Bloch wrote several Impressionistic miniatures for string quartet during the 1920s. Night and Paysages (Landscapes) were written in Cleveland between 8 and 13 December 1923; and the premiere of these works was given by the Flonzaley Quartet in Florida in February 1924. Night is similar in mood and style to his other ‘nocturnal’ works, for example the slow movement of the Viola Suite (1919), In the Night (a ‘Love Poem’ for piano, 1922, also in an orchestral version), Nuit exotique for violin and piano (1924) and Three Nocturnes for piano trio (1924). It is a tenebral evocation of Bloch’s love of nature, with limpid melodies, oscillating accompanimental figurations, and gently pulsating rhythms. This work, too, ends with a magical chord of C major. The dedicatee is the American composer Roger Sessions (1896–1985), one of Bloch’s most illustrious pupils.
from notes by Alexander Knapp © 2007
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