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FREDERICK JACOBI 1891-1952 Cello Concerto (1932) 15.56  Guido Vecchi (cello) Oslo PO/William Strickland Hagiographa (1938) 23.24  Claremont Quartet plus Irene Jacobi (piano) Ballade (1942) 11.37 Fredell Lack/Irene Jacobi String Quartet No. 3 (1945) 26.30 Lyric Art Quartet


CRI, founded in 1954, has an enviably massive archive of recordings issued since the early days of the LP. Gradually they are finding their way onto CD in generously timed compilations. The American masters series is notable for its span and its successes of which there are many.

Jacobi is almost completely unknown but on the proof of this disc that neglect is not warranted. He was a native of San Francisco and his tutors were Bloch, Juon and Rubin Goldmark. He numbered Robert Ward, Alexei Haieff, and Robert Starer among his pupils. His works include two symphonies and concertos for violin and piano - all of which I would dearly loved to hear.

Until then here is CRI's compilation which cuts across all media apart from vocal. The compact Cello Concerto (rather similar in scale to the Pfitzner works) is a work alternating rhapsodic introspection, Old Testament reverence, a grave sensuality and bush-fire blazes of passion. Bloch's Schelomo may well have been an influence. In the lengthier Hagiographa for piano and string quartet the three movements centre on the biblical characters of Job (highly charged, even in spectral quietude), Ruth (Idyllically pastoral - echoes of Grieg and pointillism) and Joshua (splendidly spirited).

The wartime Ballad reeks of Hungarian gypsy atmosphere, cantorial chants and Kodaly. The String Quartet of three years later has clear and clean lines and no lack of Bloch-like passion. There is a lightly fleet third movement and the finale has a creepy fervour. While not totally compelling it has considerable melodic interest.

The notes are as good as ever providing plenty of much-needed background. The highlights are Hagiographa and the concerto. Now will someone please look out the symphonies and the other two concertos?


Rob Barnett

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