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pianist, composer, conductor and musicologist

Season 2. July 2011 - June 2012. Number: 6, December 2011
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Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
Ernest Bloch fully realized a most challenging attempt for any artist: he composed a truly sincere music with genuine inspiration without concessions to the easiness of “being modern” for the sake of it, neither for a “cheap” and easy neo-classicism or sterile “nationalism”. Read some search results on the topic...
Is "modernism" a requisite for being a good composer?
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Ernest Bloch, unlike many of his contemporaries, never confined himself in an "easy" and "primitive" nationalism
Start a discussion on that topic in my Facebook page... Click here to connect with me on my personal Facebook space, or here to visit my Fan page...
Alexis+Weissenberg.jpgimage from Wikimedia
A very strong composer background serving an uncompromising view on humanity and the world.
He was a composer with incredibly rich and comprehensive musical background, a clear and “timeless” view on humanity, history and the arts, he dismissed all fashionable currents of its time for being honest with himself.

Our view of his place in the history of music is somewhat overshadowed by the twisted way we are programmed to adopt when looking back in time.

When we look back at a composer’s work much too often we are to consider almost exclusively the question “what is new with him?” This line of thought may well be  traced back at times when Brahms was viewed as a “boring reactionary”. It may be now the time for us to consider our judgmental values on music and aesthetics when everything so called new is already well behind us. Click here to connect with me for discussing that on my personal Facebook space, or here to visit my Fan page...

We have much to learn from Ernest Bloch
The “music” of silence or the “music” of a crashing piano dropped on the curb from a high building is now ancient history. During a period of intense intellectual research and elaborated musical construction, in the late fifties and sixties, the musical writing was considered an art. The craft has been raised to its summit by composers like Boulez, Stockhausen, Berio and others. That needed long studies and was quite time-consuming.

New musical trends like the endless repetitions of a single small motif and its phase
shifts (i.e. minimalism) or the so-called spectral analysis and reconstruction of  (non-structural) harmonies (i.e. spectralism) were so much easier to use to make “modern music”.

Those currents had in common one strong “selling point:” the absence of
any compositional refinement and the ease of usage.

Similarly a number of “neo”s appeared. Neo-romanticism, neo-tonality and many
others. I believe we have much to learn from Ernest Bloch. Click here to connect with me for discussing this on my personal Facebook space, or here to visit my Fan page...

Not a neo-(some)thing...
Ernest Bloch was not a “neo” something, “modern” nor a revolutionary. He was a master composer with a fantastic music writing “virtuosity” and technique and a fully master orchestrator. He composed the most sincere music by pulling his inspiration not from more or less fashionable currents but from eternal sources like the nature, the ocean and the Bible.
Click here to connect with me for discussing that on my personal Facebook space, or here to visit my Fan page...

Some interesting search results:

Connections - Ernest Bloch Legacy

Ernest Bloch was a noted composer of contemporary Jewish music.  His best known works include Schelomo, Israel Symphony, Sacred Service, and Rhapsodie Hebraic, compositions with Jewish themes.  He was the winner of a Musical America contest for his work America, which was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, with Alfred Hertz as conductor, in 1928.
Ernest Bloch was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1880.  He studied music there and in France, Germany and Brussels.  After his studies, he lectured at the conservatory in Geneva.  He visited the United States and became a citizen in 1924. Mr. Bloch directed the Institute of Music in Cleveland from 1920-1925, after which he served as the artistic director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music until1930.

International Ernest Bloch Society: UK - Ernest Bloch Legacy

Ernest Bloch was so admired in his heyday that many considered him the fourth 'B' after Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.  He was one of the most original composers of the 20th century whose music, whilst intellectually challenging, was accessible to a wide audience.

