Jacob Swanson | wired.

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Classical: Contemporary Classical: Modernist Moods: Instrumental
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by Jacob Swanson

Wired. features concert-works for soprano saxophone and electronics.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. For the Fallen
7:07 album only
2. Mahogany
9:34 album only
3. Enlightenment: I. Tara - who labors day and night to relieve suffering
6:32 album only
4. Enlightenment: II. Dharmakara - on his journey
6:00 album only
5. Enlightenment: III. Pratyekabudda - a buddha on their own..
4:45 album only
6. You, Me & Pedro
6:17 album only
7. Portals: I. —
3:44 album only
8. Portals: II. —
6:42 album only
9. Retroactive Negotiability
8:05 album only
10. Light Disposition
12:19 album only
11. Edible Numbers
4:55 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“Originally composed for trumpet, ‘For the Fallen’ was commissioned by Ivano Ascari. I decided to take my inspiration from Capana dei Caduti (Bell for the Fallen) in Rovereto, Italy, Ascari’s hometown. I created the electronic track from recordings of the Capana dei Caduti. Fashioned from cannons melted after WWI, this bell is one of the largest ringing bells in the world and is rung daily in memory of the fallen in all wars. While political situations change in their particulars, the presence of war does not. I composed ‘For the Fallen’ while thinking not only of those who fell in World War I, but also of those who have continued to fall in war since then. At times, the saxophone blends with the bell sounds ringing for the fallen, while at other times it rises in mourning before ultimately closing with a sense of resignation.”
– Judith Shatin

“‘Mahogany’ focuses on the phenomenon of sum and difference tones in our auditory system. This phenomenon, when two tones are sounded simultaneously, produces two pitches —a summation and a difference between the two pitches—that only exist cognitively in your own head. The piece features a pure-wave oscillator and a soprano saxophone working, in what seems to be, against each other. The pure-wave oscillator slides up and down to specific pitches that were generated from the sound produced by a struck piece of mahogany. The saxophone often anticipates the frequency of the pure-wave oscillator only to be surpassed moments after they fall in tune.” – Timothy Bausch

“Written for the saxophonist Jacob Swanson, ‘Enlightenment’ is a collaboration based on ideas and figures from Buddhist philosophy. Rather than trying to sonically paint Buddhism, the piece aims to illustrate relatable states of mind and create a space for contemplation.” – Jared Yackiw

“‘You, Me & Pedro’ begins with a straightforward tune which then changes tempo irregularly before layering over itself at many different simultaneous speeds. What happens to the music gradually over time is meant to represent the unpredictability of life, and was inspired by meeting an old Mexican man named Pedro near Ensanada, Mexico in the fall of 2016. The piece features nine prerecorded saxophones, soprano through bass, as the accompanying tape.” – Ruby Fulton

“I began writing ‘Portals’ as a reaction to the more serious chamber compositions I was working on at the time. Sometimes, it just feels great to let loose. The resulting piece is a karaoke-like track full of synths and drums, and a driving saxophone part with playful melodies and rhythmic twists. The first movement is a primordial, almost sci-fi scattering of sounds and echoes. Those sounds coalesce into the second movement's undeniably pop grooves.” – Nathan Hall

‘Retroactive Negotiability’ for soprano saxophone and digital audio playback (“tape”) was composed for Jacob Swanson. The piece came about after Jacob and his duo partner, Sarah Marchitelli (Decho Ensemble), performed new works by Norwegian composers in 2016. While the piece for Decho, ‘Spiritual Negotiation,’ also included digital audio playback, the material used in this solo piece is quite different. The track for Decho was based on recordings of various metal sounds, while the track for the solo piece is all recordings of my voice. The material for the soprano sax is laid out on a timeline with spatial notation rather than standard rhythmic notation. The performer uses a stopwatch to keep track of time and to be in sync with the digital track. The title of the piece also connects back to the original duo.” – Hugo Harmens

