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Classical Music Review

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Composer: Jeffrey Jacob
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 13 September 2019

Navona Records release a selection of composer Jeffrey Jacob's works on the album Dreamers. Over the course of these six pieces (9 tracks, 1 hr, 05 min, 55 sec) the composer weaves a tapestry of emotive themes that are guaranteed to touch even the coldest of hearts...

In 2016, composer and pianist Jeffrey Jacob (Reawakening) conducted interviews with children of illegal immigrants, whose plight ended up inspiring the pianist's fifth symphony. While the work is quite condensed time wise, it still manages to pack the whole gamut of human sentiment, with the movements titled 'I. Lagrimas [Tears]', 'II. Fear; Grace', and 'III. Separation, Grief; Resolution, Triumph'.

This is followed by three works for piano and orchestra, with Jacob at the piano. This is followed by the two-movement 'The Persistence of Memory', in which Jacob shifts his aim from the 20th to the mid-19th century. After a modern introduction, the listener is greeted with a quotation of Schumann's 'Fantasy Dance', and the lamenting solo cello contrasted with lyrical piano lines is a direct reminder of the German composer's 'Piano Trio No. 2'.

The album closes with 'Final Sanctuary', which harks back to the centrepiece of Dreamers, his symphony: a lone oboe interspersed with electronics. This is an impressively diverse album what still manages to pack an emotional punch.

It took me ages to fathom where I'd heard the main theme that's at the centre of 'Sanctuary I', and I'm not entirely convinced I've pinned it down, but I do know I've heard it before - or something very similar. I might be wrong, but I think that David Mansfield's score for The Sicilian might have been inspirational here.

It's an incredibly impressive collection of emotionally charged pieces that never disappoint.

Track listing:

Symphony No. 5 (Dreamers)
Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra
Jiří Petrdlík (conductor)
Jeffrey Jacob (piano)
01 - Rain, Lagrimas (Tears) (5:47)
02 - Fear; Grace (5:51)
03 - Separation, Grief; Resolution, Triumph (8:00)

04 - Sanctuary I (6:13)
Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra
Daniel Spalding (conductor)

05 - Adagietto (6:38)
Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Joel Spiegleman (conductor)
Jeffrey Jacob (piano)

06 - Epitaph (10:22)
Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra
Jon Mitchell (conductor)
Jeffrey Jacob (piano)

The Persistence of Memory
Cleveland Chamber Symphony
Edwin London (conductor)
Jeffrey Jacob (piano)
07 - Haunting, Pagan, Restless (8:42)
08 - Misterioso; Resolution; Ecstasy (7:23)

09 - Final Sanctuary (7:02)
Jeffrey Jacob (oboe & electronics)


Darren Rea

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