Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 8 of 15
Riverside radio presents the eight in a series of 15 programs. Ernest Bloch the man and his music the commentator for these programs is the composer's daughter Suzanne block. Mr. Block is a well-known authority on early music a lecture and a member of the faculty of the Juilliard School. In this series she provides illuminating details about her father's life and work and gives intriguing insights into the background of his compositions. On this week's program you'll hear the four episodes for piano winds and strings. The proclamation for trumpet in orchestra and the voice in the wilderness for cello and piano. And now here is Suzanne Bloch. The 1927 bloc won the first prize in a competition sponsored by The New York chamber society. He wanted his four and busy with four Chamber Orchestra. Their work is called for a string quintet flute clarinet best French horn and piano. What is unusual in instrumentation is that this is only one of its Cantonese anti outputs. Also unlike his usual approach the pro-peace are
totally unrelated. Each a separate unit having no relation to the other except in the last movement where in an almost humorous way he brings in a fragment of the opening theme. But this is not the usual cyclic manner of blocks using an earlier theme is a far off memory of the path. In this case luck is just having fun as you will see. This is where the composer said about each piece. Humoresque macabre grotesque forms a bit hazy as if in a nightmare they advance limping as if in a sad procession and seem to grow and submerge us. Then silence. And always in the same fantastic frame but veiled far away comes an obstinate complaint in this unreal world. The gray forms return slinking and begin to dance grimacing tormenting us more and more. They come nearer swelling overtaking everything multiplying like a swarm of bees and break up into emptiness. Suddenly. Obsession
it is the obsession of a single motif repeating itself in the form of 24 variations and a concentrated forgot or Pastoral the sound of a shepherd's pipe then a flute the piece of nature and its mystery insinuate themselves in us and penetrate little by little. At far a shiver of anguish and then all fades away. Appeasing itself in calm and serenity from of these first three movements. Nothing could be more expected than being exposed to an impression of the Chinese Theatre of San Francisco as seen by block in 1926 that frog of a disk entitled Chinese Theatre than to some block may have seem conservative to others a new wail of the new is unlimited imagination expressing itself in any sort of unconventional manner and that is not surprising to them. That's blithely changing the mood in style of his three episodes. He added a fourth when Chan is
music for a grand finale. Now this was no novel thing this town is music for him. In 1989 during the summer having the use of a phonograph he began to buy all sorts of unusual records down in New York's Lower East Side. These were bold and quaint and dingy little shops. He found in Chinatown a great many Chinese records which were for the Chinese people themselves and not as ethnic curiosities for the general public. The family was treated to all this and developed a good liking for it. Blog fun names for the different Chinese pieces we heard a particularly delicate one remanding us of those lovely Chinese paintings of a blossom or a single twig. This he called spring. The instruments were lights and a verse would come in suddenly seemingly praising all the joys of spring and such smiling pleasure that we children could almost see the face of the singer. The sum of these records are still vivid and they can is life after they would burst forth in an excellent mimicry of
these speeches and songs. When later he spent long evenings attending San Francisco's Chinese Theatre he took detailed notes of the music and was able to reconstruct what he called a synthesis of all the sights smells and sounds experienced. They already use Western instruments. You try to get the essence of what he heard So this fourth movement Chinese Theatre opens the pred you wouldn which amusingly incorporated that theme of his opening movement humorist Marcab. But insinuating it as if it were one of the slinky Chinese dragon has had great fun doing this. Then you use a clarinet and bassoon and cello to represent the human voices and then you compose a message of his own that is an owner's blocked Chinese melody that develops into dramatic accents which lead to a very large climax using a grid of percussion. Typical Chinese theater style then follows a great gay and rapid section using authentic Chinese motives which accelerate more and more in a joyous Manat such as
is the fashion in Chinese Theatre the dramatic power with accents returns with a short conclusion punctuated by the some of the singers and percussion. Look at the great respect of what he heard in the Chinese Theater. He also said that it was required great and deep a study to try to understand the tradition of so many centuries. So an article about time is moving here with the following notes even through my imperfect receptivity due to my ignorance. This music from another race another world has for me a style of perfection that very few works of our Occidental art possess to such a degree. It is the true expression of an old civilization of a refined culture. Besides which many of our Occidental manifestations seem barbaric. Nothing is brutal in it. It has force and delicacy at the same time it always evokes life. It is an experience of life not an arbitrary rhetoric. It seems to reflect a whole philosophy an acceptance of destiny
without rebellion without romanticism a philosophy of great wisdom. The impassibility the dignified attitude of the artist to perform at last in their task without idea of show without any consideration for the audience as if they were accomplishing a rite adds tremendously to the impression one forgets the time. The mill year and oneself one becomes involved in the ever changing rhythms and tunes so simple and so subtle as they penetrate in the recesses of your soul and without exciting your nerves. As our music so often does they impart to you some of their wisdom and their force. One becomes aware of the smallness of man of man's little importance as an individual but at the same time one is conscious of one's identity as a part of the whole world. You are not here in this box but before the players that have been conducting massive promise.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah yeah. Yeah oh and yeah. Yeah. Yeah yeah. You eat. At you. The band.
