Jeffrey JACOB: “Reawakening” – Jeffrey Jacob (p., comp.) / Enrique Mesa / Daniel Spalding / Lara Turner – Novana Records

“Reawakening” = Music of Jeffrey JACOB – various orchestras and ensembles (track details below), Jeffrey Jacob (piano) Navona Records CD NV6087 TT:  62:00 (4/14/17) ****

Lush and well recorded contemporary orchestral and ensemble music

Composer Jeffrey Jacob has written four symphonies, three piano concertos, and numerous works for piano and chamber ensemble. Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Symphony premiered his Symphony: Winter Lightning. 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 Charleston Spoleto Festival.

On this disc we get 8 works by the composer, recorded with various ensembles and orchestras, including, notably, the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. They played Jacobs’ Awakening for Piano and Orchestra, the first American composed piece played in 5 decades.

The music is generally contemplative – what I might term ‘night music’. Although the pieces vary some in tone, they are all thematically similar, and a good listen.

Particularly compelling works I thought, were Awakenings, The Loch Before Sunrise and A Mirror Upon the Waters.

The recordings, done in multiple venues, are quite consistent, nicely spotlighting the piano and cello in some of the works, with a nice orchestral balance for the larger pieces. Dynamics are clean, and the stereo image is solid stretched between my two front speakers.

Jacobs is a skilled composer and performer. If you haven’t heard him, Reawakening is a fine place to start your relationship with him. If you’ve heard him before, Reawakening is a fine addition to your collection.

Track list: 

01   AWAKENING FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA
National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba  |  Enrique Perez Mesa conductor
Jeffrey Jacob pianist

02   THE LOCH BEFORE SUNRISE
The Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey |  Daniel Spalding conductor
Jeffrey Jacob pianist

03   A MIRROR UPON THE WATERS
The Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey  |  Daniel Spalding conductor
Jeffrey Jacob pianist

04   MUSIC FOR HAITI
The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra  |  Daniel Spalding conductor

05   REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST
The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra |  Daniel Spalding conductor

SONATA FOR CELLO AND PIANO
Lara Turner cello, Jeffrey Jacob piano
06  Lullaby
07  Expectant; Soaring

08   REAWAKENING
Jeffrey Jacob piano

—Mel Martin

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