Natalie Clein, whose previous recording of the music of Ernest Bloch was described as ‘inspired’ by The Sunday Times, turns to his three suites for solo cello as part of a recital of works written in the aftermath of the Second World War. The sombre voice of the cello seems especially apposite in music of such deep seriousness, Ligeti’s short sonata providing an energetic and life-affirming finale.
This program includes some of the least known masterpieces from Ernest Bloch’s nearly 30 works for orchestra. Macbeth: Two Symphonic Interludes is an intoxicating and passionate distillation of Shakespeare’s powerful drama. In Memoriam is a brief elegy dedicated to the pianist Ada Clement, while the Three Jewish Poems were written when Bloch was mourning the death of his father. Originally conceived as a third concerto grosso, Bloch’s last Symphony, in E flat major, is at times emotionally turbulent and deeply spiritual work containing passages of harmonic acerbity.
Swiss-born Bloch, a pupil of Eugène Ysaÿe, emigrated to the United States in 1916. Written in 1926, two years after Bloch had become an American citizen, America: An Epic Rhapsody, is the composer’s tribute to his adopted country. This romantic and patriotic score vividly surveys the history of the US from the native American melodies of pre-colonial days to the modern era of 1920s jazz and beyond. The Concerto Grosso No 1 is a bold statement which unites the eighteenth-century concerto grosso form with a modern tonal language.
Mstislav Rostropovich did more for the advancement of the cello than probably any other artist since Pablo Casals. Even after his sad passing in 2007 at the age of 80, is musical influence is felt not only in the cello community, but among orchestral musicians as well. This Deutsche Grammophon DVD is among the many tributes to Rostropovich that have surfaced over the short time since his passing. It features the Schumann Concerto and Bloch's Schelomo with Leonard Bernstein and the Orchestre National de France and Strauss' Don Quixote with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic. All of these performances are given their first DVD release here. Schumann and Bloch are given intense, riveting performances by Rostropovich and orchestra alike. Any other cellist who played with as much force and aggression would be accused of overplaying, but with Rostropovich the intensity and conviction of his playing are what make the entire performance.
The search for "the" solo instrument of the 19th century leads inevitably to the piano. It has its place in the public concert hall as well as in the private salon, and not a few composers have emerged as successful pianists. Among the composers in this program, though, only Frédéric Chopin belongs to this group, but he soon changed his field of activity from the anonymous concert hall to the more intimate salon circle. Antonìn Dvorák, on the other hand, passed the organists' examination and was at first employed as violist in an orchestra, while Tchaikovsky was much too reclusive to interpret his own works in front of an audience. Among the selected works by Dvorák, Chopin and Tchaikovsky, only the Dvorák piano concerto requires a large concert hall, while the solo pieces by Chopin and Tchaikovsky were originally at home in the salon…
A dazzling orchestral disc of music from the Jewish tradition of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Bruch’s Kol Nidrei is one of the most well-loved works in the cello repertoire. The descending opening phrase of the cello line is instantly recognizable: a universal, extraordinarily expressive utterance.
A highly individual composer, Ernest Bloch did not pioneer any new style in music but spoke with a distinctive voice into which he could assimilate folk influences, 12-tone technique, and even coloristic quarter tones. In a stylistically atomized century his interests were universal, and his music was both beloved by the public and inspirational for a younger and more academically oriented generation. His father was the quintessential Swiss, a well-off manufacturer of watches and clocks, including cuckoo clocks. Ernest had a diverse musical training that included advanced violin training, study of eurhythmics with Émile Jacques-Dalcroze; he traveled from Switzerland to Belgium, Munich, and Paris in …….