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.
(Note that all files are in m4a format, download the files first before playing them)
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For the last of this my five-part string quartet series (and my 100th blog post) I’ve decided to post more string quartets at once than I ever have before.
Following the work’s epigram “written In tempore belli” (in time of war) “Black Angels” is one of George Crumb’s most mystical and emotionally affecting works. To evoke the subtitle ““Thirteen Images from the Dark Land” the work requires a plethora of other-wordly extra-instrumental techniques and that the performers of the quartet also sing and each perform a number of percussion instruments including a glass harmonic (the sound of which it has been rumored to cause insanity). In our current era of extended and seemingly endless bloody conflicts this is still a very necessary work that still resonates strong.
Roger Reynold’s “Ariadne’s Thread” refers to the Greek legend of Ariadne and a method of problem solving called Ariadne’s Thread. In this work the string quartet weaves darkly with electronic sounds to create an environment and narrative that is both eerie and haunting.
“Tetras” represents a culmination of many Xenakis’s compositional techniques and successful virtuosic writing for string quartet. For many years I admittedly had a lot of trouble dealing with and understanding Xenakis’s music. The first piece that I began to actually appreciate was “Jalons” particularly because of one moment with a kaleidoscopic view on a synthetic scale. A few years later I heard “Tetras” and it became the first Xenakis piece that I really enjoyed.
With moments of strong tonality and an aching third movement that sounds as though it were lifted from a long lost late-Beethoven string quartet, George Rochberg’s third string quartet caused a large amount of controversy after its premiere. Early in his career George Rochberg was one of the strongest and finest proponents of serial music in the U.S.A. until his son died in 1963 and after an esthetic crisis he found that tonality was the only way that he could write that accurately expressed his grief. In my opinion, this quartet (along with the other three in the series of Concord Quartet) stands as the culmination of this emotional development in this later phase of George Rochberg’s music.
This tendency in my Mp3 blog posts reflects my love for the string quartet medium. To further celebrate this love I’ve decided that in the next seven days I’m going to post eleven different string quartets from the last century. To start this week I’m posting here the eleventh complete string quartet I've posted on my blog and also the only other string quartet by Helmut Lachenmann that I hadn't posted until now – “Riegen seliger Geister.” Enjoy!
I’m not sure I know what Helmut Lachenmann meant when he titled this string quartet “Grido;” however, listening to this work I am reminded of Michaelango Antonioni’s 1957 Neo-Realist masterpiece “Il Grido” (“The Outcry”).
In this movie a mother married to a man who hasn’t lived in the village for years one day suddenly tells her lover that her husband has died and she now cannot continue their relationship. The man is distraught and futilely begs her to reconsider. Right after these failed attempts the man decides to leave town unsure whether he is running from his pain or seeking some new start and form of consolation. While traveling the man meets and stays with a few women – each beautiful and beautifully lonely – who fall or have fallen for him and display their willingness to devote themselves as fully to him as he was devoted to his lover.
In the end when the man returns to the town he left crestfallen the village’s workers have begun to riot. The workers’ seemingly superficial social outcry reflects his unbearable personal outcry. In the final scene, minutes after returning to the town, the man returns to the location of his old job which all of his coworkers refuse to work. His former lover finds out he has returned and runs after him. When she finally desperately reaches him it is to late and the movie ends. His outcry is transformed into her silence.
”Schwankungen am Rand” (1974-75) For brass, four percussionists, two electric guitars, two pianos, and strings Performed by SWF-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg conducted by Ernest Bour Available on this compact disc
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I am a little reluctant to say much about Helmut Lachenmann besides laugh that I’m posting this after posting an mp3 blog entry featuring Philip Glass.
Although Lachenmann’s music is rarely heard in the United States, or the Western Hemisphere for that matter, he is considered one of biggest names in contemporary composition in most of Europe especially in his native Germany. I’m also a little reluctant to write much about Lachenmann because I’ve seen his esthetics exert something close to a cult-like dogmatic influence amongst some of my colleagues, because so much has recently been published on his music (for example see the recent issues of Contemporary Music Review, an English translation by Sequenza 21’s own Evan Johnson, and – for those who read German – the recently published collection of Lachenmann's writings) and furthermore – to be completely honest – I’m still struggling to fully understand what Lachenmann does and aims to do in his music.
That said I have a great respect and admiration for Lachenmann’s forward thinking compositional approach. These two works demonstrate something that I would feel confident in calling “Lachenmann-esque” – a focus on what one would call in other contexts “extra-instrumental techniques” and the pure physicality required to produce sound from all instruments to create a new (possibly more natural) hybrid ensemble which is largely treated as one instrument or entity. I personally find that these formal, structural, and timbral exploratory techniques engender his music with a certain highly imagination excitement.
“Gran Torso” (the first Lachenmann piece that ever made any sense to me) achieves this aim by largely focusing on the string players’ excessive bow pressure (or grain/”granum”) to create an alternatively dramatic and unaffected disembodied entity (or “torso”). “Schwankungen am Rand” works similarly but on a much larger scale with a sonic focus on brass and sheet metal in its many manifestations. The larger palette in this piece creates a sound world that is both ripely volatile with abandon and delicately intimate.