Ernest Bloch



In Switzerland, there is nothing to suggest that Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) is in fact, in international terms, the most often-performed composer of Swiss origin. While the composer of the symphonic fresco Helvetia, The Land of Mountains and its People (1929) receives little attention in his homeland except for the occasional performance of a few chamber music works, the composer of the epic rhapsody America for choir and orchestra (1926) enjoys great popularity in his adopted homeland of North America. Bloch's First Concerto Grosso was written in 1924-5 for students of the Cleveland Institute of Music. It utilizes thematic material from sketches for a "Suite of Swiss Dances" that he had planned in 1899 but had never completed. Bloch's Second Concerto Grosso is less individual in character. It was written 27 years later for a purely string ensemble (after the manner of the original Baroque concerto grosso). It utilizes the Baroque division into Concertante (soli) and Ripieno (tutti) in order to take properly into account the formal peculiarities of the genre. Bloch wrote his Four Episodes for Chamber Orchestra for strings, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano in 1926. A year later, it won the first prize of the New York Chamber Society. The movements that make up the work are themselves self-contained, are characterized by different moods and forms of expression, and are highly colourful.


Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)


Zürcher Streichersolisten, János Balkányi (Leitung), Ensemble La Strimpellata, Matthias Kuhn (Leitung).

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