Adrian Jack has now retired from public life and compositional activity owing to ill health. Many of his scores and some recordings are to be found in the BMIC Collection.
Black and Blue CD (Album of the Week, The Information)
now available as a digital download from 1equalmusic via Hyperion
Black and Blue is the title of one of Adrian Jack's pieces for two pianos and the name of his new disc containing all eleven pieces he has written for the medium. The disc traces the course, over some fifteen years, of Jack's artistic collaboration with Ingryd Thorson and Julian Thurber, whose enthusiasm and encouragement - not to mention their superb performances - were his main inspiration. The character of the pieces (arranged in the order of composition) ranges from the belligerent to the serene, and each was to some extent a reaction or response to the one before it, so that the listener experiences a kind of journey when following the eleven tracks one after the other.
This album is now available from 1equalmusic or as a download from iTunes.
Michael Church writes: "Adrian Jack has been quietly working up this series for two pianos and percussion for 15 years, exploiting the singular - or rather dual - gifts of these particular players, who know exactly how to highlight the crystalline clarity of his conceptions. The music itself combines mercurial invention with full-dress pianistic grandeur." The Independent (08/03/2008)
Click here to purchase the album on 1equalmusic.
(as featured in
Sarah Walker's Classical Collection on BBC Radio 3)
Adrian Jack's String Quartets (Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, & "08.02.01") released on Deux-Elles (02/10/2006), in a new recording by The Arditti String Quartet, catalogue number DXL 1116.
Click here to purchase the disc via the Deux-Elles website.
"Adrian Jack is probably best known as a critic, and best remembered as the deeply discerning and quietly persuasive curator, as one would now say, of concerts that introduced London audiences to the music of Lachenmann, Scelsi, Goeyvaerts and many more..."
read more at paul griffiths: words and music / heard and read
"...a handsome collection, played with dedication by the Arditti Quartet, and the recording is excellent: immediate and truthful..." "Principal attractions of Jack's music include clarity and communication: the ideas are strong and concisely developed; and there is melodic warmth that is vivid while remaining deep." Fanfare Magazine (February 2007)
Michael Dervan writes: "As a critic, Adrian Jack is astute enough in observation and clear enough in expression to be enlightening even to someone who may be completely at odds with him in direction of response. As a composer, in these string quartets written between 1996 and 2002, he's similarly, unshirkingly direct, but the outcome is utterly different. The often naive-seeming surfaces are mysteriously suggestive, rather like images that hover, out of focus, in the corner of one's eye. The very lightness of the Arditti Quartet's vibrato-shy playing of this mostly gentle music intensifies the effect." Irish Times (01/12/2006)
"...the string quartet is the ideal forum for music as inscrutable yet evocative as that featured on the present disc." International Record Review (November 2006)
"Often delicate, occasionally robust but highly listenable throughout, there's nothing quite like Jack's music in the modern quartet repertoire." **** BBC Music Magazine (October 2006)
Paul Driver writes: "They are impressive indeed: tightly woven, with manifest feeling in the weave, and never a wasted note. Movements may end abruptly, but always appropriately. The sadly reflective middle movement of No 4 is peculiarly touching..." Sunday Times (01/10/2006)
Arnold Whittall writes: "...in their skilful manipulation of basic patterns, avoiding the predictable and the pretentious in equal measure, these quartets have a distinctive personality, a mix of slightly melancholic nostalgia and engagingly direct get-up-and-go that offers longer-term as well as immediate pleasures." Gramophone (October 2006)
Nick Breckenfield writes: "Back in 2001, just after the premieres of Adrian Jacks Fourth String Quartet and the occasional piece, 08.02.01, along with a revival of the Third Quartet, I wrote on The Classical Source: 'So, which record company will take the plunge and issue a CD of Adrian Jacks music? Here is a growing corpus of hugely satisfying chamber and instrumental works by a careful, honest composer, whose music is as deft and succinct as his reviews. In this time of cosmetic ephemera, is it too much to suggest that such enjoyable and lasting works be afforded wider recognition?'
Im rather amazed that those comments are five years old, but utterly delighted that Deux-Elles (whether spurred on by my challenge or, as I sus ot) has recorded Jacks most recent quartets and issued them on this very welcome disc.
This is intimate music to cherish, with Jacks singular voice (though with tantalising hints of influences) and musical logic notable within each work, and which sustains the whole disc. Here is an hours worth of string quartet music that can be enjoyed without recourse to Jacks own illuminating notes, as if the 16 movements were a single work, encompassing six years of Jacks creative writing from 1996 to 2002..." Classical Source
Click here to purchase the CD via the Deux-Elles website.