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Track(s) taken from CDA67910

From Jewish Life

1924; for cello and piano; dedicated to Hans Kindler
orchestration for cello, strings and harp

Natalie Clein (cello), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: September 2011
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Produced by Simon Kiln
Engineered by Arne Akselberg
Release date: August 2012
Total duration: 8 minutes 25 seconds

Cover artwork: Photograph from the series Last Folio (Slovakia, 2005-2011) by Yuri Dojc


'A breathtakingly beautiful dialogue between Natalie Clein and the BBC Scottish Symphony conducted by Ilan Volkov. Clein manages to explore the profound depths of [Bloch's Schelomo] and all its vocal expressivity without exaggeration or hyperbole and the orchestra's response feels minted in the moment rather than pre-planned. I'm not sure I've heard a more convincing modern account on disc. An immaculate recording' (BBC Radio 3 CD Review)

'[Clein's performance of Schelomo] is thoughtful, subtle and satisfying, well supported by the passionate and spirited BBC SSO: … in Voice in the Wilderness,Clein encompasses all the work's varied character and demands while retaining an air of polish in her playing … the Bruch, too, receives a lovely performance, with Clein bringing out the different colour of each of the cello's strings and the orchestra effecting most beautifully the transition from sombre to heavenly' (Gramophone)

'The strongly emotive musical aura of Bloch's Schelomo seems ideally suited to Natalie Clein's impassioned style of cello playing … Clein delivers a powerfully committed performance, but also manages to avoid over-indulgence, negotiating the peaks and troughs of the music's volatile emotional language with a clear sense of direction. Undoubtedly, Ilan Volkov and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra play a vital role in this process. Volkov brings a welcome transparency to Bloch's languorous instrumentation in the reflective secions, while the raging torrents of the orchestral tuttis have rarely sounded more highly charged' (BBC Music Magazine)» More

'Natalie Clein is the cello protagonist in all four works, her range of tonal colour, her animation and her discreet soulfulness proving to be ideal qualities … the relationship between cello and orchestra is closely knit, Ilan Volkov conducting the BBC SSO with just the impetus and sensibility that this music requires' (The Daily Telegraph)» More

'Natalie Clein gives an unexaggerated performance pursuing the music's linearity and playing from the heart while conjuring some appropriate dark tone from her instrument … the music takes wing to both beguile and thrill. It's one of the most persuasive performances of this work [Schelomo] that I have ever heard … throughout, the recording is as vivid as the music … an outstanding release' (International Record Review)» More

'Clein and Volkov give a performance of Schelomo (1916) that is very moving, both in its profound sensuality and in the pervasive sense of transience that gnaws at its vision of worldly glory. They bring the same commitment to From Jewish Life (1924) and Voice in the Wilderness (1936) … the other knockout is Bruch's Kol Nidrei … beautifully done, it brings the disc to a reflective close. Highly recommended' (The Guardian)» More

'Natalie Clein's inspired collection of [Bloch's] three cello works on Jewish themes … is rare and welcome. Her impassioned, sensitive playing finds willing collaborators in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and their former principal conductor' (The Sunday Times)» More

'Clein plunges deep into the world of Bloch's Schelomo as she effectively forms a red-hot line of communication with the listener in both its introspective, brooding moments and its soulful outbursts. The orchestra's string section produces a flawless body of sound and the balance is nicely judged' (The Strad)» More

'If one has enjoyed the music in those epic biblical movies of the last century, mostly starring Charlton Heston, chances are one will also respond to the works of the composer who influenced that genre. The Swiss-American Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) also wrote much secular music, but he will be best remembered for the works that reflect his Jewish heritage … completing this gorgeously performed anthology by young British cellist Natalie Clein is Max Bruch’s popular Kol Nidrei … essential listening' (Singapore Straits Times)» More

'Clein is a gifted interpreter of these nearly sacred musical themes, lovingly devoted to expressing the composers’ visions of what she calls 'the early 20th century yearning for a sense of identity and nostalgia for an imagined past, a past already being swept aside in favor of modernity and globalization.' And kudos to the talented Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov, whose sympathetic, restrained approach never treads on the tender solo cello passages—Clein and Volkov are a match made in heaven' (Strings, USA)» More

