Author Topic: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)  (Read 16151 times)

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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #60 on: April 16, 2009, 10:21:58 PM »
I believe it sounds like early Roussel.
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Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #61 on: April 22, 2009, 10:25:55 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).
Just wanted to reinforce several of the posters' complimentary remarks about Bloch.  He's one of my favorites.  His works are indeed powerful, quite modal, visionary if not prophetic, like the Old Testament.  I believe much of his orchestral "language" initially derived from the French school.  Of course he's gone his own way.  The "Concerto Symphonic" is a masterpiece.He's composed many fine, sutle, complex symphonic "imagery."

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #62 on: April 22, 2009, 12:14:23 PM »
Just wanted to reinforce several of the posters' complimentary remarks about Bloch.  He's one of my favorites.  His works are indeed powerful, quite modal, visionary if not prophetic, like the Old Testament.  I believe much of his orchestral "language" initially derived from the French school.  Of course he's gone his own way.  The "Concerto Symphonic" is a masterpiece.He's composed many fine, sutle, complex symphonic "imagery."

Yes, totally agree with you, especially about the 'Concerto Symphonique'. The String Quartet No 1 and Piano Quintet No 1 are both masterpieces IMHO.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #63 on: April 22, 2009, 03:40:47 PM »
Well, joined the Bloch thread today - only had a couple of CDs by this composer, and wanted to replace/expand my current collection, so ordered the ones below, most of which received excellent recommendations from the posters:

 

 

Well, I posted the above back in the 'Purchases' thread not too long ago; all have arrived and have had first and second listens!  :D

I've enjoyed all of these discs (several will replace previous ones in my collection) - but I must say that the 'older ones' have been absolute 'knockouts'! - the Howard Hanson recordings on 'Mercury Living Presence' are just phenomenal; I own a number of these Mercury recordings - these were done on wide multi-tapes (1/2 inch 3-track tapes mentioned in the liner notes) which 'captured' the dynamic range of the recordings but could not be faithfully reproduced @ the time on a LP (recordings dates from 1959-60); plus, the price is a steal - can't see how one would be displeased, if desiring these works by Bloch.

At the moment, I'm listening to the Griller String Quartet recordings; 2-CD set from 1954 in mono sound, and am being absolutely 'blown away' w/ re-mastering of these performances; the discs include the first 4 SQs (the last had not been composed, nor did this group record it) - overall, this new acquisition of 4 recordings is quite a nice introduction to this composer!  ;D

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #64 on: April 24, 2009, 07:00:13 AM »
Have you heard his three-movement piano work, Poems of the Sea?

Yes, I have the score and dabble with it. Included  in this sheet music is the "Sonata For Piano."  I love the second movement. I also have several recordings of the "Sonata." (Fingerhut on Chandos); Jensen on (Music & Arts); plus others.

Several posts discuss Bloch's many works, including the masterpiece "Concerto Symphonque." Opinions vary on the pianistic quality.  I tend to like the Micah Yul performance with the London Philharmonic on Laurel Record.   

If I am not mistaken Bloch was instrumental in starting up CIM, the Cleveland Institute of Music during the late 20's?  Or early 30's? I live close by but have never actually attend any concerts there. I know so little of his life.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #65 on: April 24, 2009, 07:38:05 AM »
Here is a CD of piano music by Bloch which I really like. The CD is titled 'Visions and Prophecies' and it features, amongst much else, a piano version of the part of the orchestral piece (for Cello and orch.) 'Voice in the Wilderness'.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 07:40:07 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Guido

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #66 on: April 24, 2009, 06:00:40 PM »
Does it work better in that incarnation? Though the piece contains lots of lovely ideas, the more 'bible epic' like moments really make me cringe and it just doesn't hang together as well as Schelomo. I've played sections of it with piano (and cello) and some it sounded much better like this, so I am intrigued by the solo piano version.

Well, I'm a fan of Bloch & Bruch, but have much more of the latter's music - my most recent purchases related to Bloch include:

Schelomo w/ Fournier on a great bargain disc, combined w/ Dvorak's Cello Concerto & Bruch's Kol Nidrei.


