Gordon Jacob


Born: July 5, 1895; London, England   Died: June 8, 1984; Saffron Walden  
Gordon Jacob was an important twentieth century English composer whose eclectic conservatism and willingness to produce attractive trifles set him at odds with most of the progressives and elitists of his day. Over the 60 or so years of activity as a composer, he produced symphonies, concertos for various instruments, choral works, a ballet, chamber music, band music, patriotic scores during wartime, film scores, and various arrangements, Read more including one of the more popular orchestrations of Les Sylphides. He also wrote four important books, including Orchestral Technique: A Manual for Students (1931), which illuminates issues of orchestration and instrumentation; and The Elements of Orchestration (1962), which further elucidates matters of scoring. Jacob also authored numerous essays on music and taught music for more than 40 years. He received commissions to write music for state occasions, including the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, for which he produced a brassy arrangement of the English National Anthem. His more often encountered works include the two numbered symphonies and the comical overture The Barber of Seville Goes to the Devil.

Jacob was born in London on July 5, 1895, the youngest of 10 children. Educated at Dulwich College, he served in the army during World War I and was lucky to return home: he was one of only 60 survivors of the 800 soldiers in his battalion.

Jacob received his musical training at the Royal College of Music under Vaughan Williams, Stanford, and other notables. Jacob himself joined the faculty there in 1924 and held the post until 1966. He wrote music and arrangements for the Sadlers Wells Ballet Company in the 1930s, and in the next decade turned out patriotic pieces and film scores for the war effort.

