WARNING! This blog use pop-up advertisements. Be advised and use Adblock/Ublock if you are allergic.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ernest Bloch - Music for String Quartet (Galatea Quartet)


Composer: Ernest Bloch
  1. (01) Prelude (Recueillement). Larghetto
  2. (02-04) Landscapes (Paysages)
  3. (05) Prayer (from Jewish Life No. 1). Andante moderato (arr. Julien Kilchenmann)
  4. (06-07) Deux pièces
  5. (08) Night (Nuit). Andante Moderato
  6. (09-10) In the Mountains (Haute Savoie)
  7. (11-14) String Quartet in G major

Galatea Quartet
Yuka Tsuboi, violin
Sarah Kilchenmann, violin
David Schneebeli, viola
Julien Kilchenmann, cello

Date: 2011
Label: Sony Classical



Swiss-German alliance in Bloch’s quartet miniatures

Bloch wrote five mature string quartets, spanning 40 years of his life, while the impressionistic shorter pieces included here date from between 1924 and 1950. They are highly characteristic, intense in feeling, restless, harmonically rich and well worth getting to know. The G major Quartet, however, is an enjoyably accomplished student work written when Bloch was only 15 years old. It is in the classical tradition and has a fine slow movement and an attractively light-hearted finale.

Of the shorter, evocative miniatures, the opening Prelude (Recueillement) is unexpectedly brief (barely four minutes) but poignant, a slow fugal farewell to the composer’s directorship of the Cleveland Institute of Music. The three Landscapes are even shorter and similarly concentrated, the first two lyrical, the last, shortest of all, bringing pounding percussive effects. In the warmly passionate Prayer (arranged by the quartet’s cellist, Julian Kilchenmann) is the Bloch we recognise from Schelomo. The Two Pieces, written much later in 1938 but based on earlier material, are contrasted, the first gracious and relatively calm, the second all but a scherzando. Night is a hauntingly characteristic nocturnal, full of melancholy. The two sketches In the Mountains are quite contrasted. The first is a yearning impression of dusk falling over the Haute Savoie, where the composer regularly visited in his youth, and the second is a lively rustic dance, altogether more positive and life-assertive.

The performances by the Galatea Quartet, very well recorded, are highly sympathic and beautifully played, catching the composer’s deeply felt response to his surroundings.

-- Ivan March, Gramophone

More reviews:


Ernest Bloch (July 24, 1880 – July 15, 1959) was a Swiss-born American composer.  Bloch's musical style does not fit easily into any of the usual categories; he studied variously with Jaques-Dalcroze, Iwan Knorr and Ludwig Thuille, as well as corresponding with Mahler and meeting Debussy. Many of his works - as can be seen from their Hebrew-inspired titles - also draw heavily on his Jewish heritage. He held several teaching appointments in the U.S., with George Antheil, Frederick Jacobi, Quincy Porter, Bernard Rogers, and Roger Sessions among his pupils.


The Zurich based Galatea Quartet was founded in 2005. The ensemble studied under the tutelage of both Stephan Görner of the Carmina Quartet in Zurich and the Artemis Quartet in Berlin. The quartet since performs numerous concerts in Europe and abroad, performing world premieres of contemporary music and works with artists such as Jon Lord, founder of Deep Purple, or local bands. The quartet has existed in its original configuration since its inception in early 2005 until violist David Schneebeli left the formation in Summer 2013. His successor is Hugo Bollschweiler.


FLAC, tracks
Links in comment


  1. Copy Adfly (adf.ly/XXXXXX), Shorte.st (viid.me/XXXXXX) or LinkShrink (linkshrink.net/XXXXXX) to your browser's address bar, wait 5 seconds, then click on 'Skip [This] Ad' (or 'Continue') (yellow button, top right).
    If Adfly, Shorte.st or LinkShrink ask you to download anything, IGNORE them, only download from file hosting site (mega.nz).
    If you encounter 'Bandwidth Limit Exceeded' problem, try to create a free account on MEGA.