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Riverside radio present the 11 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 a member of the faculty at The Juilliard School of Music. Our program today will be devoted in its entirety to a performance of the sacred service of Ernest Bloch. The first four parts performed by The New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein direction with Robert Merrill as soloist and the final section by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and choir under the direction of the composer Cantor. Here to introduce our program is the composer's daughter Suzanne block when in the isolated little village of rubber read to an Italian Switzerland blood began to work on the Secret Service. HAVE A DAD hakodesh. He had spent it first many months studying the Hebrew text having had little Hebrew schooling only as it Shadd showing the lessons of the sister his reminiscences show that the two children were more mischievous than studious. Yet in his fifties my father still had vivid memories of those lessons. The sound of the woods to which
he responded always as a musician fascinated him so as he re studied Hebrew later he would exaggerate the accidents and sonorities as if they were percussive. When you have gathered voluminous notes on the text he would read them to us marveling at the logic and symbolism of the language to which he reacted with great imagination. I'm still studying my Hebrew text. I have now memorized entirely the whole service in Hebrew. I can write it in Hebrew from memory. I know what significance word by word I have discovered the grammar without grammar. But what is more important. I have absorbed it to the point that it has become mine and as if it were the very expression of my soul. It far surpasses that you are service now it has become a cosmic poem a glorification of the laws of the universe. It has become the very text I was after since the age of 10. A dream of a force is a primordial element. Before the world existed. I
declaim out loud amidst the rocks and forests in the great silence and the music slowly labrat itself. I intend besides the service to write a great orchestral choral work with it. I do not care anymore what people will say I do not wish it for the Jews who will probably fight it not for the critics not for the tradition that has become a private affair between God and me. He had been disappointed in some of the services in his chance nations which to him rob the text of his rugged and mystical qualities. He would then become an actor and show with a vivid mimicry the differences of interpretation with either humor or impatience. The service meant to him many different things he saw the past the mysterious does it. This struggle gives elements bondage persecution the Siss of ancient prophets. He also felt in this service the contact with present day living and the deep sense of family life which he himself had so strongly. And when he mourned
the departed ones he became the Son. But he also reached out beyond the enclosure of the synagogue for he Steve you know all roads of music accepted and admired the expressions of other faiths. We go and show where the Koran and contents of Bach he saw all this as a universal language and thus he approached his work. He began to compose the actual music in 1932 and finished it in 1934 the first performance was given in Torino Italy in 1934. Bloch conducting the first American performance given in County Hall in New York in April of the same year had also block as conductor with this collection Tom directed by your OSS collaborating. The work is dedicated to Gerald Warburg who commissioned it. The style of the service is varied. A tense very heated break at others showing the influence of the polyphonic music of the 16th and 17th centuries which she had studied in
great detail when in one thousand twenty eight he began to really learn counterpoint authority. Hundreds of his own examples have been kept by him all neatly copied in little black notebooks near the end of the service again his tag changes to a strange impressionistic background for the last poem of which you will hear more later. The entire work is unified by Short's Kansas famous and each beginning of the five sections of the work. When he hears this fragment but with a different character his use of counterpoint before had served him well. After my father's death when we all returned to the house with our mother at agot beach in a sudden feeling of desolation realizing we would no longer see the little ghost of a figure shuffling in the home so thin in his last years I went to the room where he composed up the wooden stairs of the old garage into the
cold place still alive by its shelves full of books and music. There I saw the little counterpoint books in a row. Often it told me that if I wanted them I could have been since he was sure I would find material for 30 instruments of the sorts I played so I took them out and perused them. Finding comfort in this all the eggs a size imitations in two pots in three pots and the various modes suddenly I came on a page in Mont Basso obsession not to on a mixolydian conses famous and written very small was mobbed for possible Jewish service it was a conscious premise of Avodart hakodesh written over and over in different manners and rhythms to which were given different counterpoints. This was written in PHP for two time. But on the next page the same Kansas famous was given in three to time as if he had been following their time Dishan of the sixteenth century dances where duple timepiece was followed by its equivalent in triple
time which once I began to transcribe some of his music into tablature for the huge with the idea that this tupac Basso up snafu could stand on the instrument which lends itself so well to counterpoint Thus in solitude upstairs in the large cold room. There was comfort in music and that of the sacred service. This cult is famous which actually it's home for you has been used before. Here it is. It is one of the plain songs that stems from the ancient Jewish liturgy which influenced the early Christian music. It is the intonation of the Magnificat of the Catholic Church. And one hears it's also in modes out's Jupiter Symphony at the opening of the One can find many more examples still. It was one of my favorite formulas blocks only
notes about his service cover a large amount of pages but he condensed them as program notes and these shall be read section by section preceding the music. First is a general statement about the work the service is a setting of Hebrew text used in the reform temples of America. Most of them belong to the Sabbath morning service and they originate from the Psalms Deuteronomy Exodus Isaiah proverbs and other sources of the Jewish spiritual patrimony. These texts embody the essence of Israel's aspirations and its message to the world. The Jewish in its routes this message seems to me above all a gift of Israel to the whole of mankind. It symbolizes for me far more than a Jewish service for its great simplicity and variety. It embodies a philosophy acceptable to all men. Part 1 the short orchestral prelude meditation sets forth the initial mixolydian motif which permeates the whole work. How goodly Tense is a kind of invocation.
