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.
Morton Feldman: String Quartet and Orchestra (1973) Performed by the Cleveland Quartet and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas conductor From the SUNY Buffalo Archives, not available commercially
The other day while talking to a friend about the elegaic qualities in Morton Feldman's works I ended up describing the circumstances under which Feldman decided to write "For Philip Guston." Afterwards I realized that it may have been a good idea to include this in my Mp3 Blog post that features the end of "For Philip Guston". Fortunately, this is why the internet's digital ether allows for addendums.
The following excerpt is from an introduction that Morton Feldman gave before a performance of "For Philip Guston" at Kloveniersdoelen, Middelburg, The Netherlands, on 6th July 1985. You can find the complete text here (scroll down on the link for the original English text).
"...The reason it's called For Philip Guston is that for the last eight years of his life we didn't speak to each other, though he had asked his family - and he knew he was going to die - that he wanted me to say kaddish in his grave, which I did. One of the reasons we didn't speak to each other, in fact the only reason we didn't speak to each other, was because his work changed, and I got very upset. I went to this very big show, I saw the new work and I didn't say anything. Where for twenty years I was excited - he meant more to me than anything in the world - and I was always responsive. I would see all the pictures [...] he would talk for hours, and then he went to Italy, came back, something happened, his work started to change, and when I went in and he asked me: "Well, what do you think?", I was silent for half a minute, and in that half a minute I lost his friendship.
So, in thinking about how we're so committed to aesthetic considerations, as if the Shi'ites and the Jews and the Sunni's and the Catholics and the Protestants, the same thing in art, you see. So I was no different than any kind of fanatic. I felt that only an abstract kind of art could exist, only an art like his earlier work, which I thought was sublime, more like Rothko or Pollock. I thought that no other work could exist.
And I noticed that I myself was changing the way he was changing. Not completely the way he was changing but at least to make me see what he was going through. And there wasn't just the times. It wasn't the fact that the times were changing, that I had to change... And then I understood his work only because a young man was writing a book about him and he came to visit. He asked me: "What do you think was on his mind?". I thought for a minute and then, without really formulating any point of view, I said: "Well, he stopped asking questions." And that's when I knew I wanted to write a piece in which I too stopped asking questions. Stop worrying whether you sit here or you walk out, whether someone wants to play it or they don't want to play it, what this one would think... I just didn't want to start with any preconception of what I was supposed to be doing. I felt that I worked long enough to decide that maybe I too would stop asking questions..."
In lieu of the best Montreal contemporary music concerts of the year list that I wrote last year I want to more carefully focus on a few remarkable composers, pieces, or performances that I heard live in the last year. One concert I went to that fits into all three categories of these categories was an intimate uninterrupted performance of Morton Feldman’s four and a half hour “For Philip Guston” by Claire Marchand, Brigitte Poulin, and D’Arcy Philip Gray.
By just including the last thirty minutes of this elegiac masterpiece I almost feel putting the carriage before horse, especially since this section works much better if you arrive it after listening to the rest of the work in a quiet and meditative state. However if you either take the time to really enjoy this fragment or this fragment compells you to seek out and listen to all of “For Philip Guston” my work is done.
Morton Feldman: ”Viola in My Life II” (1970) For Viola, Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Celesta, Violin, and Cello Performed by Karen Phillips, Paula Robison, Arthur Bloom, Raymond DesRoches, David Tudor, Anahid Ajemian, and Seymour Barab
You were my original love. When young, I promised to always love you first and foremost. Because of that, it pains me greatly to tell you I have a confession to make – I have fallen in love with another. Although I do promise that I will never stop loving you or fully lose my dedication to you, I cannot deny the sensual power that draws me to this other as much as, if not at times, more strongly than I am drawn to you.
Her name is the Viola. While you have the ability to express with more dynamic force than an entire orchestra, she is brittle and easily overwhelmed. While you can produce notes of equal beauty within a tessitura unsurpassed by any other instrument, she can barely sing beyond three octaves. While countless composers and performers have stretched your virtuosic prowess, she remains steady and has injured most who have tried to surpass her limits. And, furthermore, while you are grand and bear a formidable presence, she is delicate and can seduce with only one note.
I cannot explain this passion that I feel for the Viola. I am sure that to you –since she seems the exact opposite of you in every way – that you cannot understand how, after declaring my undying dedication to you, I could fall for an object so unworthy. I have struggled many long hours and sleepless nights trying to answer this very question and despite this I fear I cannot offer you an answer that will assuage your hurt questioning longing anymore than I stop loving her.
Possibly – and I say this to be honest rather than hurtful – while everything you say is destined to only exist sound as a glorious resonating decay, Viola seems to speak brittlely and more profoundly from within the very center of this dying decay that I love so much in all sound and in you.
I love piano. To display this, I’ve decided to create another post dedicated to the “magical resonance of the piano.” Last time, I chose ‘minimalist’ works that exaggerate and highlight the phenomenological brilliance of piano resonance. This time, I’ve chosen two works that are sculpted from the piano’s resonance and decay rather than the more conventional series of attack points.
“Territoires de L’oubli” is the grand pillar in Tristan Murail’s oeuvres for solo piano. Roughly translated as “Territories of the Lost,” the work uses a constantly depressed sustain pedal to show the various stages of a submerging minor ninth between B4 and C6. To emphasize this fluid motion, Murails models his seamlessly endless variety of materials on the periodic rise and fall of a sinuous wave.
“Palais de Mari” is one of the last works in Morton Feldman’sremarkable oeuvre. I am hesitant to write a lot about Morton Feldman’s music and aesthetic since so much has been written about him since the 80th anniversary of his birth. (For the curious, I would simply recommend the above link highlighting his name.) “Palais de Mari” holds a special place for me since it was the first Morton Feldman work I heard, the only one I knew for four years, and is often what I play before I go to sleep. Supposedly Bunita Marcus commissioned the work with the stipulation that Morton Feldman should try and compress everything that he was writing in his later style into a ‘short’ work. No matter how many times I have played and listened to this work, I still find new ways in which sumptuously fleeting internal links seem to decay and resonate from the page.