RSNO - Serebrier Conducts Adler - BBC Music Magazine

The American scholar Howard Pollack once wrote than archaeological dig of Samuel Adler's music would find Piston and Hindemith, two of the composer's Harvard teachers in the early 1950s, close to the lowest strata. He's right, too, though many additional layers become audible in the bustling works featured on this unexpected disc from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Adler's synagogue heritage is never far away. Other trademarks include atmospheric cloud textures, brazen brass, shuddering wood blocks, and the urban dazzle of a Bernstein.

The impressive Symphony No. 6, composed in the mid 1980s but receiving its premiere with this recording, is a well-chiselled rollercoaster ride featuring rhythmic surges, long-legged melodies and a slow movement of rustling ruminations. The Cello Concerto of 1995 is even more diverse, but there's just about room in its crowded exchanges to enjoy Maximilian Hornung's wit and luscious tone. Drifting on Winds and Currents, a short tone poem from 2010, doesn't add much to what we've already heard, least of all a sense of drift - something inimical to Adler's energised art.

A natural conductor for novel repertoire, Jose Serebrier secures gusto and finesse from the orchestra in Glasgow. Recommended for collectors of mainstream Americana with a distinctive twist.


BBC Music Magazine
01 October 2016