ERNEST BLOCH STUDIES
Edited jointly with Alexander Knapp. Cambridge University Press, 2016. This volume was first conceived at an academic conference on Bloch held at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 2007, in preparation for commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the composer’s death. Most of the leading Bloch scholars, from Switzerland, Israel, the United States and Japan as well the U.K., were present, and we were still able to draw on first-hand recollections of many who knew and had worked with him.
Much of the information available on Bloch and his work, both online and in print, is inaccurate, and we perceived a need for a reliable and comprehensive source of reference. Ernest Bloch, one of the most significant composers of the first half of the twentieth century, left his native Switzerland to settle in the USA in 1916; the titles of three of his symphonies – Israel, Helvetia, and America – indicate something of his life-long struggle with his own identity. His Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service), violin pieces such as Nigun, and the symphonic Schelomo for cello and orchestra, remain firmly in the repertoire; these, together with other works including the masterly Piano Quintet, the five String Quartets, and the opera Macbeth are fully dealt with in this volume. The book incorporates scholarly analysis of his compositions as well as a full chronology, catalogue of published and unpublished works, and select discography and bibliography. It is the most comprehensive and up-to-date study of Bloch’s life, musical achievement and reception to date; in addition, it draws on personal reminiscences of members of his family.
Preface by Ernest Bloch II (grandson of the composer)
Norman Solomon – Introduction
Alexander Knapp – Bloch in Geneva
Klára Móricz - The ‘Suffering and Greatness’ of Ernest Bloch
Malcolm Miller - Bloch, Wagner and Creativity
David M. Schiller - Bloch’s Sacred Service and works by Leonard Bernstein and Shulamit Ran David Z. Kushner – The Oregon Years
Philip Bohlman - ‘The Future Alone Will Be the Judge: Ernest Bloch’s Epic Journeys between Utopia and Dystopia’
Jehoash Hirshberg details the reception of Bloch in pre-Israel Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel; Zecharia Plavin takes up the story from 1954.
Stanley Henig writes on the performance history of Bloch’s only completed opera, Macbeth. Alexander Knapp analyses two of Bloch’s most celebrated works, Schelomo (cello and orchestra) and Baal Shem (violin and piano).
I contribute “Postcript: The Legacy”, in which I move from a description of the founding of the original Ernest Bloch Society in London in 1937 to current attempts to promote Bloch’s work.
A final, reference section consists of an Alphabetic List of Works, Chronology, Bibliography, list of internet resources and discography.