1940-1949

1940   

January 1940
After two months of life at the hotel, he rents a little apartment in Berkeley and he begins his courses at the university on the Esthetic of the Musical Language for four months.
Le Concerto pour violon is performed in Boston on January 5 and 6 and in New York January 11 by Szigeti accompanied by Koussevitzky at the head of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
In Manchester it is Antonio Brosa who performs the Concerto for violin on January 11 accompanied by Sir Malcolm Sargent directing the Hallé Orchestra.
Le Premier Quatuor is performed on January 13 in New York (Town Hall) by the Griller Quartet.

February 1940
Pierre Monteux, always charming, asks him to direct les Deux Interludes Symphonique de Macbeth in San Francisco on February 16 and 17, during the concert which he gives as the head of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
But this leads to nothing.  Ten or twelve years ago, they acclaimed him! But everything happens quickly here, they forget everything.

March 1940
Visions et Prophéties is performed in its American première on March 17 in New York (Town Hall) by the one it is dedicated to, the English pianist Harriet Cohen.
Schelomo is performed March 21 in Philadelphia by Emanuel Feuermann accompanied by Stokowski directing the Philadelphia Orchestra.

April 1940
Bloch begins a new Quartet (the second) whose first movement is almost completed.
Les Evocations are performed in Chicago on April 4 and 5 by Frederick Stock directing the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Baal Shem is performed in New York (Town Hall) April 21 by Joseph Szigeti and the pianist Andor Farkas.  During this same concert, Bélla Bartok, returned to the U.S. After 12 years of absence, plays his own works accompanied by Joseph Szigeti.

May-June 1940
Le Concerto pour violon is performed in Chicago on Mai 13 by the violinist Fritz Segal accompanied by Izler Solomon directing the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.
In London despite the war the English Ernest Bloch Society organizes three concerts devoted to his chamber music in the “Studio” of Boosey and Hawkes.
In Israël le Service Sacré is performed as a première.  It is broadcast on the radio on June 18, 1940 from Jerusalem on the network of the Palestine Broadcasting Service by Karl Salomon directing the PBS Orchestra.

July 1940
The events of the last months have crushed him...The tension was too strong and he broke down.  He fell seriously sick and he had to give up his work.  He returned to his son's home by car in short hops from Berkeley to Oswego (Oregon).

August 1940
Vacation with his wife in a hut at Diamond Lake (Oregon).  Settled in at the edge of the lake, he studies in depth the Symphonie Héroique  of Beethoven.  He was acquainted with l'Eroica for 45 years but even so it was a discovery, a lesson at each hour.  Here is one of his courses prepared.  No one will be grateful to him for it and the disrespectful and superficial American youth won't see much in it!  But Bloch doesn't regret this intimate contact with Beethoven and this extraordinary masterpiece.

September 1940
He is now immersed in the Clavecin bien tempéré (Well-Tempered Clavier) and far from being temperate, he is inebriated with it.  Measure after measure!  Fugue after fugue! He is redoing it!  He is following, note after note, the work of Bach's spirit. 
He stays until the end of the month with his wife in Oswego.

October 1940
He returns alone by car to Berkeley where his classes begin in January.
Le Premier Quintette avec piano is performed in New York (Town Hall) October 27 by the Budapest Quartet and the pianist Jesus Sanroma.

November 1940
In England Vision et Prophéties is performed at the BBC on November 10 in its English première by Harriet Cohen.
In Israël le Service Sacré is given in its first public performance by Karl Salomon directing the Palestine Orchestra on November 27 in Jerusalem, on November 28 in Haifa, December 1 and 2nd in Tel-Aviv.

December 1940
The study of the Fugues causes him to take a trip in Bach's actual brain and live his thought when he composed them.  It is moving to compare his current studies with those of 40 years ago in 1900 in Munich!  This work saved him.  Without it, he would have completely collapsed. 
In mid-December he returns to Oswego to spend the end of the year holidays with family.

Began Professorship at the University of California in Berkeley.

