I hope to see you next Wednesday! I’ll be playing some music by Ernest Bloch, the most famous of the composers on this exciting program.
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) a violinist as well as a composer, emigrated from his native Switzerland to the U.S. in 1916. In addition to his many teaching appointments, he was the director of both the Cleveland Institute of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His students included Frederick Jacobi and several other composers. Although originally influenced by Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy, he came to write in a highly Romantic style drawing on more traditional Jewish liturgical and folk music.
As with many artists, his hobby was also art – photography. Over his lifetime, he took more than 6,000 photographs (with real film – not at all like today’s digital photography, where you can come back from a long weekend with thousands of shots), which are archived at the University of Arizona in Tucson, alongside photos by photography giants Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon and Edward Weston.
Early twentieth century music critic Paul Rosenfeld said of Bloch’s writing: “This music makes one feel as though an element that had remained unchanged throughout three thousand years, an element that is in every Jew and by which every Jew must know himself, and his decent, were caught up in it and fixed there.”