thumbnail of Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 14 of 15
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
Riverside radio presents the 14th in a series of 15 programs. Ernest Bloch the man and his music the commentator for these programs is Suzanne block. The composer's daughter and the member of the faculty at The Juilliard School of Music. The program this week will be devoted to a performance of often teen can children's pieces for piano and the suite for Viola and piano with soloist William Primrose. Here to introduce our program is Suzanne block the Afghan teen where written during Block's tenure as director of the Cleveland Institute of Music between 1920 in 1925 where he was exposed to all sorts of piano students. They varied from the usual run of prodigies to the gifted and also the included the long suffering children of some of the backers of the school who expected Mr. Block to bring genius to these children he would say. They would say to him it's up to the institute to make our children musical. To this block with Nash's teeth for it a theory which was that children should not be forced to study music. Amusingly
you never try to find out whether his own children were gifted. It's had to be a school teacher to suggest to my parents that one little girl called Suzanne shared musical gifts and should take music lessons. He had never tried to find out. It was then in cravin that after listening to most of the piano literature for children that it decided there was a dearth of Easy Pieces for children having musical substance. And by that he meant music that would have some depth of feeling and not be superficial and because he remembered vividly as a child that is he was sentimental impressionable. He felt that most children feel the same even in America or there are times I've been surprised by American children who seem so much more sophisticated than European children. He hoped that children would respond to some more sentimental and emotional music. At the same time he found that American children were rather embarrassed sometimes by the show of emotions. But twenty nine thousand twenty two he began to compose a children's pieces he was sure that he would reach
the children somehow and have them like music that had human emotion. He didn't realize how difficult it would be because of course they had to be technically easy to transmit to the limited means that would have meaning and not be babied pieces and not technical gains as really quite a problem and he struggled along and chugging along and or these pieces which he sent his good friend the pianist Howe Bauer for help with the fingering. He always apologize about his piano playing because he said he was not a pianist but his wife used to say that though he had been a valid virtue also she preferred his piano playing because it had so much warmth and coloring it was so orchestral and was very interesting is that the second wife of Debussy Lelo who knew my parents and spent many evenings with me used to say that when Bloch played the piano he sounded very much of Claude Debussy. Roadblock row 10 piano pieces and then they would be published by shimmies in 1923 and then he decided to call them off.
And these pieces are still part of the children's repertory everywhere and it's very interesting to know that the children do love the pieces and the most sentimental of them are the ones that appeal to them greatly. Sometimes I meet adults who tell me of the joy they had playing these Alfonse in the description of these pieces perhaps to explain you their reaction which justify Block's theory of feeling in need of this sort of children's music. Even our synthetic and sophisticated times. The first is called Lullaby. It's a wistful dreamy piece in the Iranian mode reminiscent of a little piece that I compose as a little girl. It's in the modes and it's a little bit melancholy and it's maybe why dedicated to me. The second is called Joyce Paddy it's a joy very joyous and jolly but some surprisingly it starts in a manic at the beginning. The third is called Where the mother. It was dedicated to my sister Lucien. It expresses all the ROM comforts of a little child years
a mother. This is interesting because Block's mother had to spend most of her days in the family store in Geneva and block as a child misters so deeply and would tell us how when she arrived home for supper he always washed and hoped she would put on a dressing gown for that meant she would stay with the children that evening. So one realizes that this piece was his own expression about how I felt about his mother. But what's even more interesting is I would firstly call this peace meditation and then it changed to with Mother you feel that could be closer to a child. The fourth piece is called elves in the same manner he called his peace first prelude and then change it to elves which is surely a better title for children. This is perhaps the most difficult piece technical to perform. But children seem to love it with its heart like arpeggios. Then comes a melody and when you do this you must have thought of a sentimental little girl pouring out a heart. And I've recollections of such a little girl who played and swayed and used too much pedal when she performed at the institute. The Pastoral that
follows is very blockin in mood because Pastor hours appear in many of his larger works with a feeling of Swiss Meadows the sorts where we're little children made gallons of flowers and pick strawberries. Rainy day was our mother's favorite our fountain. Again block reversed his own childhood the melancholy of a lonely little boy watching and listening to the rain in an empty apartment. Teasing there isn't a new thing stirred by this piece. Block had a cousin called Emma who had Sperry long legs according to block. She would prance into a room in a very special manner and blog as a little boy used to say. Cousin Emma comes in like this and saying this that that are that are that that are that are this is cousin Emma. He used that motif in the piece which has indications describing a model car in tears and again with Cousin Emma's printing ways. The last is a dream and that's after real and there is peace. A good happy dream for the children for whom your roads are faulty. You were
not here 10 are fought in by block performed by Morrow are genuine. Oh.
