From Beethoven’s Mouth to Bloch’s Ear Concert
Wednesday 17th December, 7:30pm
Featuring Raphael Wallfisch, Cello and John York, Piano
Ernest Bloch was one of the most prominent Jewish composers, writing works that are explicitly from that viewpoint, some of which feature in this concert. What is perhaps less well-known is the extent to which he influenced the development of Twentieth Century music – numbering among his pupils era-defining composers such as George Antheil and Roger Sessions.
In this concert Raphael Wallfisch, one of the most admired cellists of our time, and the pianist John Yorke explore Bloch’s influence in another way. If works like Three Pieces ‘From Jewish Life’ and even the unpublished Sonate (1897) have helped to form our sense of what Jewish music is, what happens if these works are interspersed with some of the masterpieces that Bloch himself would have grown up listening to? And how much does context matter when we hear music? So if we listen to Beethoven’s 12 Variations on a theme from Handel’s oratorio ‘Judas Maccabeus’ (Jewish-themed of course), Schumann’s Five Pieces in Folk Idiom and Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor Op.19 – all of which the musicians will play – interspersed with the two ‘Jewish’ works by Bloch, could we hear something, somehow Jewish in them? Something that Bloch might have picked up on and might have then become integrated into Jewish music and even into the music in our synagogues today? Of course, one doesn’t have to ‘listen with Jewish ears’ to enjoy this as what it will certainly be – a wonderful concert!
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