Jacob's Music for a Festival was an immediate hit at the 1951 Festival of Britain. The 1959 Ken Russell-directed BBC TV documentary about the life of Jacob divulged both the composer's conservative artistry and his importance, then at its peak, in England. The year of the film's release Jacob remarried (his first wife died childless in 1958), and fathered two children to his second wife. After his 1966 retirement from the RCM Jacob remained active, though his reputation was in decline owing to the more fashionable works by serial and other progressive-minded composers. Jacob's 1984 Concerto for Timpani and Wind Band is among his more important late works. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 63 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Blessings Flow / Yozviak, West Chester University Wind Ensemble
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 54389 Release Date: 08/09/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Brett William Dietz,  Gordon Jacob,  David Maslanka
    Performer:  Elizabeth Pfaffle
    Conductor:  Andrew Yozviak
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  West Chester University Wind Ensemble
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  • 2.
    Memories of Hope / Sorores Duo
    Label: Soundset   Catalog: 1110 Release Date: 06/11/2019  
    Composer:  Gordon Jacob,  Mátyás Seiber,  Lori Laitman,  William Vollinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sorores Duo
    CD: $16.99
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  • 3.
    On the Dancefloor / Spark
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 301069 Release Date: 08/03/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sebastian Bartmann,  Maurice Ravel,  Max Reger,  Stig Anderson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spark
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  • 4.
    Michala Petri: The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 19075821022 Release Date: 06/22/2018   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Giuseppe Sammartini,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Michala Petri,  Keith Jarrett,  Elizabeth Selin,  Lars Hannibal  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Vladimir Spivakov,  George Malcolm,  Okko Kamu  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra,  Guildhall String Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 5.
    British Violin Concertos / Howick, Llewellyn, BBC Scottish Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573791 Release Date: 12/01/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Patterson,  Kenneth Leighton,  Gordon Jacob
    Performer:  Clare Howick
    Conductor:  Grant Llewellyn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
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  • 6.
    UK DK / Petri, Esfahani
    Label: Our Recordings   Catalog: 6220611 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henning Christiansen,  Gordon Jacob,  Vagn Holmboe,  Daniel Kidane  ... 
    Performer:  Michala Petri,  Mahan Esfahani
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  • 7.
    Piano Concertos by Jacob, Carwithen and Williamson / Jenkinson, Bebbington, Innovation Ensemble
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 254 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gordon Jacob,  Malcolm Williamson,  Doreen Carwithen
    Performer:  Mark Bebbington
    Conductor:  Richard Jenkinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Innovation Chamber Ensemble
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  • 8.
    Live From The Hill
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 50516 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gordon Jacob,  Haydn Wood,  Valerie Coleman,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Conductor:  Gary Schallert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Western Kentucky University Wind Ensemble
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  • 9.
    English Recorder Works / Jill Kemp
    Label: Music & Media   Catalog: 103 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lennox Berkeley,  Malcolm Arnold,  Gordon Jacob,  York Bowen  ... 
    Performer:  Jill Kemp,  Aleksander Szram
    CD: $18.99
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  • 10.
    Viola Sonatas, Idylls & Bacchanals
    Label: Em Records   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arnold Bax,  John McEwen,  Dame Elizabeth Maconchy,  Gordon Jacob  ... 
    Performer:  Louise Williams,  David Owen Norris
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  • 11.
    Music For Bassoon
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9107 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gordon Jacob,  Franz Danzi,  Anton Reicha
    Performer:  Daniel Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Coull String Quartet
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  • 12.
    Old Wine In New Bottles
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572762 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Donald Grantham,  Gordon Jacob,  Steven Bryant,  Carter Pann
    Conductor:  Stephen L. Gage
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Youngstown State University Wind Ensemble
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  • 13.
    British Band Classics
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 227 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gordon Jacob,  Sir William Walton,  Gustav Holst
    Conductor:  Frederick Fennell
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  • 14.
    Bassoon Concertos - Vivaldi, Jacob, Francaix, C.P.E. Bach / Christian Kunert
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 12240 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Gordon Jacob,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Jean Françaix
    Performer:  Christian Kunert
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  • 15.
    Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee - Royal Music From Westminster Abbey
    Label: Griffin   Catalog: 4077 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  George Frideric Handel,  Traditional,  Anonymous  ... 
    Conductor:  Martin Neary
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Brass,  Westminster Abbey Choir
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  • 16.
    English Recorder Concertos - Harvey, Arnold, Jacob / Michala Petri
    Label: Our Recordings   Catalog: 6220606 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Harvey,  Malcolm Arnold,  Gordon Jacob
    Performer:  Michala Petri
    Conductor:  Jean Thorel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hong Kong City Chamber Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Souvenir / Michala Petri, Lars Hannibal
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 62530 Release Date: 04/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Thomas Koppel,  Ernst Krähmer  ... 
    Performer:  Lars Hannibal,  Michala Petri
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  • 18.
    Gordon Jacob: Chamber Music With Recorder
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572364 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gordon Jacob
    Performer:  Annabel Knight,  Robin Bigwood,  David Angel,  Michal Kaznowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fontanella,  Maggini String Quartet
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  • 19.
    English Recorder Music
    Label: British Music Society   Catalog: 425 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edmund Rubbra,  Antony Hopkins,  Colin Hand,  Franz Reizenstein  ... 
    Performer:  Ross Winters,  Andrew Ball
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  • 20.
    English Viola Sonatas / Martin Outram, Julian Rolton
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572208 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lennox Berkeley,  Frederick Delius,  Malcolm Arnold,  John Ireland  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Outram,  Julian Rolton
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  • 21.
    Lyrita - Celebrating Fifty Years Devoted To British Music - Set Two
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 2338 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gordon Jacob
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 22.
    Music from the Land of Hope and Glory /
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT29522 Release Date: 01/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Gordon Jacob,  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  "President's Own" United States Marine Band
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  • 23.
    Joie De Vivre!
    Label: Panoramicos   Catalog: 5637577712 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Astor Piazzolla,  Margaret Griebling-Haigh,  Richard Strauss,  Thomas Janson  ... 
    Performer:  Randall Fusco,  Richard King,  Danna Sundet,  Thomas C. Moore  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 24.
    Psalms, Hymns,  Spiritual Songs
    Label: Da Chiesa   Catalog: 5637564634 Release Date: 09/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Hugo Distler,  Eric Nelson,  F. Melius Christiansen  ... 
    Performer:  Kathleen Cleveland,  Lavert Woodard,  Bob Hoffman
    CD: $26.99
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  • 25.
    In This Hid Clearing... / O'neal, U Of Missouri Symphonic Wind Ensemble
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572108 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Gordon Jacob,  Jack Stamp,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Performer:  Derrick Fox,  Jo Ella Todd
    Conductor:  Thomas J. O'Neal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Missouri Wind Ensemble
    CD: $11.99
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