(Born at Geneva, Switzerland, July 24, 1880)
FOR VIOLONCELLO AND ORCHESTRA
MR. BLOCH is most inspired when he stands firmly and proudly on Jewish ground. The well equipped composer is seen in all that he writes, but his three Jewish Poems for orchestra, his Psalms, for voice and orchestra, his Schelomo, are far above his what might be called Gentile work, even above his concerto, not to mention the cycloramic America. As he has written in an account of himself and his artistic beliefs, it is the Jewish soul that interests him: "the complex, glowing, agitated soul" that he feels vibrating through the Bible. No wonder that the despair of the Preacher in Jerusalem and the splendor of Solomon alike appealed to him; the monarch in all his glory; the Preacher, who when he looked on all his works that his hands had wrought and on the labor that he had labored to do, could only explain: "And behold, all was vanity, and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the Sun." And so Mr. Bloch might have taken as a motto for this Hebrew rhapsody the lines of Rueckert:
Solomon! Where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind
Say what is pleasure? A phantom, a mask undefined.
Science? An almond, whereof we can pierce but the rind.
Honor and affluence? Firmans that Fortune hath signed
Only to glitter and pass on the wings of the wind.