Friday, January 28, 2011

Bloch's Sacred Service

Shabbat Shalom everyone,

This isn't my usual 'get in the Shabbat groove' video, but I've been listening to a lot of art music lately in prep for a talk I'm giving at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor on Monday. This week I want to offer up a clip from Earnest Bloch's "Sacred Service"...

Bloch is arguably the greatest composer of Jewish art music in the 20th century. While growing up in the 1880's in anactively Jewish home, he was more focused on music than region. Later in life this's Bloch's manifesto, written in 1911 in a letter to letter to his friend poet and historian Edmond Fleg.
"I notice here and there themes that are without my willing it, for the greater part Jewish, and which begin to make themselves precise and indicate the instinctive and also conscious direction in which I am going. I do not search to produce a form, I am producing nothing so far, but I feel that the hour will come… There will be Jewish rhapsodies for orchestra, Jewish poems, dances mainly, poems for voices for which I have not the words, but I would wish them Hebraic. All my musical Bible shall come, and I would let sing in me these secular chants where will vibrate all the Jewish soul… I think that I shall write one day songs to be sung at the synagogue in part by the minister, in part by the faithful. It is really strange that all this comes out slowly, this impulse that has chosen me, who all my life have been a stranger to all that is Jewish"
Love it.

The quote is borrowed from Joshua Jacobson's excellent essay "The Very Expression of my Soul": Ernest Bloch and the Sacred Service.

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