Jacob David Sudol(b. Des Moines, Iowa 1980) writes intimate compositions that explore enigmatic phenomena and the inner nature of how we perceive sound. He recently finished his M.Mus. at McGill University and currently resides in La Jolla, CA where he is working towards a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California at San Diego with Roger Reynolds, Chinary Ung, Philippe Manoury, and Rand Steiger.
Over the last five years some of Jacob's mentors in composition have included John Rea, Denys Bouliane, Philippe Leroux, Sean Ferguson, Dan Asia, and Craig Walsh. He has also participated in master classes with Danish composer Bent Sørensen and German composer Manfred Stahnke.
During 2005-2006, Jacob was the first-ever composer-in-residence for the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Denys Bouliane, in collaboration with the McGill Digital Composition Studio. He has also written music for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Contemporary Keyboard Society, percussionist Fernando Rocha, saxophonist Elizabeth Bunt, and clarinetist Krista Martynes. As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, he composed the music for a collaborative dance project with choreographer Hillary Peterson, and he was the principal composer and pianist for El Proyecto de Santa Barbara, a chamber Latin jazz ensemble.
During the 2005 and 2007 Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques and 2006 MusiMars festivals Jacob was an electronic assistant for performances with Court-Circuit, Matt Haimovitz, Sara Laimon, Martin Matalon, Moritz Eggert, Manfred Stahnke, the Caput Ensemble, and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. These concerts were broadcast by the CBC and the European Broadcasting Union in over fifty countries throughout the world. He is currently a studio research assistant for Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds.
During his free time Jacob takes an active interest in religious phenomenology, cinema, acoustics, literature, poetry, and visual art. As a composer and performer, he always attempts to bring insights from these other fields into his work.
All music posted on this blog is posted out of love and the idea that for the truly great music of our time(s) to be known it must first and foremost be heard. If you like what you hear please support the artist by buying the recordings, scores, and/or encouraging the performances of the music in every way possible.
If you are the composer, performer, performing organization, artist or directly represent the composer, performer, performing organization, or artist of anything posted on this website and would like your material removed please contact me and I will happily oblige.
Conlon Nancarrow String Quartet #3 (1987( I II III Performed by the Arditti String Quartet Currently out of print
(Note the Nancarrow quartet is in m4a format, download the files first before playing them)
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Between threedifferentposts I’ve posted more music by Ligeti than any other composer. Since this particular post is in the middle of a series where I am post even more of a medium that I’ve posted the most of it only seems natural to me to post even more of the composer I’ve posted the most music from.
When people discuss Ligeti usually they focus in on his music written during or after the sixties. Little attention is often paid to the music written before then in what is often called his “early period.” In my opinion Ligeti’s first string quartet – which was written for his drawer since its contemporary approaches were banned by the Communist Hungary government of the time – is the one real masterpiece from this period in his compositional development. The style strongly recalls the Bela Bartok’s later quartets, particularly the third and fourth particularly in its rhythmic and visceral explorations focus on the difference between major and minor seconds. However, this quartet looks much farther than Bartok’s ever did and also show the first real signs of the micropolyphonic and rhythmic esthetic that came to mark Ligeti’s finest works.
It's hard to dismiss the influence Conlon Nancarrow played on the later works of Ligeti. I could easily compare a few Ligeti pieces to the Nancarrow player piano studies that preceded them to make this point but that’s a topic for another post.
On Monday I had the unique opportunity to hear Charlemagne Palestine perform the Cassavant Gallery Organ at the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral in Montréal. For this concert (which was recorded for a possible future release) Charlemagne Palestine fittingly performed his improvised composition Schlingen Blängen: An ascension for Shirley Lipschitz 1912-2006 as a memorial for his recently deceased mother.
Charlemagne Palestine recorded an earlier version of Schlingen Blängen in 1979. ( The recording was recently reissued on compact disc. The original 70 minute recording comprises one depressed organ note undergoing slow and hypnotic timbral transformations. The effect is very similar to the much quicker timbral transformations featured in Ligeti’s organ work, Volumina.