1941   

January 1941
He begins his courses again in Berkeley.  He has two classes with twenty some interesting and interested students in each class.
La Suite pour alto et piano is performed on January 23 in New York by the loyal Louis Bailly and the pianist Genia Robinor.
Schelomo is performed on January 24 in Minneapolis by Dimitri Mitropoulos directing the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the cellist Nicolaï Graudan.
In England Hiver-Printemps is performed on January 19 in Manchester by Leslie Heward at the head of the Hallé Orchestra.

February 1941
His classes progress and he enjoys doing them, especially the Bach.  As for the Beethoven course, it is devoted entirely to the Symphonie Héroique.
Évocations is performed February 6, 7 and 8 in New York (Carnegie Hall) by Bruno Walter directing the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.
Schelomo is performed on February 26 in Washington by Howard Mitchell directing the National Symphony Orchestra with the assistance of cellist John Martin.

March 1941
Bloch directs his premier Concerto Grosso March 23 in Berkeley with the student orchestra of the University of California which is mediocre but full of spirit.
Israël is performed in Chicago March 10 by Izler Solomon at the head of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.
Le Concerto pour violon is performed in Chicago on March 20 and 21 by Frederick Stock directing the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with the assistance of John Weicher, first violin of the orchestra.
Le Service Sacré is performed in New York (Temple Emanu-El) on March 29 by Lazare Saminsky.

April 1941
The Pro Arte Quartet (new group with Antonio Brosa, first violin) performs his premier Quatuor twice.  It is the second performance in California in 24 years!
A short time later a group of students of the University plays his premier Quintette with youth and ardor in Berkeley.
The premier Concerto Grosso is performed in Chicago on April 15 by Izler Solomon at the head of the Women's Symphony Orchestra.
The Suite pour alto et orchestre is performed in New York on April 28 by Leon Barzin directing the National Orchestral Association with the assistance of the violist Milton Katims.

May 1941
His courses at Berkeley are finished.  He leaves at the end of May by car, all alone, taking it easy, to rejoin Marguerite, Ivan and his family in Oregon.

June 1941
In spite of his efforts he hasn't been able to carry through with any creative work for months.  The great tragedy, with all it entails, creeps  into him like an illness.

July-August 1941
He receives a beautiful letter from the Griller Quartet which became known during the war as the Quartet of the R.A.F.  They wrote to him:  “We go from airfield to airfield, playing chamber music (Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Bloch of course) to the young people who fight.”
He finally has a “home” because he purchased a too large but beautiful house in Agate Beach (Oregon).  The spot is superb:  the ocean breaks under the cliff where the house is situated; a path among the pines leads to the wild beach.

September 1941
They deliver to him 64 chests and trunks (books, music, papers scattered since 1930) which were stored in New York, San Francisco, Berkeley and Portland.
The unpacking of all of these boxes was a strange moment...He had the impression of doing the inventory of the heritage of someone else who had been dead for a long time!

October 1941
Baal Shem pour violon et orchestre has its world première in New York (Carnegie Hall) October 19 by Joseph Szigeti accompanied by Reginald Stewart directing the W.P.A. New York City Symphony Orchestra.
Le premier Quatuor is performed on October 14 in London (National Gallery) by the Griller Quartet.  They read his  message to Myra Hess, organizer of the Noon Concerts at the National Gallery:  “Without the English people, I wouldn't have had the courage to live.”

November 1941
His music is rarely performed.  He doesn't worry about it any more.
However Schelomo is performed on November 10 in New York (Carnegie Hall) by Emanuel Feuermann, accompanied by Léon Barzin directing the National Orchestral Association.

December 1941
After one and a half years of interruption, he goes back to the second movement of a new Quatuor which is rather fierce.
He tinkles away on the piano like a  five year old girl:  he learns Bach's Inventions!  He struggles against the crash which lays him low as soon as he thinks.

1942

January 1942
He leaves for Berkeley where his courses begin on January 15.
Ernest Newman publishes five remarkable articles on Bloch's work in the London Sunday Times.

February 1942
America is performed on February 18 in Brooklyn (NY) by Gerald Warburg at the head of the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra.
Le premier Quintette is performed on February 16 in New York by the Musical Art Quartet and the pianist Frank Sheridan.