Off on teen 10 children's pieces for piano performed by Morrow a gay man
once again Suzanne block. The three of you were in piano was composed in the apartment of a brownstone house on Lexington Avenue New York June 1919. This is done to the sound of street cars and other city noises. This new you see me not very inspiring was perhaps the cause forcing him to find an escape from it in his music to escape into some exotic primitive world. For a little girl lying in bed with a hard influenza that had been raging everywhere shivering with fever and listening to father playing over strains of this strange music. Not only was it exotic It was a contribution of delirium. To this day when hearing this work I can feel the shivers and burning heat. There were parts of the music that through the door. Happily months later when the work when the $1000 prize off about Mrs. Elizabeth spake religion of competition. As she did for the bitch a festival to music Pittsfield my recollections were often better sought as my parents rejoiced
together at the good news. This is the first such an event in their lives after so many years of struggles. The premiere was given in Pittsfield Louis by your list and how about our pianist performing it. Their reaction was mixed since their work is far from sweet and pretty. One critic wrote so vitriolic an article with a few racial digs that an editor of music an American rap the critic in no uncertain terms. Others found their work epoch making and blogging then became associated with a violent dissonant music. Some years later when he brought out modern music he called his appointment that just wouldn't follow the pattern the label wanted expected from him. Block all consider the word Very soon after these events. In fact as he wrote the piano part he would he had much of an orchestra is unique in imaginative coloring and what did that Chicago festival honoring black 70th anniversary RAF and company perform the work. Doc was delighted founding the orchestration is still tracking and colorful. He had not heard it
for so long that he wanted what they had not overrated it's about the judgment of the work. But had this to say first of all my sweet does not belong to my so-called Jewish works though perhaps in spite of myself one may perceive here and there in a very few places a certain Jewish inspiration. It is rather a vision of the Far East that inspired me java Sumatra Borneo. Those wonderful countries I so often dreamed of but I never was fortunate enough to visit them in any other way than through my imagination. I first intended to give more explicit or picturesque titles to the four movements of the work as one in the jungle to grotesques three nocturne for the land of the sun. But those titles seem rather incomplete and satisfactory to me. Therefore I prefer to leave the imagination of the hearer completely unfettered rather than tie him to a definite programme. However I did give more indications of what he saw in the music of which we give a condensed version.
One lentil egg roll one here's a motif aiming to evoke a wild and raucous cries out of a savage bird of prey followed by a quiet brooding meditation by the viola. This one sets the atmosphere of the work which is so close to primitive nature. The slow introduction is followed by the Allegro which brings a motif of joyful and perhaps exotic character. The second part of the Allegro begins with a new idea perhaps a little Jewish in my sense. There is a climax worked out from the most important themes followed by a decrease in dough that leads to the conclusion of the electro again in silence and in slumbering mood. To Allegro your own eco rather difficult to define is the second movement. It is a curious mixture of grotesque and fantastic characters of sardonic and mysterious moods. What kind of sorrowful and bitter parody of humanity is dancing before us sometimes giggling sometimes serious. I myself do not know and cannot explain but I find traces of this kind of humor in
parts of my former works. The sketch of my first symphony and you know two in the which is of my opera Macbeth 1949 0 7 in the sketch so of my first string quartet one thousand sixteen. But here of course it has a different color and significance. Three lento. It is a sort of Rondo form this very simple page expresses the mystery of tropical nights. I remembered the wonderful account of a dear friend who lived once in Java. The beauty and vividness of his impressions I could never forget. They haunted me and almost unconsciously I had to express them in music. The last movement is probably the most cheerful thing I ever wrote. The form is extremely simple and obvious AB A. The middle part being a more lyrical episode built on motifs from the other movements treated in a broad and passionate mood. The first motifs are constructed on a pentatonic scale. A later motif more lyrical seems to be a transformation of the first.
The middle part uses subjects from the third and first movements. A presto leads to a log and take what is subject from the first movement is triumphantly recalled. The soul of the owner remembers the motifs. The meditation from the first movement a short and cheerful Allegro Vivace concludes the work their work is dedicated to Mrs. credits. You are not here just blocks. On piano before my wooden Primrose and David steam piano.
Ernest Bloch: The man and his music
Episode Number
Episode 14 of 15
Producing Organization
WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Riverside Church (New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-0c4sns2v).
Series Description
For series info, see Item 3659. This prog.: Enfantines; Suite for Viola and Piano
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Riverside Church (New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-39-14 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:15
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 14 of 15,” 1968-12-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 14 of 15.” 1968-12-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 14 of 15. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from