Deft Stagecraft and Virtuosity
Bloch and Israeli Music,
heard by MALCOLM MILLER
There was an exciting display of musical talent, colourful instrumentation and fascinating unfamiliar 20th and 21st century repertoire to be savoured at the double competition event held at the Britten Theatre of the Royal College of Music in London last week (15 July 2010). One hundred and forty competitors from more than forty eight different countries, including Europe, USA, South America and the Far East entered for the Third International Israeli Music Competition and the Second International Ernest Bloch Competition, from which twenty two were selected for the semi-finals on 11 July, and six soloists and ensembles selected for the finals.
Since the launch of the competition two years ago, the cellist and impresario Sagi Hartov has developed it this year with initiative, energy and vision, into a first league event, with patronage from Dame Fanny Waterman and Ernest Bloch II -- the composer's grandson -- as well as significant cash prizes, and concerts and recordings for the winners in both Israel and the UK. Certainly the distinguished array of leading musicians on the Jury (amongst them Sarah Aaronson, Daniel Adni, Teresa Cahill, Julian Dawes, Paul de Keyser, Norma Fisher, Benjamin Frith, Florian Leonhard, Maureen Smith, Professor Malcolm Troup and Lauren Weavers) attested to the increasing importance given to the competitions, which have gained a regular place in the UK's musical calendar -- the next one is scheduled for July 2011 -- and were recorded for broadcast on Israeli Classical Music radio 'Kol Yisrael'.