Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ernest Bloch - Poèmes d'automne; Psaumes; Hiver-Printemps (David Shallon)


Composer: Ernest Bloch
  1. Hiver-Printemps, symphonic poems: I. Hiver
  2. Hiver-Printemps, symphonic poems: II. Printemps
  3. Poèmes d'automne, for mezzo-soprano & orchestra: I. La vagabonde
  4. Poèmes d'automne, for mezzo-soprano & orchestra: II. L'Abri
  5. Poèmes d'automne, for mezzo-soprano & orchestra: III. Le déclin
  6. Poèmes d'automne, for mezzo-soprano & orchestra: IV. Invocation
  7. In the Night, for orchestra
  8. Deux Psaumes, for soprano & orchestra: Prélude
  9. Deux Psaumes, for soprano & orchestra: Psaume 114
  10. Deux Psaumes, for soprano & orchestra: Psaume 137
  11. Psaume 22, for baritone & orchestra

Mireille Delunsch, soprano (9, 10)
Brigitte Balleys, mezzo-soprano (3-6)
Vincent Le Texier, baritone (11)
Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
David Shallon, conductor

Date: 1999
Label: Timpani




Each new release of little-known music by Ernest Bloch continues to impress. Here’s a really fine composer, one whose seriousness, exuberance, and passion always communicates directly and intelligently. So it proves with these (generally) early works. The Psalm settings are particularly important, forming as they do a hitherto little-known chapter in Bloch’s Jewish cycle–the catalog of works that includes his most famous piece of all, the tone poem for cello and orchestra Schelomo. The quasi-oriental tunes and richly exotic but always tastefully displayed orchestral colors proclaim these Psalm arrangements as vintage Bloch. The song cycle Poems of Autumn redeems some rather soggy poetry with excellent, sensitive word setting and curvaceous melodic lines. Two instrumental works, the “love poem” In the Night (an intensely expressive miniature), and the early, evocative diptych Hiver-Printemps (Winter-Spring) complete a program that is as well performed by all concerned as it is musically valuable. This disc is a real sleeper that deserves more attention than it is likely to receive. If you enjoy either Bloch particularly, or music that evokes an authentic fin-de-siècle Romanticism, you’ll want to hear this.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

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.


David Shallon (October 15, 1950 in Tel Aviv, Israel - September 16, 2000 in Tokyo, Japan) was an Israeli conductor. He studied violin, viola, horn, composition and conducting with Noam Sheriff. He completed his conducting studies with Hans Swarowsky (1973-1975) and worked as an assistant to Leonard Bernstein (1974-1979). David Shallon went on to make appearances as a guest conductor with major European orchestras and opera houses. He took office as head of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra in September 1997. His last recordings were made with his wife Tabea Zimmermann, the famous young violist.


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