Author Topic: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)  (Read 15633 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« on: April 19, 2007, 04:40:56 AM »
Bloch is a rather unfashionable composer but I think his music is great. It varies from the more biblical Hollywood epic type scores (which I like) including "Israel Symphony" "Voice in the Wilderness" "Sacred Service" to the more intimate string quartets and fine piano quintets, not to mention his most popular works "Schelomo" and the Violin Concerto.  At times he even reminds me of Vaughan Williams (passages of the Sacred Service).

There is also a fine Chandos CD of the epic "Concerto Symphonique" for piano and orchestra which I strongly recommend with the string quartets (1-4 are on Decca with the great Griller String Quartet).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline aquablob

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2007, 04:58:09 AM »
Have you heard his three-movement piano work, Poems of the Sea?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 06:30:31 AM »
Have you heard his three-movement piano work, Poems of the Sea?

Yes, it is v good. I have both the piano and orchestral versions. I like "Visions and Prophecies" piano version of "Voice in the Wilderness" on Chandos. Do you know it?
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Harry

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2007, 07:07:58 AM »
Not much in my collection from this composer but this one is recent.
Have not given it a spin yet. :)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2007, 07:28:10 AM »
Not much in my collection from this composer but this one is recent.
Have not given it a spin yet. :)

Bloch and Honegger are two of my favourite composers. "Liturgique Symphony" by Honegger is a great, powerfully visionary score.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Guido

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2007, 08:00:46 AM »
Those two pieces are both wonderful Harry. The Bloch is standard Cello repertoire and is probably the most stormily emotional and dramatic romantic work in the repertory. Think the drama of the opening of the Elgar concerto, but all the way through!

Its funny about Bloch, and his occasional passages of 'Englishness'. Probably to do with the modality, but he was held in high regard by a fair few early 20th century English composers.

The three cello suites from the final year of his life are often overlooked, but all are extremely beautiful and worthwhile. The first is my personal favourite, and I don;t understand why they haven't made it into the standard reperotire. His three pieces fro Jewish life definitely are though (Prayer, Supplication and Jewish Song).
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Offline aquablob

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2007, 08:11:44 AM »
Yes, it is v good. I have both the piano and orchestral versions. I like "Visions and Prophecies" piano version of "Voice in the Wilderness" on Chandos. Do you know it?

No, I don't, but perhaps I'll check it out.

In the mean time, here is a file I just uploaded of my girlfriend playing "Poems of the Sea" at our piano recital last year (the file will expire after 7 days): http://download.yousendit.com/AC20170D0E1129AC

lukeottevanger

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2007, 08:15:27 AM »
His three pieces fro Jewish life definitely are though (Prayer, Supplication and Jewish Song).

...memories of cello Grade 8..... ;)

I've got quite a lot of Bloch, especially his chamber music. Not quite sure why, as to be honest I don't listen to it all that much, though when I do I like it quite a bit. However, his Piano Quintets are powerful works, among the very best things in that genre.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2007, 09:03:42 AM »
No, I don't, but perhaps I'll check it out.

In the mean time, here is a file I just uploaded of my girlfriend playing "Poems of the Sea" at our piano recital last year (the file will expire after 7 days): http://download.yousendit.com/AC20170D0E1129AC

Unfortunately my computer can't play the file but thanks anyway.  I have a nice Bloch CD with Poems of the Sea (Orchestral version), violin Concerto and Voice in the Wilderness (Cappricio label).

I agree that the Cello Suites, Violin Sonatas are fine works.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2008, 02:55:21 PM »
I don't think that there has been a Bloch thread.  He is a very unfashionable composer now but was highly regarded in his day. There are some good Naxos releases but the one I wanted to mention was the Goldner String Quartet and Piers Lane performing the two piano quintets and other chamber works on Hyperion: a wonderful disc. The epic Piano Quintet No 1 is well worth getting to know if you don't know it.  Bloch writes in a tonal but very searching 20th century idiom. I rank him with Vaughan Williams, as a very great composer who deserves to be much better known.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloch-Piano-Quintets-Goldner-Qt/dp/B000WE5G6W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207349293&sr=1-1
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Kullervo

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2008, 02:58:41 PM »
Are there any recordings of his complete string quartets?

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2008, 03:09:37 PM »
Are there any recordings of his complete string quartets?