'You cannot wish to hear a clearer, lovelier investigation of Bloch’s Jewish decade' (Norman Lebrecht)

'[Clein] hat das nötige Einfühlungsvermögen, die starken, aufwühlenden, dunklen Klangfarben, die gelegentlichen Abstiege in seelische Abgründe mit der herzlichen Heiterkeit der volkstümlichen Klänge fein dosiert zu kombinieren. Hier gibt es keine schmachtende Melancholie und eben so wenig überschäumende Fröhlichkeit, dafür viel Sensibilität, viel Lyrik und schöne dynamische Kontraste' (Pizzicato, Luxembourg)» More

Bloch composed From Jewish Life for cello and piano while on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the end of 1924, the year before his period of office as Director of the Cleveland Institute of Music came to an end. This set of three short pieces was dedicated to Hans Kindler (1892–1949), who had given the premiere of Schelomo at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1917. They explore the entire range of the solo instrument, musical structures are simple, and the use of Eastern European Ashkenazi modality creates a distinctive atmosphere. This recording features Christopher Palmer’s arrangement of Bloch’s original piano accompaniment for string orchestra and harp.

Prayer is in ternary form, and the two contrasting themes—one broad, the other fragmented—are each introduced by the cello and then repeated in the orchestra. In the final section the melody of the opening appears an octave higher, and is extended into a kind of free recitative. The accompaniment is essentially chordal, but there are several passages of rich two-part counterpoint. The key of F minor incorporates elements of the Magen Avot and S’licha modes of the synagogue; but it is the Ahava Rabba mode (known more colloquially as Freigish) that predominates in the coda. The cello solo ends with an especially poignant quartertone inflection.

Supplication is based upon a single theme in two parts, each of which recurs in various guises. Although the tonality is basically E minor, there is frequent modulation into related keys as the movement progresses. Elements of the Av Harachamim (Mi Shebeirach), Adonay Malach, and Ahava Rabba modes are combined here in rapid succession; and occasional syncopations suggest the rhythms of Hassidic dance. After a spirited climax, a long chromatic descent leads to a peaceful close.

Jewish Song is based upon a single melody in the Ahava Rabba mode on C. And again there are two parts, the first of which appears three times, and the second twice. Quartertones are plentiful; they produce a consistently doleful effect—particularly at the beginning, where the accompaniment comprises a slowly and solemnly repeated drone on a bare fifth. The movement arches to a climax, following which the theme fades away to nothing.

from notes by Alexander Knapp © 2012

Bloch composa From Jewish Life pour violoncelle et piano à la fin de l’année 1924, alors qu’il était en vacances à Santa Fe, au Nouveau-Mexique, juste avant de quitter la direction du Cleveland Institute of Music. Ces trois courtes pièces dédiées à Hans Kindler (1892–1949; il avait créé Schelomo au Carnegie Hall de New York en 1917) explorent toute l’étendue de l’instrument solo; leurs structures musicales sont simples et la modalité ashkénaze d’Europe orientale crée une atmosphère sui generis. Cet enregistrement présente l’arrangement pour orchestre à cordes et harpe réalisé par Christopher Palmer à partir de l’accompagnement pianistique original de Bloch.

Prayer, en forme ternaire, voit chacun de ses deux thèmes contrastifs—l’un ample, l’autre fragmenté—présenté au violoncelle puis repris à l’orchestre. Dans la section finale, la mélodie de l’ouverture apparaît une octave plus haut et se prolonge en une sorte de récitatif libre. L’accompagnement est principalement en accords, mais plusieurs passages affichent un riche contrepoint à deux parties. Le ton de fa mineur intègre des éléments des modes synagogaux Magen Avot et S’licha, mais c’est le mode Ahava Rabba (plus couramment connu sous le nom de Freigish) qui prédomine dans la coda. Le solo de violoncelle s’achève sur une inflexion en quarts de ton des plus poignantes.