More liturgical is singing his praise that follows a short intuited leads to oh here Israel which is the great profession of the Jewish faith. The essential affirmation of unity then comes and thou shalt love him characterizing the union of religion in everyday life. The idea of a religion not of words but of acts. Who is like the is the crowd's response. And it expresses its exaltation in the section and the Lord shall reign the tragic accents of rock of Israel succeed this short lived joy however to end part one on the mournful note expressive of the suffering of humanity. Park to hear the music comes from another world seraphic in mysterious Qadosh called oh Chicago Holy holy holy is the original form of the Sanctus sanctus sanctus of the Catholic Church. This leads to one is he our God.
In its formidable concision and affirmations of the unity of the world upon its repetition its mood changes completely as it represents here the faith of the people in this affirmation part two ends in the pain of joy with Thou shalt reign. I don't know I evermore part 3. This deal symbolically with the law its order discipline in the mitigations. But before accepting it a purification of heart is required. A short prelude silent devotion and the acapella chorus made the words of my mouth express this feeling. Then the cantor intones lift up your heads all the portals that the King of glory may enter. This I interpreted in the sense of clouds rising high into the sky and of darkness receding from man's heart. I wanted to express the wish that man may free himself from heat from dark instincts and all that prevents him from rising above himself and seeing the truth. Then the scroll is taken from the arc
symphonic interlude and borne slowly through the assembly and the council explains the law which God gave for Moses is the law of the house of Jacob. The chorus repeats it and both the cantor and chorus call house of Jacob. In a sense for me of all mankind come ye and walk with me in the light of God and light bursts out clear and mystical. It abates and mysteriously the cantor once more proclaims the act of faith. Our God is one part for we come back to Earth. The law is returned to the Ark. It is hidden now but it must become a part of our life to remain alive in the hearts of man. The Canticle to the people and the crowd expressing its joy intones earth sees his glory then the counter alternating with the chorus proclaims the wisdom imperfections of the law and remind the people not to forsake it. A
song of peace tree of life ends the fourth part. Part 5 epilogue the first part adoration expresses the peace and solemnity of the Sabbath. Now the cantor addresses the people in a recitative spoken voice in which he prays that before long virtue may reign. The chorus answers on that day the Lord shall be one and his name one. Suddenly the color changes. The mind turns to those who have finished their earthly course but have not ceased to be in the words in the divine order of nature is expressed the whole philosophy of the work. It is the conception of the Hebrew prophets from afar as heard again the supplication of mankind its cry to God for help. For an explanation of this sad and comprehensible world. But the reason of our sufferings. God of Israel arise to the help of Israel after an ominous silence from the uttermost distance out of time out of space above time space matter of
which we know nothing. A kind of collective voice rises slowly mysteriously. Is it the key. The beautiful poem Madona long eternal God was used here. It embodies a philosophy which transcends all creeds all science and which properly interpreted may outlive them all. It is perhaps the last word of wisdom and knowledge. Lot of eternity before all forms were created and after the whole he disappeared vanished into nothingness. He alone would reign terribly and he is one. No second I interpreted this last trophy into his hand I commit my spirit and with my spirit my body the Lord is with me. I shall not fear by the idea of death excepted as life is accepted thus as a last resort. He relies humbly upon
the vast forces the laws the everlasting and higher truth of the universe and upon their ultimate wisdom. After this cosmic dream we come back to earth again with the three benedictions and the three Amen's and the last expression of the Cantor to the assembly is the beautiful word Rome which means peace and US Bloch's sacred service of Adak hakodesh the fist full of form by the New York Philharmonic and then advanced the rugged marrow cancer the finest section performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and choir under the direction of the composer with cancer. To.
The. I.
Knew. Led away actually led. The effort.
EH EH EH EH EH be. The end. An elite.
Ernest Bloch: The man and his music
Episode Number
Episode 11 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)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3659. This prog.: Sacred Service (final section performed under the direction of the composer)
Media type
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Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Riverside Church (New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-39-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:26:14
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Chicago: “Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 11 of 15,” 1968-11-20, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 11 of 15.” 1968-11-20. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Ernest Bloch: The man and his music; Episode 11 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