Sequoias

The Music Of Jeffrey Jacob

Jeffrey Jacob composer

Release Date: March 25, 2022
Catalog #: NV6411
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Orchestral
Solo Instrumental
Orchestra
Piano
String Quartet

SEQUOIAS from composer Jeffrey Jacob and Navona Records is an ode to the entrancing qualities of the natural world, echoing through music an appreciation for its transcendental beauty and concern for the devastating impact of climate change. Inspired by what he calls “cathedral-like sentinels of nature,” Symphony No. 6 meditates on the magnificence and grandeur of the tall trees towering in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. With other pieces inspired by the limitless reverberations conjured from the forest and the natural light that illuminates it, SEQUOIAS showcases the composer’s creative ambition and commitment to the environment.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Symphony No. 6 "Sequoias": I. The Forest Awakens Jeffrey Jacob Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor; Jeffrey Jacob, piano 6:19
02 Symphony No. 6 "Sequoias": II. Under Siege Jeffrey Jacob Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor; Jeffrey Jacob, piano 5:48
03 Symphony No. 6 "Sequoias": III. Meditation Jeffrey Jacob Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor; Jeffrey Jacob, piano 4:04
04 Symphony No. 6 "Sequoias": IV. Moist Stars Jeffrey Jacob Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Stanislav Vavřínek, conductor; Jeffrey Jacob, piano 5:23
05 Music for Strings, Percussion, and Oboe: I. Taut, Anxious Jeffrey Jacob The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra | Daniel Spalding, conductor; Jeffrey Jacob, piano 4:49
06 Music for Strings, Percussion, and Oboe: II. Tranquil, Graceful Jeffrey Jacob The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra | Daniel Spalding, conductor; Jeffrey Jacob, piano 9:00
07 Two Pieces for Piano: I. Forest Murmurs Jeffrey Jacob Jeffrey Jacob, piano 7:08
08 Two Pieces for Piano: II. The Breath of the Earth Jeffrey Jacob Jeffrey Jacob, piano 5:22
09 String Quartet No. 2: I. Tense, Expectant Jeffrey Jacob The New England Quartet 5:19
10 String Quartet No. 2: II. Pensive, Nostalgic Jeffrey Jacob The New England Quartet 6:06

Tracks 1-4, 7-8
Recorded September 8-9, 2021 at Reduta Hall in Olomouc, Czech Republic
Recording Producer Jan Košulič
Recording Engineer Aleš Dvořák
Editing & Mixing Jan Košulič, Lucas Paquette, and Melanie Montgomery

Tracks 5-6
Recorded May 6, 2018 at the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia PA
Recording and Sound Engineer Stephen Rossmeisl

Tracks 9-10
Recorded March 11, 2013 at Futura Productions in Roslindale MA
Session Producer, Editing, and Mixing Andy Happel
Recording Engineer John Weston

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Lewis

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Assistant Martina Watzková
Mastering Melanie Montgomery

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran
Content Manager Sara Warner

Artist Information

Jeffrey Jacob

Jeffrey Jacob

Composer

In August 2020, Jeffrey Jacob was named Composer-in-Residence with the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. He has written six symphonies, three piano concertos, three string quartets, and numerous works for piano and chamber ensemble. Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Symphony premiered his Symphony: Winter Lightning. The London Symphony recorded his Symphony No. 3. The Moscow and St. Petersburg Symphonies premiered respectively his Piano Concertos 1 and 2 with the composer as soloist. The Gregg Smith Singers premiered his Sleeping At Last for mixed chorus and solo cello. Jacob’s 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 Spoleto Festival.

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Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra

Orchestra

The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the foremost and oldest symphony orchestras in the Czech Republic. It is based in the historical capital of Moravia, the city of Olomouc, and has been a leader of music activities in the region for the past 70 years. Its artistic development was directly influenced by distinguished figures from the Czech and international music scene.

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Notes

All of the works recorded here were inspired directly or indirectly by scenes from the natural world symbolized by the magnificent Sequoias of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, cathedral-like sentinels of nature, among the largest and most ancient of living things.

— Jeffrey Jacob

The first movement of Symphony No. 6 suggests the forest awakening in the early morning. Short motives scored for alto flute, oboe, and clarinet contrast with long, lush melodic lines in the strings. The second movement, “Under Siege,” evokes the terror and paralysis of the forest assaulted by fire, climate change, and other degradations. Tension is generated through angular melodic lines pierced by short, abrupt motives in the piano and percussion. The intensity rises steadily through an agitated brass fanfare at the very end of the movement.

“Meditation,” the symphony’s slow movement, is scored only for strings and piano. The music is serene and nostalgic, characterized by soaring lines and contrapuntal imitation. The last movement, “Moist Stars” (Shakespeare), was inspired by the arcing transcendence of the Milky Way seen from the Giants Forest in Sequoia National Park. Throughout, cellos and violins alternate with the principal melodic ideas. The climax of the movement and of the symphony features intense contrapuntal weaving of soaring melodic material between winds and strings. The work ends quietly with upper register piano and percussion evoking dazzling points of light in the night sky.

— Jeffrey Jacob

This work pays homage to Béla Bartók’s hauntingly austere Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste. The first movement is anxious and turbulent. Percussion and piano provide a background of tension while angular melodic lines in the strings and oboe build in intensity. The suppressed emotions of the opening emerge into great turmoil at the end of the movement. The second movement, inspired by the beauty and stillness of Yosemite, exists on a different plane. Gentleness, hope, and reconciliation are suggested by the pure, Lydian melodic lines of the oboe, piano, and strings.

— Jeffrey Jacob

These works are studies in sonority. “Forest Murmurs” is an evocation of nocturnal sounds. Short motives and resonances combine and contrast with long, limpid melodic lines. “The Breath of the Earth” was inspired by the limitless variety of wind sonorities and reverberations in the forest. The arpeggiated figures in the opening lines generate the harmonic material used throughout. The work concludes with a long passage of gentle upper register double notes and broken chords suggesting wind chimes activated by gentle breezes.

— Jeffrey Jacob

The String Quartet No. 2 was written at a time of depression and anxiety. The opening of both movements mirrors struggles with inner darkness. While I was composing this work, my good friend, the Spanish composer Sebastian Marine, sent me a beautiful album of his recent music entitled LUX, “Light.” I became obsessed with the abstract notion of struggling toward the light, epitomized by shafts of sunlight piercing the obscurity of the forest.

Each movement of the quartet breaks free of the weight of stress and anxiety and settles firmly into luminescence. Like all of my music, String Quartet No. 2 emphasizes above all, melody and the interweaving of contrapuntal melodic lines.

— Jeffrey Jacob