While Gordon Jacobs composed a vast amount of music – more than four hundred pieces -- he was particularly celebrated for his work for Viola and for woodwinds, as well as for his books on music pedagogy. Jacob had an early success with his Viola Concerto of 1926 which was premiered at a Promenade concert and which was the beginning of a series of strong contributions to Viola repertoire. This Sonatina for Viola and Piano demonstrates his sensitive writing for the instrument. It works very well when performed on clarinet as well.
While many composers of the 20th century rejected serialism, atonality and other avant garde effects in favour of Romanticism, Jacob was much more an adherent to the musical models of the classic and baroque eras, while still encompassing modern harmonies. His work Music for a Festival, for symphonic wind band and brass ensemble, was used for the post-war Festival of Britain and he arranged the British national anthem for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.