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Bloch, Ernest

Ernest Bloch was a Swiss-born composer who marched through the worlds of avant-garde Jewish art or concert music and the Western classical tradition. Bloch's music exemplifies several post-Romantic influences, including the styles of Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy, and Gustav Mahler. His interest in Claude Debussy's and Maurice Ravel's chromatic sounds is apparent in his tone poem Hiver-PrintempsBlock wrote a large group of works about Jewish subjects, including the Israel SymphonyTrois poèmes juifs for orchestra, the tone poem Schelomo for cello and orchestra, and the suite Baal Shem for violin and piano. The full maturity of his musical application of Jewish themes and the liturgy is demonstrated in his sacred service Avodath Hakodesh for chorus, baritone, and orchestra. Bloch's works show a strong neoclassical trend that combines musical forms of the past with techniques used in the 20th century. His Concerto Grosso No. 1 and his Piano and string quintet, which use fourth color tones and enhance the emotionally intense nature of music, have been some examples.

Ernest Bloch seems to have had a peculiar passion for the cello from a young age. The Cello Sonata, written when he was a student in Brussels, is idiomatically written for the instrument, with soaring cello melodies balanced by an equally lavish quasi-orchestral piano section. The three pieces influenced by Jewish mythology, which include the well-known Nigun for violin, which is performed here in a rather successful transcription by Joseph Schuster, the three miniatures From Jewish Life, and the longer Méditation hébraque, written for Casals and closest in idiom to his cello masterpiece, Schelomo, are even more distinctive.

Cello Compositions of Ernest Bloch | Animato Strings


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