March 1942
He resigns from his position at the University of Berkeley because his artistic and educational convictions are incompatible with the general orientation of the Music Department.
Schelomo is performed on March 11 in Philadelphia by Eugène Ormandy directing the Philadelphia Orchestra and the cellist David Soyer.

April 1942
He works a bit on the passacaille, the second movement of his future Suite Symphonique. 
Voix dans le Désert is performed on April 7 in Chicago by Izler Solomon directing the Illinois Symphony Orchestra with the assistance of Miss Jenzka Slebos, solo cellist of the orchestra. 
In England his music is constantly played and aired.  Sir Adrian Boult performed les Épisodes.  Le Quatuor, la Sonate, la Suite pour alto, Voix dans le Désert have become classics!
Here it is much different and the plots of the young (even prior students) or their indifference during his eight years of absence have borne their fruit.
Thus he was more than surprised the other day to receive a letter from Walter Damrosch, president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, announcing that they awarded him the Gold Medal which this Institute only gives rarely (1915-1923-1925-1929-1930).

May 1942
They invited him to receive the Gold Medal on May 8 in New York, all expenses paid.  But he was too tired for this long trip...And it is Suzanne who represented him at the ceremony.  Big publicity – and silence – he is acquainted with that!
He returned from Berkeley to Agate Beach by car, three days of a superb trip.


June 1942
The president of the University of Berkeley did not accept his resignation.  His courses will then take place in the coming year in a different format, as he desired.  He will go there for a concentrated class (two hours a day for six weeks only).
He gives a lecture on music on June 16 in Portland and he profits from the occasion to buy an automatic phonograph and a collection of recordings.

July 1942
He is working—not on his Suite Symphonique which has broken down—but on the scores of the great composers and the corresponding recordings, studying detail after detail, form and instrumentation.

August 1942
Two of his works for piano are performed in Berkeley on August 7, 1942, during the XIX Festival of the International Society for contemporary Music:
les Poèmes de la Mer with Maxim Shapiro
- la Sonate pour piano with Berhard Abramovitsch.

September-October 1942
He broke his left leg while salmon fishing, slipping on a wet foot bridge.  He will be in a cast for five weeks.
Schelomo is performed in Philadelphia on October 9 and 10 with Eugène Ormandy directing  the Philadelphia Orchestra with the assistance of Samuel Mayes, solo cellist of the orchestra.
In England at the London National Gallery the Griller Quartet performs his premier Quartuor again on October 6 during the Noon Concerts.

November 1942
John Hastings, the fervent admirer who had sent Bloch his study on his work, came to visit him.
The Trois Poèmes Juifs are performed in New York (Carnegie Hall) on November 9 by Léon Barzin direction the National Orchestral Association during the concert given to the memory of Emanuel Feuermann.

December 1942
He studies the composers of the period before that of Bach, as well as the Chorals for organ by Bach.
Hiver-Printemps is performed December 10 and 11 in Cleveland by Nicolaï Sokoloff at the head of the Cleveland Orchestra.

 

1943


January-February 1943
At Agate Beach he spends his day cutting and sawing trees most of which came down during the storms.
But in February he is bedridden by an osteoarthritis attack of his right knee.
In this country he is practically forgotten.  However la Suite pour alto et orchestre is performed on January 21 and 22 by Hans Lange directing the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Milton Preves, first violist of the orchestra.

March-April 1943
He began to organize his innumerable papers, letters, pedagogic documents accumulated for 40 years:  enormous work, cemetery of the past.
He was able to get the recordings of the third act of Parsifal directed by Karl Muck:  an unbelievable beauty.  He forgot about the antisemitism of Wagner, he forgot his own miserable life, buried alive in the U.S.A., he forgot everything.  The Music was there and what music!

May-June 1943
He is buried in his interminable pedagogic work, preparing his courses on a completely new basis.
Le Service Sacré is performed May 16 at the BBC.

