Archive for September 2011

Recital next Wednesday 9/21: Part Deux   Leave a comment

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.”

Posted September 17, 2011 by Ray Urwin in Uncategorized

Recital next Wednesday 9/21!   Leave a comment

I hope to see you at my recital at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown LA on September 21 (12:45 pm). Here’s a bit about one of the composers I’ll be featuring:

Herbert Fromm (1905-1995) was one of many Jews who fled the Nazis and came to the U.S. He studied with highly influential composer Paul Hindemith at Tanglewood, and was organist and music director at Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo and at Temple Israel in Boston, where he remained until his retirement in 1972.  In 1945 he won the first Ernest Bloch (another composer on this program) Award for The Song of Miriam.

Fromm was known for his insistence on high aesthetic standards and his criticism of the populist trends and the raw, mass-oriented ethnic elements that could be found increasingly in American synagogue music.

Read more about Fromm and see a picture (he looked like Jay Leno!) at,+Herbert.

And be sure to visit again tomorrow for more about next Wednesday’s recital!

Posted September 16, 2011 by Ray Urwin in Uncategorized

“But there’s no arguing with Bach…”   Leave a comment

Little else needs to be said.

Posted September 3, 2011 by Ray Urwin in Uncategorized

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