"Possessed of a striking, multi-octave voice and a passion for high drama in his performances," Jeff Buckley emerged out of New York's avant-garde music scene in 1994 with Grace, an album that would garner him international critical acclaim and a devoted cult fan base. Three years later, just shy of his 31st birthday and the recording of his second album, he drowned in a freak accident." [Note 1]
The son of singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, Jeff was born in Orange County, California, in 1966. He began playing the guitar while in high school, and then studied at the Los Angeles Musicians Institute before moving to New York in 1990. There he formed a short-lived, but locally popular band known as "Gods & Monsters" with guitarist Gary Lucas. In 1993, he began a solo career playing in clubs and coffeehouses, which led to a contract with Columbia Records for an EP recording called Live at Sin-e. His first major success came one year later with the release of Grace, a full-length debut album that received rave reviews. Included on this recording are original works such as "Last Goodbye" as well as a deeply emotional cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
Buckley relocated to Memphis in 1996 where he began preparing a second album. On the night of May 29, 1997, while awaiting the arrival of his band from New York, he impulsively decided to take a swim as he and a friend were walking beside a channel of the Mississippi River. Tragically, he was swept under the water by the wake of a passing boat. His body was not found until six days later.
from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001).
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Beyond the tragedy that led this guitarist and singer from dazzling fame to an incredible tragedy, the Requiem evokes the intense emotions linked to the memory, the loss, and the absurdity of existence. What captivates us in this story is the realisation that talent and success do not have any power over destiny; they cannot insure lifelong happiness, and thus create a void in our existence.
(Eternal Ballad), an ancient funeral march, recounts the endless and Sisyphean quest to enter the realm of the ideal, the ethereal, the transcendental...
(Fugitive Vision), without doubt the most narrative movement, flows desperately through meandering, tormented thoughts (the metaphorical Mississippi River).
(Sunrise) is not an epilogue that is full of hope, but rather an end of the journey that immerses the listener in a contemplative, introspective conclusion.
completed his guitar studies at the Conservatory of Avignon while also studying composition, cello, music history, music theory and conducting. He then completed advanced studies in composition with Janine Rueff, Jean Claude Henry, and George Hugon, and in guitar with Karel Harms and Rene Bartoli. He was awarded first prize in the St. Marc International Composition Competition in 1999.
Mortagne founded the Orchestre de guitares de Provence in 1994 and has since recorded several of his works with this ensemble, including his latest CD entitled Voyage. He frequently gives solo recitals of classical, romantic, and contemporary works--including many of his own compositions--and also is an active chamber musician in performances for two guitars and for violin and guitar. As a pedagogue, he is the guitar professor at the Carpentras Music School and he is the Director of the Pays Voconces Music School in the south of France. His reputation as a teacher and composer/conductor has made him a highly demanded guest instructor for master classes in France and other European countries.
Denis Mortagne's combined musical activities as a performer, teacher, and composer have constantly inspired him to renew his artistic and pedagogical vision. His compositions and arrangements invite listeners into a unique musical landscape and have been enthusiastically received by audiences throughout Europe and America.