Fred Adler makes his living as an Emergency Medicine physician, but he is active in the Bay Area chamber music scene as both a composer and a pianist. Next month the Community Music Center (CMC) will host a concert that will feature both his recent chamber music compositions and works from the twentieth century that reflect the influences of his Viennese and Argentine roots. He will be joined by an ensemble of some of the leading performers of chamber music in the Bay Area.
The Adler compositions that will be presented on the program will include a piano trio, a piano sonata, songs on texts by both Federico García Lorca and James Joyce, and a piece for solo clarinet. The clarinetist for that last piece will be Sarah Bonomo. Adler will serve as pianist for the remaining works. His vocalist for the songs will be baritone John Smalley. In the piano trio he will be joined by violinist Alisa Rose and cellist Samsun van Loon.
Adler will also perform one of Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera’s earliest works, his Opus 2 set of three Argentine dances written for solo piano. Each of these dances has its own “subject,” allowing Ginastera to take a unique approach to each one. The title of the first is “Danza del viejo boyero” (dance of the old herdsman), which is bitonal due to the left had playing only black keys (D-flat major) and the right hand playing only white ones (C major). This is followed by “Danza de la moza donosa” (dance of the beautiful maiden), the most lyric of the three; but it surprises the listener by ending on an atonal chord. Even more dissonant is the final “Danza del gaucho matrero” (dance of the arrogant cowboy), which builds on a twelve-tone ostinato.
In addition, Adler will accompany Bonomo in a performance of Alban Berg’s Opus 5 set of four pieces for clarinet and piano. Berg probably composed these in the spring of 1913. Opus 5 was the second piece he composed without guidance from Arnold Schoenberg, who left Vienna and moved to Berlin in 1911. It remains one of the best examples of how much expressiveness Berg could pack into pieces of relatively brief duration.
Finally, tenor saxophonist Michael Bello and percussionist Brandi Brandes will join the group for improvisations on milongas. The milonga is a traditional Argentine genre viewed by some as the predecessor of the tango. The improvisations will be based on milongas composed by both the Argentine guitarist Abel Fleury and Adler himself.
This concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 11. The venue will be the CMC Capp Street Concert Hall. This is located in the Mission District Branch at 544 Capp Street, between 20th Street and 21st Street. (Capp Street is located between Mission Street and Van Ness Avenue.) General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for students and seniors. Tickets will be sold at the door.