I remember getting this and hearing it for the first time aged 13 and being incredibly excited at the new soundworlds that I heard in the Bloch (and even the Bruch to my naive mind!). Fournier's account is really superb.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #67 on: June 13, 2009, 11:05:34 AM »
I have been listening to Bloch's early Symphony in C Sharp Minor, written when he was in his early twenties. It  seems to shows the influence of Richard Strauss and also Mahler (whose music Bloch had apparently not heard at the time of composition). But it also foreshadows Bloch's later works. The last movement is especially powerful and moving and I like this work increasingly. There are recordings on BIS (top recommendation) and on Marco Polo (also good). It was performed a while back in London (Dalia Atlas) and I am annoyed to have missed it.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2009, 11:17:56 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #68 on: June 15, 2009, 03:47:55 AM »
(I had a busy midweek socializing with friends-including Renfield from GMG-and I find that the Composer Forum has been deluged with posts by Karl. It is going to take ages to catch up ;D)

Yes, I too like the early Symphony in C sharp minor-although it is the BIS version with the Malmo Symphony Orchestra under Lev Markiz that is in my collection(coupled with Schelomo played by Torleif Thedeen). The later Symphony in E flat(1954-55) is worth hearing too although it lacks the blazing romantic passion of early Bloch. Both the Symphony in E flat and the Israel Symphony(1912-16) were recorded in the excellent ASV Bloch series.

« Last Edit: June 16, 2009, 03:38:34 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #69 on: June 15, 2009, 11:42:00 PM »
(I have a busy midweek socializing with friends-including Renfield from GMG-and I find that the Composer Forum has been deluged with posts by Karl. It is going to take ages to catch up ;D)

Yes, I too like the early Symphony in C sharp minor-although it is the BIS version with the Malmo Symphony Orchestra under Lev Markiz that is in my collection(coupled with Schelomo played by Torleif Thedeen). The later Symphony in E flat(1954-55) is worth hearing too although it lacks the blazing romantic passion of early Bloch. Both the Symphony in E flat and the Israel Symphony(1912-16) were recorded in the excellent ASV Bloch series.



Yes, I wish that Dalia Atlas (who performed the work in London) would record the early Symphony in C sharp-minor as part of the ASV series. The BIS version is the best recording available at the moment.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #70 on: June 16, 2009, 03:39:16 AM »
Has ASV not gone bust? :(

Offline The new erato

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #71 on: June 16, 2009, 04:14:23 AM »
Has ASV not gone bust? :(
Depends. But I think they have stopped making new records anyways (which may mean they exist).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #72 on: June 16, 2009, 02:25:41 PM »
Has ASV not gone bust? :(

Don't know - except I note that all their recordings I bought at full price are now available at Amazon for 5.00  >:(
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #73 on: September 10, 2009, 11:43:37 AM »
Although there are many possible threads on recordings and performances, I nevertheless wanted to post a performance and recording of a long, revered staple of mine.  I was listenint to the Chandos CD involving several works of Ernest Bloch.  All are superbly realized: the masterpiece "Concerto Symphonic" (1948); "Scherzo fantasque;" "Hiver Printemps."  Alida Dinova is the pianist.  Capella of St. Petersberg is the orchestral interpretation.

I also have the Micah Yui performing the two pianistic works listed above.  The Chandos is somewhat better; although both are marvelous recordings of the Bloch work; enthusiasts may well be aware of both recordings.  Vast subject, recordings, to be sure; but I was smitten with the Chandos recording of three significant Bloch works. 

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #74 on: September 11, 2009, 08:10:34 AM »
I greatly enjoy this CD:

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #75 on: March 04, 2010, 10:22:11 AM »
Bloch popped back up on the radar, so I have been going through my scrappy Bloch chamber works collection.

1) Violin Works:

There's a few "Complete Violin Works" sets out there. I have the oh so typically dry recordings from Arabesque (Weilerstein Duo). Personally, I find it difficult to listen to Bloch's violin music in this manner. I prefer to have Baal Shem over here, the Sonatas over there, and the rest, up in the air. Sometimes, I can't seem to see the visionary through the Hollywood, which is to say, I have to pick and choose which Bloch I listen to. But, don't get me wrong: the two Sonatas are monsters! Love em.