“The path to my piece, ‘Light Disposition,’ probably began about 20 years ago, with a loud diminished seventh followed by a long silence. Beethoven was, for me, the master of suspending listeners in discordant uncertainty and leaving them there, and I found that experience both blissful and exciting at the same time. Later I came to the managed, overloading discord of Shostakovich string quartets, then later still to music such as Penderecki’s ‘Threnody’—music that overloads my agitated brain’s ability to control patterns and forces me to float in a sort of managed…noise. More recently then, it was maybe unsurprising that I fell for noise music, specifically Zbigniew Karkowski, and the Japanese noise (or ‘Japanoise’) he immersed himself in. What to some is loud, pitch-less, turbulent or even violent noise is to me both comforting and exhilarating. The noise outside overloads the noise inside, breaking through my outwardly light disposition and allowing me to feel enveloped in something I cannot control and must submit to. The challenge of writing a noise piece had been lurking in my mind, and so what better opportunity than to take an instrument I find to be noisy and fit its own noisy nature to a musical sound-world I love. In doing so, I’ve enjoyed really getting to know this little weapon of sonic warfare, and have grown a uniquely strange love for this bright, unashamedly confident instrument.”
– Mark Carroll

“When saxophonist Jacob Swanson asked to me write a piece for soprano saxophone and electronics (’Edible Numbers’), I knew for certain I wanted to do something connected to the slate cliffs along the shores of Lake Erie near my home; the cliffs are built up of many layers, and the rock patterns often trail off in ways one would not expect. I was also certain that this piece had to groove. Connecting these two certainties, my piece ‘Edible Numbers’ uses a single pitch-class set, always causing the expectation of repetition but never actually creating it. In the spirit of the masters of the Ars Nova, an unequal color and talea disrupt any possibility of regularity. As for the electronics, my hope is that they speak for themselves.” – John C. L. Jansen

Praised by audiences and composers for his "gorgeous, lyrical tone, spectacular technique, and heartfelt musicality ..." and presenting "the soprano saxophone at the height of its beauty," Jacob Swanson has performed throughout North America and Europe on concert series, television, and radio.

His playing has inspired several composers to write for him as a soloist and his collaborating ensembles including Rob Deemer, Andrew Martin Smith, Charles Terranova, Peter Edwards, Kate Parker, Michael McGough, Timothy Bausch, Scott Miller, Nathan Hall, David Marc Alterman, Frank Zabel and Dan Knorr. In August 2016 Swanson participated in a residency as member of the Decho Ensemble as guest of the NyMusikks Komponistgruppe in Oslo, Norway. In 2015 Swanson began collaborating with composers to create more works for the soprano saxophone and electronics.

With an inextinguishable passion for chamber music, Swanson performs regularly as member of the Decho Ensemble, which he cofounded in 2011 with long-time collaborator Sarah Marchitelli. Their repertoire includes established works for saxophone, transcriptions, and new works written expressly for their ensemble. In addition to their all-saxophone programming, the Decho Ensemble has collaborated with vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, poets, composers, and orchestras presenting highly varied programs.

After several years of preparation and research, Swanson assisted Carina Raschèr with the Ries&Erler publication of Erwin Dressel's Duo Konzert für Sopran- und Altsaxophon und Kleines Orchester (1965). In 2014, he and Marchitelli presented the world premiere of this monumental work with the Trinity Chamber Orchestra directed by Todd Wilson, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Swanson holds a Bachelor's of Music degree, a Master's of Music degree, and a Performer's Certificate from the State University of New York at Fredonia where he studied with Dr. Wildy Zumwalt. He has additionally studied with saxophonist Carina Raschèr.

Swanson performs on American-made Buescher saxophones ca. 1930's and is a Vandoren Regional Artist.

Recording Production: Judith Shatin, Timothy Bausch, Jared Yackiw, Nathan Hall, Hugo Harmens, Mark Carroll, John C. L. Jansen, Dakota Lord, and Jacob Swanson
Recording Mastering: Dakota Lord
Photography and Design: Jacob Swanson
Program Notes Editor: Andrea Geist



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