acrostics is a concerto for harpsichord, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin and cello. The work was written in 1985 as a Christmas present for the composer's good friends Barbara Harbach and Thomas George. Harbach had been performing the Harpsichord Concerto by DeFalla and Adler wanted to write a companion piece for that work for the same combination of instruments. The work was premiered in the fall of 1986 by Barbara Harbach, harpsichord, and members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in Buffalo, New York. The Second Piano Concerto was commissioned by the Friends of Today's Music for the Music Teachers Association of California for the 100th Anniversary of the Organization in 1997 and premiered at their convention in San Francisco July 7, 1997. Choose Life , written in the summer of 1986, was commissioned by Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. It is a celebration of life.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Acrostics: Four Games for Six Players Samuel Adler Univ. of Southern Mississippi Faculty Chamber Ensemble
Second Piano Concerto Samuel Adler Univ. of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Timothy Koch, conductor, Alan Feinberg, piano
Choose Life Samuel Adler Univ. of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Timothy Koch, conductor, Mary Creswell, mezzo, Dan Frazure, tenor


  • "Though born in Germany (in 1928), Samuel Adler was trained in the US (his teachers included Hindemith, Thompson, and Piston), and he writes in a high-energy, optimistic, American-sounding neoclassic style without much regard for romantic melody or sensuous indulgence. His early works are diatonic (in a Pistonian sort of way), his music from the 60s and 70s more chromatic, and his recent stuff somewhere in between...This new Albany release displays his recent endeavors in three genres - mixed Chamber ensemble, concerto, and cantata....Adler's Second Piano Concerto of 1997, also cast in four movements, is a big, bravura work that gives soloist Alan Feinberg a hard night's workout but allows considerable opportunity for lyricism in the slow movement's rippling figurations and veiled string harmonies....Performances are pretty good (Feinberg is outstanding); sound is clear and high-impact but airless and unforgiving, emphasizing the ruggedness of Adler's music."

    – American Record Guide

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