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Adler: To Speak To Our Time

Adler: To Speak To Our Time

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Gloriæ Dei Cantores: An American Prize-Honored Artist in 2022!

Samuel Adler believes “Life is a Gift.” The risk-taking composer of 400 published works in all media taught for 63 years at Juilliard, and Eastman and has given masterclasses and workshops at over 300 universities world-wide. Having studied with Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, Randall Thompson and more – he knows just about everyone on the 20th Century American music scene and has received numerous awards including ASCAP’s Aaron Copland Lifetime Achievement Award. At age 10 he narrowly escaped Nazi Germany during Kristallnacht “the night of broken glass.” As he and his father collected sheet music in the loft of the synagogue saving all that they could on that terrifying night, soldiers heard them down below. It was the sudden collapse of a pipe organ that allowed Adler and his father to run and escape through an underground tunnel. His family took the last train out of Germany with their bags full of sheet music, paving the way for Adler to study and nurture his musical gifts in America. At age 94, he continues to compose, living life to the full. His "life-affirming" spirit comes through powerfully in this album. These texts recount God's goodness on the journey of life and through the hills, valleys, and mountaintop experiences. The texts from the psalms cover every emotion from pain to joy, to disappointment to elation, from sorrow to hope.


Adler's choral music makes a good entrance point into his work in general, for one can hear the range of expressive purposes to which various musical styles may be put, set against texts that are themselves diverse. Some works, such as the closing How Sweet the Sound here (a re-setting of "Amazing Grace"), are nominally Christian, but in general, the music might be termed ecumenical in spirit. The centerpiece is the title work, with texts in German, Hebrew, Latin, and English, written to mark the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht and first performed in Dresden.

The choir Gloriae Dei Cantores and conductor Richard K. Pugsley specialize in sacred music with a broad, rounded American sound, and this music fits the group's talents. This is quite simply a stunning album of American choral music, with superb sound from Massachusetts' Church of the Transfiguration.

--AllMusic (James Manheim)

The members of Gloriae Dei Cantores are perfectly directed by Richard K. Pugsley and constitute an ideal group of musicians for such a repertoire. They all have an absolute mastery of their art, singers, violinists and organists [alike], in the service of very demanding musical texts for the accuracy, the rhythms, and for the emotional impact that they arouse. Listening is warm, lively and inspiring, enough to make people love music that is often about discovery. Samuel Adler is one of the great American composers of the post-war period. This disc is a very beautiful reflection of his art.

--Res Musica (Frederic Muñoz)

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Gloriae Dei Cantores
    • UPC/Barcode: 850031134003
    • Item Number: GDCD066