There is a very fine Decca Oriinal Masters CD of string quartets 1-4 (he wrote 5) played by the Griller Quartet. They recorded them before Bloch wrote No 5 but there are other recordings of it. String Quartet No 1 is one of Bloch's finest utterances, lasting almost one hour. I strongly recommend this set.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloch-String-Quartets-Griller-Quartet/dp/B000276K3M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207350610&sr=1-1
« Last Edit: April 04, 2008, 03:11:23 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Daverz

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2008, 03:20:34 PM »
Are there any recordings of his complete string quartets?

The Pro Arte Quartet recorded them all for Laurel Records, and these are all currently in print.  I ordered them directly from Laurel Records.  Oddly, the recording of 5 seems to be in mono, at least to my ears.  I guess they recorded it that way live and decided to wax it as is.  I should add that otherwise the production quality is very high.

http://www.laurelrecord.com/
« Last Edit: April 04, 2008, 03:25:46 PM by Daverz »

Kullervo

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2008, 03:30:07 PM »

There is a very fine Decca Oriinal Masters CD of string quartets 1-4 (he wrote 5) played by the Griller Quartet. They recorded them before Bloch wrote No 5 but there are other recordings of it. String Quartet No 1 is one of Bloch's finest utterances, lasting almost one hour. I strongly recommend this set.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloch-String-Quartets-Griller-Quartet/dp/B000276K3M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207350610&sr=1-1

Yes, I knew about that recording, but I was looking for one with all 5. How is the sound on this set?

The Pro Arte Quartet recorded them all for Laurel Records, and these are all currently in print.  I ordered them directly from Laurel Records.  Oddly, the recording of 5 seems to be in mono, at least to my ears.  I guess they recorded it that way live and decided to wax it as is.  I should add that otherwise the production quality is very high.

http://www.laurelrecord.com/

Thanks!

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2008, 03:57:29 PM »

There is a very fine Decca Oriinal Masters CD of string quartets 1-4 (he wrote 5) played by the Griller Quartet. They recorded them before Bloch wrote No 5 but there are other recordings of it. String Quartet No 1 is one of Bloch's finest utterances, lasting almost one hour. I strongly recommend this set.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloch-String-Quartets-Griller-Quartet/dp/B000276K3M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207350610&sr=1-1

This is a great disk, one of my favorites of 20th century music. In fact, IIRC, Bloch heard the Grillers perform #1 and composed the next 3 specifically for them. So I can justify it by saying that it is actually HIP... :D

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2008, 04:24:11 PM »
Yes, I knew about that recording, but I was looking for one with all 5. How is the sound on this set?

Thanks!

They are mono recordings from 1954 but very effectively remastered.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Don

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2008, 04:50:21 PM »
They are mono recordings from 1954 but very effectively remastered.

I love that set, and the sound's fine.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2008, 11:58:01 PM »
The Griller set is one of the absolute essential string quartet sets and Blochs 1st quartet is a staggering work.

I would like to direct you all to this blog entry (read a little down the page) with some interesting information on both Bloch and the Grillers:

http://www.overgrownpath.com/2006/11/schoenberg-on-toscanini.html
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 01:36:02 AM by erato »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2008, 12:46:15 AM »
The Griller set is one of the absolute essential string quartet sets and Blochs 1sr quartet is a staggering work.

I would like to direct you all to this blog entry (read a little down the page) with some interesting information on both Bloch and the Grillers:

http://www.overgrownpath.com/2006/11/schoenberg-on-toscanini.html

Thanks v much for this interesting link.  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2008, 03:36:56 PM »
I have always loved Bloch's rich, dramatic and colourful music. Much in the same way as I love the music of Respighi in fact.

There are a number of different sides to Bloch-the romantic Swiss composer, influenced by turn of the century developments in Germany and France and indebted to Richard Strauss(the early Symphony in C sharp minor-available in a BIS recording), the Jewish composer who produced stirringly passionate compositions like Schelomo, the Israel Symphony, the Symphonic Poem The Voice in the Wilderness, the Violin Concerto and the Sacred Service, the ersatz Hollywood epic film composer, the adopted American(the extraordinary Rhapsody 'America') and the later neo-classical composer(the Sinfonia Breve, the Symphony in E flat major, the Concerto Symphonique for piano, the Concerto Grosso No.2).

All of his music however is never less than enjoyable on a very emotional level. He is, in my opinion, seldom dull. I don't find his idiom 'challenging' at all, I have to say.

I suppose that one of the difficulties is where to place Bloch geographically. Although he spent more than half of his life in his native Switzerland he did leave his homeland at the age of 37 and only returned for 8 years in the 1930s. He spent 33 years in the USA(including the last 21 years of his life), became an American citizen in 1924 and the distinguished Director of the Cleveland Institute of Music.

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