<<< << -- 4 -- Malcolm Miller ABSORPTION OF INFLUENCES
Remarkably Bloch had not yet heard any of Mahler's works, though there are clear echoes throughout, not least the slow movement, in which the motives are transformed into a mood of hope, and which has a depth and breadth of emotion which the RPO conveyed with beautiful expression. Similarly the Trio of the Scherzo has a Mahleresque grace and naturalness, depicting a love of nature through woodwind cameos, and transparent counterpoints, a major contrast to the heavy and thick orchestration of other parts such as the Scherzo's blaring brass fanfares that recall Wagner's Die Walkure. The finale is in two parts ('Will, Happiness'), a powerful fugue and chordal coda, thus reminiscent, perhaps, of Bruckner. The fugue subject is very unusual, a rising fifth and leap down an octave an a half to the third. It is both funny and serious in its Bachian development, which looks ahead to Blochs's neo-classical works of the 1940s and 50s, such as the two Concerti Grossi. Introduced by strings and then horn, the subject transfigures into a jaunty counter theme, then resumes with strettos towards a climax, leading to the organ-like coda. Here there are cyclic reminiscences of earlier themes, and some rather odd sequential modulations, growing towards the concluding major mode peroration.
Throughout Dalia Atlas conducted the RPO with panache and élan. Her dynamic puposefulness and focus sustained momentum yet allowing many magical moments to emerge tellingly.
It was a memorable performance of a turn of the 20th century symphony remarkable for its youthful artistic conviction and progressive imagination as much as its historic significance. A work which Romain Rolland, after its early performances in the first quarter of the century, declared 'one of the most important creations of the modern school' clearly deserves a new recording and Dalia Atlas is clearly the one for the task. Record companies take note!
Copyright © 1 July 2007
Malcolm Miller, London UK
A BLOCH REVIVAL IN FLORIDA
PROFOUND BEAUTY - ERNEST BLOCH'S MUSIC ON CD
BLOCH WORKS FOR CELLO
THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Dalia Atlas is speaking about the music of Ernest Bloch at the Bloch Jubilee International Conference Ernest Bloch: the man and his music for the 21st Century, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, UK, Sunday 29 July - Wednesday 1 August 2007. Details from The Jewish Music Institute - SOAS, University of London.