Jeffrey Jacob/ SAMPLES FROM RECENT Vienna Modern Masters-CDs

 

In 2002 Jeffrey Jacob was named Artist of the Year by the International New Music Consortium at New York University for his activities as composer, pianist and educator. Jacob received his education From the Juilliard School (Master of Music) and the Peabody Conservator (Doctorate).

His music has been performed and recorded in numerous avenues on three continenn Among significant performances, Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Symphony premiered his Symphony: Winter Lightning. The St. Petersburg and Moscow Symphonies premiered respectively his Piano Concertos I and II with the composer as soloist. His Persistence of Memory was premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony at the 1999 College Music Society National Convention, and was selected by the Charles Ives Center for American Music for a performance by the Charleston Symphony at the 2002 Charleston Spoleto Festival. Other works have been premiered and recorded by the Orquesta de Baja California, the Chamber Orchestra of the Rhein, the North Czech Philharmonic, the Cavani Quartet and sopranos Laurel Thomas and Mary Nessinger. Future performances include new works for the Portland Symphony and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra. The first compact disc collection of his orchestral music appeared on Centaur, and individual works apped on several labels induding Albany, Vienna Modern Masters, and New Ariel.

As a pianist, Jacob counts as his principal teachers, Mieczyslaw Munz, Carlo Zecchi, and Leon Fleisher. Since his debut with the London Philharmonic in Royal Festival Hall, he has appeared as piano soloist with over 20 orchestras internationally including the Moscow, St. Petersburg, Seattle, Portland (ME), Indianapolis, Charleston, Sao Paulo and Brazil National Symphonies, the Silesian, Moravian, North Czech, and Royal Queenstown Philharmonics. A noted proponent of contemporary music, he has performed the world premieres of works written for him by George Crumb, Vincent Persichetti, Gunner Schuller, Samuel Adler, Francis Routh, and many others. He has performed solo recitals in London, Dublin, Glasgow, Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Prague, Warsaw, Bucharest, Milan, Madrid, Helsinki, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Havana, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Ottawa, and throughout the U.S.

Jeffrey Jacob has recorded over 50 works for solo piano and piano and orchestra including his critically acclaimed series of CDs of the complete piano music of Samuel Barber and George Crumb and major works of Béla Bartók. Fanfare magazine recently devoted a Feature article to his series of CDs For New Ariel Recordings entitled "Contemporary American Eclectic Music for the Piano.” Additionally, he has made radio recordings for Radio Warsaw, Radio Prague, and Brazil National Radio, as well as a series of recordings of American music for the BBC. He is currently Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana.

IN MEMORIAM For two pianos and orchestra was written in the winter and spring of 2002 and was premiered in June of that year in Prague by the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic conducted by Jon Mitchell The work is dedicated to the children of the Middle East. Jacob writes, “On one particular day in early 2002, I read of the deaths of two small children, one Israeli, one Palestinian, victims of Middle East violence. I wanted to write a meditative, thoughtful work in their honor, a piece without harshness and rhetoric but simple commemoration and love.”

The work consists of three contrasting movements: “Elegy,” “Children’s Games,” and “Legacy.” The opening movement begins with a complex contrapuntal sonority falling gradually, inexorably, and punctuated by the lowest notes on the piano. The following cadenza presents a wall of A-minor sound penetrated by short, declamatory melodic motives. Another contrapuntal section, this one exploiting wind instruments and pianos, proceeds from mystery through turbulence to resolution. Finally, in an evocative recapitulation of the opening, the pianos become music boxes; their mechanically precise, upper register motives first accompany and later perform the original string melodies.

The second movement, entitled “Children’s Games” and subtitled “After the Bruegel Painting,” is a glittering scherzo. Wind, percussion, and piano motives convey energy, vitality, and grace. As in a number of Jacob scores, repeated melodic motives eventually recede into the background and become accompanyment patterns for new melodic material. The contrasting “B” or “Trio” section features gently syncopated jazz rhythms in the pianos.

The Final movement opens with a long, freely expressive passage for solo cello. After turbulent sections for pianos and winds, the coda of the first movement, with pianos again functioning as music boxes, brings the work to a dignified close.