Stage and Studio | KBOO Community Radio

Composer Ernest Bloch was well known for his music, but people may not know that he was also an avid amateur photographer. Producer Tali Singer presents a feature about Bloch, whose photographs are being showcased at the  Oregon Jewish Museum .  We'll hear from Ernie Bloch, the  grandson of Ernest Bloch, as well as Curator Eric Johnson, Museum  Director Judith Margles and Ron Blessinger of  Third Angle Ensemble . Third Angle will be performing Bloch's music at three concerts at the museum January 26, 27, and 30.

International Ernest Bloch Society: UK - Ernest Bloch Legacy

An International Society celebrating Ernest Bloch was launched in London in the summer of 2008 to herald the 50th anniversary in 2009 of the composer's death. This Society revives the original one set up in London and New York in 1937 with Albert Einstein as Honorary President.

Ernest Bloch

As a youth, Ernest Bloch was given flute and violin. He studied in Geneva under violinist Louis Rey, composition and music theory under Jaques-Dalcroze, and most notably, in Frankfurt under Iwan Knorr. Beyond that, Bloch came under the influence of the "Young French" movement --  Vincent d'Indy , Ernest Chausson, and  Claude Debussy . In 1903 he completed his first Symphony, most of which was performed in Basel at the Festival of German Musicians. He tried to write an opera,  Macbeth , but had trouble getting acceptance. It was finally performed in 1910 at the  Opéra-Comique  in Paris, to devastating reviews. In the meantime, Bloch took a job as conductor. In 1915, his second Symphony was only a moderate success.

January | 2011 | A thousand composers you need to know about

Holts's music is belongs to the romantic era and is often scored for big orchestras. One of his prominent works is   Egdon Heath   which Holst himself thought of as his greatest masterpiece. His most famous composition however is definitely  The Planets  which is a majestic and imaginative interpretation of the other seven planets (Pluto had not been discovered) and is often said to have greatly influenced 20th century film music. This is in my opinion a great understatement as some of this music could work seamlessly with almost any large scale movie production that you've seen in your life. Just listen to this and imagine watching Star Wars (or any other Sci-Fi movie) alongside it.

A masterly composer of music for strings, Bloch wrote four string quartets, Schelomo--A Hebrew Rhapsody (for cello and orchestra), and A Voice in the Wilderness (for orchestra and cello obbligato), which are deeply emotional works and rank among the most distinguished achievements in the neo-classic and neo-romantic idiom of early 20th-century music. Bloch's pupil Roger Sessions praised him for his special ability to express "the grandeur of human suffering." The successful premiere by the Boston Symphony of Bloch's Trois Poemes Juifs in 1917 encouraged the composer to settle in the United States. He soon assumed the directorship of the Cleveland Institute of Music and later the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He also taught at the University of California at Berkeley.

cd cover
CD: "Tango" Solo Piano arrangements of the works of Astor Piazzolla
My "Tango" CD featuring my own arrangements of the famous Tangos by Astor Piazzolla. The CD is not available outside Turkey.  The complete CD can be auditioned here...
image from Wikimedia
I recently published a paper on the Ernest Bloch and Schelomo you can read it (pdf -1.9MB) here...
image from Wikimedia
I recently created classicalvideos.net which is the one and only classical music video sharing site, please connect, publish, comment and share if you like.

"The gods too are fond of a joke" Solo Piano Free improvisation  ~ M. Ravel Concerto for the Left Hand

Mehmet Okonsar is a pianist-composer-conductor and musicologist. Besides his international concert carrier he is a prolific writer.  He is the founder of the first classical music-musicology dedicated blog site: "inventor-musicae" as well as the first classical-music video portal : http://www.classicalvideos.net. Mehmet Okonsar's official site: http://www.okonsar.com
Inspiration By Tzvi Freeman
This is the impossible position He has put us in: The paradox of outrage.
We believe that at the core of reality there lies a G-d who is essentially good and cares for each one according to his or her needs, guiding each one to the right path, punishing wickedness and rewarding goodness in fair and equal measure. And so, over and over we are outraged--because what we experience flies in the face of this entire belief. [read more...]
Any fool can paint a picture, but it takes a wise person to be able to sell it.

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