Although similar in concept and technique to the original recording of Schlingen Blängen, Monday’s concert carried a greater emotional affect. At the beginning of the two hour performance, Charlemagne Palestine walked around the cathedral’s navel while singing and rubbing the rim of a brandy glass. Afterwards, he depressed one chord on the organ and slowly began to add notes and timbral richness. About an hour later the organ suddenly stopped in a deafening silence until a distant recapitulation of the beginning sounded from the back of the cathedral. Another prolonged organ crescendo followed. This time the timbres were thicker while the harmony included sliding and percussive clusters. The extended climax recalled the beginning of Volumina as every organ stop was opened and a complete cluster screamed off every wall in an impenetrable mixture of agony and joy. It was one of those musical moments that is impossible to record and, likewise, impossible to forget. Afterwards, the organ stops were slowly returned and the work ended with a silence more startling yet definitive than the about one an hour before.
To date, the memorial’s resonance seems greater than I can find the words express and I’m sure that Charlemagne Palestine’s mother and Ligeti appreciate it in their collective ascension.
My first tribute to Ligeti was posted in a hurry and regrettably brief. Since Ligeti has played such a pivotal role in my compositional thought, I’ve decided to make up for my previous brevity with this post. After a lot of listening I’ve chosen a collection of mp3s that, in my humble opinion, make one kick ass Ligeti mix cd. Of course, if you don’t have own any recordings of Ligeti I recommend running out and buying The Ligeti Project I (which I instantly bought a second time after losing my first copy) and The Ligeti Edition 3: Works for Piano. If, on the other hand, you have already some Ligeti’s music go out and buy whatever else you can find because most of he wrote is worth hearing repeatedly.
The hardest part in arranging my tribute was deciding what to leave out. I desperately wanted to include Three Pieces for Two Pianos, the Piano Concerto, Book One of the Piano Etudes, Volumina for organ, the five octave Eb in the Chamber’s Concerto’s first movement, and – had I been able to find it – Glissandi. Regrettably, I also left out a few selections that just seemed too obvious like Lux Aeterna and the Requiem.
With three exceptions, I’ve decided to focus mostly on Ligeti’s late period. Although his middle period (late 50’s through mid 70’s) seems to the best known, thanks mostly to Kubrick’s fine musical taste, I really think that Ligeti’s best works come from the later period when rhythm became more of a central parameter.
Lontano (available on The Ligeti Project II) is my favorite orchestral work by Ligeti. I am always struck by the massive orchestral force and harmonic beauty in this piece. Continuum (available on The Ligeti Edition 5) is one of the best contemporary harpsichord works and one of the neglected little gems in Ligeti’s catalogue. The third movement of the Chamber Concerto (available on The Ligeti Project I ) echoes his Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes, signals a rhythmic focus that would predominate Ligeti’s later period, and is just one of the best damn three and a half minutes of music there is.
Ligeti’s Horn Trio (available on The Ligeti Edition 7) uses the same instrumentation as Brahm’s Horn Trio and is often considered the first piece in Ligeti’s late period. The melodic invention, rhythmic focus, and an almost romantic drama probably made this work seem strange to the Hamburg audience that was at the work’s premiere. Although this work sounds little like Ligeti ‘s earlier works, what distinguishes it has proven itself over time and will remain as a cornerstone of his ever-fruitful ouevre
Some other masterpieces from Ligeti’s late period are the Violin Concerto (available on The Ligeti Project III) and the Piano Etudes (available on The Ligeti Edition 3). The Piano Etudes are, in my humble opinion, the best piano works written in the last fifty year and the best collection of piano etudes since Chopin’s.
The last selection is taken from Ligeti’s wryly profound Hamburg Concerto (available on The Ligeti Project IV). The four obligatto horns recall the Epilogue in Grisey’s L’espace Acoustique and this movement’s final chord is truly an acoustic phenomena to behold.
Today, Monday June 12th 2006, Gyorgy Ligeti passed away.
When I first began composing seriously in college I was unable to find reconcile my love for stastical patterns, experimental extremes, and musical wit with the complex post-tonal shards we have left. I first found this reconcilation in Ligeti and have never thought about composition the same since.
At the last McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble concert one of Ligeti's former students, Denys Bouliane, conducted the premiere of my work Time Fixtures and Ligeti's late masterpiece, The Hamburg Concerto. After the concert I talked with Denys about his personal recollections of Ligeti and felt that I had travelled some strange circle.
I'll post my favorite Ligeti works later this week. It's going to be hard to decide what to post since he wrote so many masterpieces.