Many in One was commissioned by James Freeman and the Chamber Orchestra First Editions and was premiered by the ensemble in the spring of 2016.
When considering the possibilities for writing a string orchestra piece I was immediately struck by the homogeneous nature of the medium as well as the lush, lyrical possibilities of the great romantic string orchestra works by Dvorák, Elgar, Tchaikovsky and Samuel Barber. However, I also wanted to explore the rich contrasts of color and orchestration in works such as Bartok’s Divertimento. The work is a dialogue between solitary and collective identities. Structurally the work is palindromic, beginning with a solo violin. It then makes its way to the fulcrum of the work, a fugue that commences in the second violins. At various points, unison rhythmic gestures break apart to become contrapuntal. The use of solo instruments in the work is meant to reflect historically, going back to the concerto grosso of the Baroque era.
The title of the work, Many in One, is from Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name, a poem from his Leaves of Grass. The question of the private and isolated versus cooperative and communal in America that Whitman speaks to in this poem has resonance today, going beyond our country, and the struggles the world continues to face.
from “Many in One” Leaves of Grass (1856) Walt Whitman
Underneath the lessons of things, spirits, nature,
governments, ownerships, I swear I perceive
Underneath all to me is myself—to you, your-
If all had not kernels for you and me, what were
it to you and me?
I match my spirit against yours, your orbs, growths,
I will learn why the earth is gross, tantalizing,
I take you to be mine, you beautiful, terrible, rude forms.
Heidi Jacob’s music has been described by BBC Magazine as “compositions …of complex mesmerizing beauty,” by David Patrick Stearns of the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a musical adventurer,” and by Gramophone Magazine as music with “…..forthright expressiveness [that]exposes a multitude of stylistic associations.” A composer, cellist, and conductor, she is a Professor of Music at Haverford College. She attended both the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School and completed her D.M.A. in composition from Temple University.
Ms. Jacob’s solo and chamber music works have been performed at the Kimmel Center as part of Network for New Music’s Poetry Project, Tania León’s 2014 Composers Now Festival, Summer Stars Classics series in Ocean Grove New Jersey, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Rutgers University’s Complex Weave: Women and Identity in Contemporary Art installation, Amphibian; New Music and Video HIArt Gallery, New York City and by The Argento Ensemble, the Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir, the Hildegard Chamber Players and by Temple University’s Contemporary Music Ensemble. Her works have been performed by violinists Francesco D’Orazio, Miranda Cuckson and Barbara Govatos, cellists Jeffrey Solow, Michal Schmidt and cellist Thalia Moore of Earplay, flutists Mimi Stillman, Adeline Tomasone, Jeffrey Khaner, pianist Charles Abramovic, and bassoonist Pascal Gallois. Her String Quartet, “…on enameled tablets,” was premiered at The Stone in New York City by the Momenta String Quartet. She was a winner of Network for New Music’s Poetry Project, the American Composers Forum, and won an Honorable Mention in the International Alliance for Women in Music Competition for her work for piano, Regard a Schubert: a Fantasy Impromptu. The CD of her compositions, Beneath Winter Light, produced by PARMA Recordings was released in January, 2015. Her cycle of songs on the poetry of Julia Alvarez, Beginning Again for soprano, violin and piano (2009), was commissioned by Vermont-based L’Ensemble and appears on L’Ensemble’s CD, “Poetry into Song”. Her composition, “untouched by morning and untouched by night,” for bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone, and piano is included on a CD Intersections, recorded in Cuba with Cuban musicians. Ms. Jacob’s Winter Light for violin and string orchestra was performed by I Solisti Veneti, conducted by Claudio Scimone and her string orchestra piece, Many in One was commissioned by First Editions Chamber Orchestra and premiered in spring of 2016.
Recent performances last spring 2020 of her compositions include her Resonance of Emerald for Woodwind Quintet, premiered by the Revolution Winds and Lilacs for SATB choir, Soprano solo and Narrator, by the Opus One Berks Chamber Choir. Her Scherzo for Flute and Marimba, was premiered in the Fall of 2018 by Amélie Debecq and Damien Delvaux at Festival Osmose in Evere, Belgium, her Suite for Flute and Piano premiered at PennState in 2019 by Mimi Stillman and Charles Abramovic and the premiere of her Endless War for Harpsichord and Narrator, by Joyce Lindorff, Harpsichord at Temple University’s Keyboard Festival. Her work for solo piano, “…but time will tell..” was performed at The Keyboard in the 21st Century an International Conference in Hong Kong by Linda Yim in the spring of 2019.