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
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
Marys 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,
Childrens 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 Childrens 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.