Bloch - Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque (hr-Sinf., J. Vogler, cond. Inbal)

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Bloch: Schelomo – Hebräische Rhapsodie ? hr-Sinfonieorchester ? Jan Vogler ? Eliahu Inbal

hr-Sinfonieorchester – Frankfurt Radio Symphony ?
Jan Vogler, Violoncello ?
Eliahu Inbal, Dirigent ?

Alte Oper Frankfurt, 25. November 2016 ?

Website: ?


Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra was the final work of composer Ernest Bloch’s “Jewish Cycle.” Schelomo, which was written in 1915 to 1916, premiered on May 3, 1917, played by cellist Hans Kindler. Artur Bodanzky conducted the concert, which took place in Carnegie Hall. This concert included other works from Bloch’s “Jewish Cycle,” including the premier of Bloch’s works, the Israel Symphony, which Bloch himself conducted. Three Jewish Tone Poems was also on the concert, but it had premiered two months earlier in Boston.

The “Cycle” refers to a series of compositions by Bloch in which he was trying to find his musical identity. This was Bloch’s way of expressing his personal conception and interpretation of what he thought Jewish music should be, since the Jewish nation did not exist, in the strictest sense, at the time these biblically inspired works were written. These works include: Three Jewish Tone Poems (1913); Prelude and Psalms 114 and 137 for soprano and orchestra (1912–1914); Psalm 22 for baritone and orchestra (1914); Israel: Symphony with voices (1912–1916); and Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra (1916).

Schelomo was the final work completed by Bloch before coming to America in 1916. Initially conceived as a vocal work set the text from the Book of Ecclesiastes, the composer ran into trouble deciding what language to use. A serendipitous meeting occurred between Bloch and cellist Alexandre Barjansky, who impressed Bloch with his mastery of the instrument, which had the brooding vocal quality that he envisioned for Schelomo. The word Schelomo, being the Hebrew form of Solomon, uses the violoncello to represent the voice of King Solomon. While Bloch did search for inspiration from the Bible for this composition, it was instead a wax statuette of King Solomon, created by Katherina Barjansky, wife of Bloch’s friend, cellist Alexandre Barjansky, to whom the work was dedicated.
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