Ernest Bloch Essay

703 words - 3 pages

Ernest Bloch, an American composer, was born in Geneva on July 24th, 1880. He began his passion for music at the age of 9 when he began playing the violin and soon began to compose music. While at a conservatory in Brussels he studied music under teachers such as the Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye. Bloch’s compositions from this apprenticeship period reveal the influence of the Russian national school, particularly in matters of fluctuating meters, folk-flavored melodies, irregular rhythms, exotic scalar constructions, a propensity for modality, and coloristic scoring (Kushner 1).

At the end of the century, Bloch began to exploring the Franco-Belgian approach to his composition. The ...view middle of the document...

They had three children: Ivan in 1905, Suzanne in 1907, and Lucienne in 1909.

Bloch arrived at a unique mode of expression so intensely personal that the world of music was forced to take notice after much soul-searching on the subject of Judaism and his place within the faith and culture. He returned to his Jewish roots and created a series of biblically inspired epics collectively known as the “Jewish Cycle.” that were “rich orchestral garb and charged with surging energy and emotive power” (Kushner 5). The “Jewish Cycles” include Trois Poèmes Juifs, Prelude and Two Psalms (nos. 114 and 137), Psalm 22, Israel, and Schelomo.

In 1916, Bloch came to the United States as conductor of Maud Allan’s dance company. When that organization’s tour collapsed in November 1916, Bloch was rescued by the Flonzaley Quartet, which premiered his String Quartet no. 1 on 31 December 1916. Not long after that, performances of Bloch's “Jewish” works in Boston and New York resulted in public and critical acclaim and launched his career in America. Bloch began teaching David Mannes’s music school in New York and at Joanne Bird Shaw’s school in Peterboro, New Hampshire, and also conducted an...

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