July 1943
His courses in Berkeley went well.  He gave two hours of class every day from July 5 to August 10.
Instead of the 10-20 advanced students, the maximum that he expected in similar times, he had 135 faithful students.  A very curious mix:  mainly young people, of every nationality!  Some oldsters!  Two Catholic nuns, a blind girl and her dog—touching!  Some of them at least will have followed his thought—He has never believed in majorities.  Only a small elite counts.  But he found lots of empathy.

August-September 1943
He returned to Agate Beach:  a three day trip, alone, by car.  Suzanne and her two children have waited for him  for two weeks.  They hadn't seen each other for four years.  Then Ivan, Mariana and their two children came as well to spend several days with them.

October-November 1943
He returned to his work of lumberjack  and he reread the complete correspondence of Flaubert. 
The premier Concerto Grosso is performed in Israël several times by George Singer.

December 1943
He tries to work again:  he corrects the first movement of his Suite Symphonique.
As far as his work is concerned, it seems as though they are waking up a bit here.
Les Trois Poèmes Juifs are performed in New York (Carnegie Hall) on December 2, 3, 4 and 5 by Leonard Bernstein, assistant  head of the orchestra of Rodzinski, directing the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra.  These are the official beginnings of this young director 25 years old, who became  an overnight celebrity by replacing Bruno Walter with his foot up (during the concert broadcast live by CBS on Sunday afternoon  November 14, 1943).
Le premier Concerto Grosso is performed December 4 and 5 in Indianapolis by Fabien Sevitzky at the head of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Hiver – Printemps is performed on December 17 and 18 in Philadelphia by Eugène Ormandy directing the Philadelphia Orchestra.


1944

January-February 1944
He went back to work on his Suite symphonique which was sketched out then interrupted two years ago.  The second movement is a Passacaille and he again looked at some Passacaillles of previous times:  Pachelbel, Buxtehude, Bach, etc.
Hiver-Printemps is performed in January in the USA (in Chicago with Hans Lange) as well as in England (on the BBC).
His chamber music is not played much in the USA (except the premier Quintette performed in Minneapolis and Boston) but often in London, in spite of the war:
-the Griller Quartet performs le premier Quatuor and le premier Quintette (with Myra Hess)
-Marjorie Alexander plays la Sonate pour piano
-The violist Winifred Copperwheat and the pianist Harry Isaacs perform la Suite pour alto et piano.

March-April 1944
In England le Concerto pour Violon is performed in London March 26 by Hugo Weisgall directing the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the English violinist Eda Kersey.
America is performed April 15 in Cincinnati by Eugène Goossens directing the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  This orchestra head—a man—telegraphed Bloch and wrote a superb and moving letter.  Also, the press is enthusiastic.

May 1944

He is upset to learn on May 6 of the death of Carl Engel, his oldest friend in America.
In England the BBC broadcasts la Suite pour alto et orchestre on May 1:  Sir Adrian Boult directing the BBC Symphony Orchestra and with the assistance of the violist Lionel Tertis.

June 1944
Left June 12 by car for Berkeley, he arrives on June 15 which gives him the time to polish up  his class, completely different than last year's.  But he gets the flu as soon as he arrives!

July 1944
He gives two hours of class each day before 240 students.  He only sleeps two to four hours each night and is exhausted.

August 1944
He returns at the beginning of August to Agate Beach.
Baal Shem pour violon et orchestre is performed in its second world performance on August 8 in the Hollywood Bowl by George Szell directing the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Joseph Szigeti.
He finishes la Suite Symphonique on August 31.

September 1944
They are living in a nightmare because his grandson Jody, a six-year old child (son of Ivan) has been hospitalized with polio.
He spent two weeks doing a strange job.  Goossens asked him to contribute to a work destined to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Cincinnati Orchestra.  He wrote the theme and asked  ten or so  “American composers” to each write a variation on this theme.  He was so nice and so courteous toward Bloch  that he wasn't able to refuse.
In England the BBC broadcasts la Sonate pour piano and Hiver-Printemps during the summer.
Elsewhere in Birmingham on September 28 the premier Concerto Grosso is performed by George Weldon directing the CBSO.

October 1944
He went back to composing his second Quatuor sketched out in Berkeley in 1940 and he finished the second movement.
In England la Suite pour alto et piano is performed by Lionel Tertis on October 29 on the BBC, then in public at Cambridge.

