Nigun from Baal Shem – Three Pictures of Chassidic Life

Composer: Ernest Bloch (b. 1880 - d. 1959)
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Composer: Ernest Bloch (b. 1880 - d. 1959)

Performance date: 27/06/2010

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1923

Duration: 00:06:42

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: vn, pf

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Artists: Angela Yoffe - [piano]
Vadim Gluzman - [violin]

Nigun from Baal Shem – Three Pictures of Chassidic Life

Ernest Bloch was a prolific Jewish-Swiss composer who emigrated to
the United States. He is particularly known for his many works on Jewish
themes, but he also composed five string quartets, two piano quintets and a
wide selection of instrumental duos. Baal
was composed in 1923,
the year he received his US citizenship and he dedicated it to the memory of
his mother, who had died two years earlier.

Bloch’s Jewish
themed works came from an inner impulse rather than a conscious absorption of
Hebraic folk elements. He himself wrote: It
is neither my purpose nor my desire to attempt a reconstruction of Jewish
music, nor to base my work on more or less authentic melodies; for me the
important thing is to write good and sincere music. What interests me is the
Jewish soul, the enigmatic, ardent, turbulent soul, that I feel vibrating
throughout the Bible, it is all this that I endeavour to hear in myself and to
transcribe into my music, the venerable emotion of the race that slumbers way down
in our souls.

Nigun is the most
extrovert part of Baal Shem. Here Bloch tries to recreate the
feeling of ecstatic religious chanting through a highly charged and ornate
melody that rises to a fever pitch and then dies away to a gentle close.