Supplication repose sur un thème unique en deux parties revenant chacune sous divers dehors. La tonalité de base est mi mineur mais la progression du mouvement s’accompagne de fréquentes modulations dans des tons voisins. Des éléments des modes Av Harachamim (Mi Shebeirach), Adonaï Malach et Ahava Rabba se combinent ici en une succession rapide; d’occasionnelles syncopes suggèrent les rythmes de la danse hassidique. Passé un apogée enjoué, une longue descente chromatique mène à une conclusion paisible.

Jewish Song repose sur une mélodie unique sise dans le mode Ahava Rabba sur ut avec, de nouveau, deux parties, la première apparaissant trois fois et la seconde deux. Les quarts de ton abondent, pour un effet constamment dolent—surtout au début, quand l’accompagnement inclut un bourdon de quinte répété avec lenteur et solennité. Le mouvement forme voûte jusqu’à un apogée, puis le thème s’évanouit dans le néant.

extrait des notes rédigées par Alexander Knapp © 2012
Français: Hypérion

From Jewish Life für Violoncello und Klavier komponierte Bloch gegen Ende des Jahres 1924 während eines Urlaubs in Santa Fe in New Mexico, in dem Jahr bevor er sein Amt als Direktor des Cleveland Institute of Music niederlegte. Dieser Zyklus von drei kurzen Stücken ist Hans Kindler (1892–1949) gewidmet, der 1917 die Uraufführung von Schelomo in der New Yorker Carnegie Hall gegeben hatte. Es kommt hier das gesamte Spektrum des Soloinstruments zum Ausdruck, die musikalischen Strukturen sind schlicht und der Einsatz der osteuropäischen aschkenasischen Modalität sorgt für eine charakteristische Atmosphäre. Blochs ursprüngliche Klavierbegleitung wurde hier durch Streichorchester und Harfe in der Bearbeitung von Christopher Palmer ersetzt.

Prayer hat eine dreiteilige Anlage und die beiden kontrastierenden Themen—ein breites und ein fragmentiertes—werden jeweils von dem Cello vorgestellt und dann innerhalb des Orchesters wiederholt. Im Schlussteil kehrt die Melodie des Beginns zurück, erklingt eine Oktave höher und wird in eine Art freies Rezitativ ausgedehnt. Die Begleitung ist zu großen Teilen akkordisch gehalten, doch gibt es auch mehrere Passagen mit einem reichhaltigen zweistimmigen Kontrapunkt. In der Tonart f-Moll sind Elemente der Synagogen-Modi Magen Avot und S’licha enthalten, doch herrscht der Modus Ahava Rabba (der im Umgangssprachlichen als Freigish bekannt ist) in der Coda vor. Das Cellosolo endet mit einer besonders ergreifenden vierteltönigen Wendung.

Supplication liegt einem zweiteiligen Thema zugrunde, dessen Einzelteile jeweils in verschiedenen Gestalten wiederkehren. Obwohl das Werk hauptsächlich in e-Moll steht, finden im Laufe des Satzes häufige Modulationen zu verwandten Tonarten statt. Elemente der Modi Av Harachamim (Mi Shebeirach), Adonay Malach, und Ahava Rabba werden in schneller Aufeinanderfolge miteinander kombiniert; gelegentliche Synkopierungen deuten die Rhythmen des chassidischen Tanzes an. Nach einem feurigen Höhepunkt leitet ein langer chromatischer Abstieg zu einem friedvollen Ende.

Jewish Song ist auf einer einzelnen Melodie des Ahava Rabba Modus auf C aufgebaut. Wiederum ist sie zweiteilig—der erste Teil erklingt dreimal und der zweite zweimal. Vierteltöne werden vielfach verwendet und erzeugen einen stetig klagenden Effekt, insbesondere am Anfang, wo die Begleitung aus langsam und feierlich wiederholten Bordunquinten besteht. Der Satz wölbt sich zu einem Höhepunkt hin und danach verklingt das Thema im Nichts.

aus dem Begleittext von Alexander Knapp © 2012
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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