Louisville composer Jeremy Beck has released his sixth album on the Innova label: a collection of works spanning over a decade, both in their composition and their recording. Beck says it “provides a certain overview of my compositional life.” In a conversation with Daniel Gilliam, Beck describes this album as a diary of sorts, revealing the breadth of his work to date.
I’ve written for a whole range of ensembles, worked with different people here in Louisville, and then some in different places I’ve lived from California to Iowa, to New York. And as I’ve worked with different players and develop different relationships, I’ve sort of been drawn to certain people, certain performers, who really have made my music come alive. And those are the performances that I’ve wanted to capture in recordings. The recordings on this album range from the first piece that I got recorded, was a couple of guitar pieces in 2007. And that is all the way up to the present time. So, it really is a collection of compositions spanning a number of years and recordings as well that span a number of years, and then just kind of putting them together in a way that that I feel like communicates the sort of the breadth of something I want to say in a particular moment in time.
This album is also a time capsule, capturing the final recording of violist Deborah Lander, who died suddenly in 2015 at the age of 49.
I’m fairly certain that this is the last piece that she recorded. It was especially important to me to get that piece on this recording to get it released, not only as a record of our relationship and her playing this short unaccompanied piece really beautifully, but also as a record [of] her artistry to have that in the world as part of the record of her artistic life. And so I’m grateful for our friendship, and that we were able to get that finished before, tragically, she passed away.
Beck highlights Louisville cellist Paul York’s playing of “Prelude” as a place for listeners to find solace.
In the period in which we’re living right now, where so many things are unnerving and unknown, and people are just trying to get through the day…there’s a piece on the album that’s for a solo cello, recorded by Paul York. And it’s a prelude and toccata, but especially the prelude is a lyrical, beautiful piece that Paul just illuminates with his style of playing and his heartfelt rendering of the music. [It’s] something that’s calming and meditative, but that is also lyrical and sings in a real human kind of way.