And when it.
Eat. Eat. Eat a eat you. Can Eat the at. The at. The at. Oh. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. You.
Eat. You. To. You. Yeah. Yeah I am the end. Four episodes for piano wins and strings with soloist Willie must say Los and the Knickerbocker Chamber Players conducted by isor Solomon again Mrs. and blah blah did not read subtle music for any sort of wooden instrument until he was sixty eight years of age when in 1948
he was a concert you know for soul food in a villa with strings. Many of us felt that this treatment of the pot was specially lovely and wanted to write I had not written more for wind instruments before. But not until he was 74 to begin consider this idea he did so with a symphony for trombone and he wanted to follow this with the much shorter proclamation of the trumpet in the orchestra and then the following year chemistry from a doubtful flute in strings the proclamation of a trumpet as it's thought indicates uses a trumpet to proclaim it wordless message. Melodic line is that of an even balance giving the feeling of improvised prose. The racket for trumpet is very different from the usual prop of a gym it's near the fanfare now full of technical fireworks. Yes trade messages delivered with many moods and cow certitude. They're writing for the sole purpose uncommon in his way. He's technically playable and then with the orchestra is a short
work lasting only seven minutes you will hear proclamation of a trumpet performed by the Lawrenceville orchestra conductor Leon riper trumpet. The thing with. The book. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah but. The only.
Thing and. The only. Thing. Yeah.
Yeah things. Are going. And.
With. That. Group. Trumpet soloist in the performance of the proclamation for trumpet in orchestra Ernest Bloch with
the orchestra directed by Robert Whitney had completed an orchestra 36 was good for the musicologist and critic who had been the editor of the musical quarterly and director of music publishing house to find a title for the work tentatively work suggested in the wilderness for the title on the manuscript. This composition did not have the success that is unhappy and even with a cellist could understand your work and voice in the wilderness was neglected and overshadowed. You're in discussion about this. I don't figure in the music publishing field what are the most interesting point and I'm sure my father would never have thought off the china part isn't obligated to is not a big seller
work and watch others who want to play age when there's a wonderfully sounding part of the other work than his publisher want to know why do you block out such a work. I didn't make this shallow project I began to was you writing this work for some first jealous friend in some orchestra. It brought to light some of to me that my father never would have even thought of all this. He had an idea earth didn't want its practicability its commercial possibility its possible attraction for performer. He just had an idea or a conception of her work with a subdued cello voice and carried it out. The questions brought our friend open for me and you ave a thought about a composer's approach to work for nowadays composers write with a consciousness of many factors for the success of the work. Even at the time elements you got to broadcast in the recordings not mentioning commissions guaranteed first block could have composed this way. He was of a different make up. For him the idea came first. The rest would have to adjust to the work the goddess of practical and material considerations.
He described this composition as a suite of pieces in the nature of soliloquy these moods of a prophetic tent. At first at the idea of writing these pieces an alternation of orchestra and cello. The letter repeating is sort of a paraphrase of what had been heard before.
- Episode Number
- Episode 8 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)
- AAPB ID
- Series Description
- For series info, see Item 3659. This prog.: Four episodes for Piano, Winds, and Strings; Proclamation for Trumpet and Orchestra; Voice in the Wilderness
- Media type
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Riverside Church (New York, N.Y.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-39-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 8 of 15,” 1968-10-30, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0k26fb4g.
- MLA: “Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 8 of 15.” 1968-10-30. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0k26fb4g>.
- APA: Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 8 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 http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0k26fb4g