General point: Bloch's Complete Violin Works run to 2 cds, generally with one of the piano pieces to fill out the proceedings.

2) Viola Works:

The Complete Viola Works run to one (1) cd length, but, for me, I don't need Baal Shem in every conceivable combo. The unfinished Solo Viola Suite makes no greater impression on me than the 2 Solo Violin Suites. Really, the only viola piece I really want to hear is the 1919 Suite, which I have on a great Crystal cd (w/Clarke & Hindemith (the "1919" cd)). That piece really is a great mate to the Violin Sonata No.1.

3) Cello Works:

I think the one piece is called From Jewish Life, and I don't recall if it's for cello and piece, or what. The other piece is the Meditation Hebraique, which is going for about $50 on the self titled Koch cd (on Amazon). Then, there will be the obligatory Baal Shem transcription, and maybe a Suite Hebraique transcription (maybe also on the viola disc).

I get that out of the way to concentrate on the 3 Cello Suites, which I haven't yet heard, but which loom large as something solo cello enthusiats can't readily ignore. Some people swear by them, but I can't vouch for their profundity (and, they don't seem to have too much heft to them, time wise (yes, I know, but...)). Availability is also a factor here (or price). Anyone with an opinion?



4) ...the tiny piano trio pieces... yes, they're there, too,...



5) The 2 Piano Quintets:

There are sets by the Portland/Arabesque, ProArte/Laurel, Lane/Hyperion, Musiques Schweiz (?) Kocian/?, label, and Orkis/Koch.. Also, there is a recording of No.1 with the Pithipudas, and, maybe another one out there somewhere.

So, there is quite a field out there. I used to have the Pithipudas, and I believe I had the Koch/Orkis, but I don't know what happened to them. I just ordered the ProArte/Karp for $5, and yes, I am not expecting glorious sound.

An aside: Bloch's chamber music seems to get the worst recordings. Both the Arabesque and Laurel labels seem to think they are making a virtue out of claustrophobic recordings that lay bare everything (especially with the Portland/Arabesque). The Griller only recorded SQs 1-4, so, if I want No.5, I have only the two aforementioned choices. I have the Arabesque, which has really dry sound, and I can only imagine the Laurel being the same. Anyhow...

So, what say ye as to the Quintets? I assume you already love the music (and yes, I know No.2 is no great shakes).



6) SQs 1-5, plus miniatures:

I suppose the Griller/Decca will be the first choice for 1-4. I will shortly order it, to be sure. For No.5, as stated above, we have the Portland and the ProArte. I also have No.3 by the NewWorldQuartet on Vox (another mind numbingly dry recording).

Here's the Portland vs. ProArte run down:

Portland:
cd1: SQNo.1

cd2: SQs 2-3

cd3: SQs 4-5

cd4: 2 Piano Qnts

ProArte:

cd1: SQNo.1 + Piano Qnt No.2

cd2: SQNo.2 + 3 mianiatures (incl. Night)

cd3: SQs 3-4 + 2 miniatures

cd4: SQNo.5 + Piano Qnt No.1

cd5: PQ 1-2 + Solo Cello Suite No.1



ok,I get confused easily ::)!



Anyhow, I'm tired now from writing, haha, and need a nap. I'll be back later. Hopefully someone has an interest in the subject.
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Offline Guido

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #76 on: March 04, 2010, 01:10:25 PM »
As I say above - I think the solo cello suites are just gold, but I know some people who don't like em. There's a fantastic recording by Emmanuelle Bertrand.
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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #77 on: March 04, 2010, 03:40:27 PM »
I have to reassess.  Most of the Bloch recordings I have are Hanson/Rochester Symphony, and after listening to them in Ives and other American conductors, I think it is a case of a third rate conductor in front of a fifth rate orchestra. 

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #78 on: March 05, 2010, 01:43:57 AM »
A work I really like is the early Symphony in C. Very annoyed that I didn't realise it was performed in London (Dahlia Atlas) a while back.  :(
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Re: Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
« Reply #79 on: May 31, 2010, 02:56:53 PM »
This recording has turned me into a Bloch fan.



I also have recordings of the piano quintets, but I think I will be looking for recordings of the symphonies (E-flat and c# minor) next.

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