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Schelomo is Bloch's best-known cello work; but there is also the orchestral Voice in the Wilderness. For the rest, this CD shows what emphasis Bloch placed on cello sonorities. It is significant that the first two unaccompanied Suites are dedicated to the Canadian cellist, Zara Nelsova. Bloch first met her in 1949, and she was at once asked to participate in a London festival of his music. He was later to remark in gratitude: 'Nelsova is my music'. This only underlines how naturally Bloch's declamatory eloquence took to the cello.

The three pieces From Jewish Life date from 1924, and the opening 'Prayer', recorded long ago by Bloch and Nelsova, shows at once the cogency of Bloch's rhetoric [listen -- track 1, 0:00-0:59]. The Méditation hébraïque of the same year starts more sombrely but rises also to a high pitch of intensity [listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:27]. These two works are all Bloch wrote for cello and piano; but Peter Bruns has appropriated also the Baal Shem violin pieces for his instrument, so that we can hear as well these three of Chassidic life, the inner thoughts of mystical Jewish sectaries. The final 'Rejoicing' commemorates the moment when Moses hands on the torch to the Jewish people [listen -- track 20, 1:51-2:50].

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Copyright © 24 December 2000 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - OPUS 111 OPS 30-232

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