November 1944
The Suite pour alto et orchestre is performed in Boston November 10 and 11 by Koussevitzky directing the Boston Symphony Orchestra and with the assistance of the Scotch violist William Primrose.  The latter came to see Bloch during the summer to ask his opinion on his interpretation and played this work magnificently for him!
Schelomo is performed in New York (Carnegie Hall) on November 26 by Artur Rodzinski directing the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra and with the assistance of Gregor Piatigorsky.

December 1944
The first three movements of his deuxième Quatuor are finished.  The final will be a sort of Passacaille:  it is becoming a “sickness”!
Israël is performed in New York (Carnegie hall) on four occasions:  December 28, 29, 30 and 31 by Rodzinski directing the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra.
In Italy an American officer writes to him that after the liberation of Rome, Guido Agosti performed a concert of Bloch's works:  premier Quintette and Sonate pour piano!
Equally in Rome at the end of 1944 Carlo Maria Guilini directing the Symphony Orchestra of the RAI gives a concert consecrated to the music prohibited by the fascists:
-Schelomo (with Massimo Amfitheatrof)
-Kindertotenlieder of Mahler
-Mathis le peintre of Hindemith.

 

1945

January 1945
He finally receives some news about his friends, the Flegs.  What a feeling!  After years of uncertainly and anguish.
He is struggling with his second Quatuor which is three-quarters finished.
La Suite pour alto et orchestre is performed January 4 in Los Angeles by Alfred Wallenstein directing the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Zoltan Kurthy, first violist of the orchestra.
Le Concerto pour violon is performed in San Francisco on January 23 and 24 by Pierre Monteux at the head of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Naoum Blinder, first violin of the orchestra.

February 1945
The devil which watches over him  replaced the spasmodic rhinitis which tormented him for two months with a generalized dermatosis.
Schelomo is performed in Washington on February 19 by Eugène Ormandy directing the Philadelphia Orchestra and Gregor Piatigorsky.

March 1945
Eugène Goossens performs the Jubilee Variations on March 23 and 24 in Cincinnati written by ten American composers (one of whom is Bloch!).
In England several of his works are performed since the beginning of the year:
-Baal Shem at the National Gallery and in Wigmore Hall
-Premier Concerto Grosso in Wigmore Hall and at the BBC
-Hiver-Printemps at the BBC

April 1945
It is hell!  His generalized dermatosis becomes so acute that he is hospitalized in Portland for a month.  With six sleeping pills and a shot of sedatives, he is able to sleep a maximum of two to three hours a night.  Now, he can write a “Symphony of Job”.

May 1945
He is better but he has had several relapses.  He is incapable of working.  He is only able to read and to have a little physical exercise. 

June 1945
He left at the end of June for Berkeley with a new friend who drove his car.  He wouldn't have been able to drive for this long trip.

July 1945
Several days, almost of happiness, in Berkeley.  But she leaves him the day before his courses begin.
In spite of a horrible physical and mental state, he had to give his courses (with an audience of 350), two hours per day for five weeks, sleeping one to two hours per night in spite of all the narcotics. 

August 1945
Settled in California at the home of his former associates of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, in Mill Valley, he tries to work on his second Quatuor which was interrupted  since April.

September 1945
He returned to Agate Beach and he worked without a break  on the second Quatuor.

October 1945
On October 28 he finally finished his Second Quatuor.
La Suite symphonique is performed as a world première October 26 and 27th in Philadelphia, then October 30 in New York by Pierre Monteux directing the Philadelphia Orchestra.
America is performed by Dimitri Mitropoulos on October 26 in Minneapolis, then December 6 in Rochester, NY.

November 1945
Their neighbors, who covet the Blochs' property, insulted and attacked him, but he wasn't wounded.
His friend Szigeti came to visit them for two days.
Schelomo is performed in New York on November 29 and 30th with Artur Rodzinski directing the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Rose, solo cellist of the orchestra.

December 1945
He decided to go to San Francisco to hear his Suite Symphonique that Pierre Monteux at the head of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra  played on December 7 and 8.

1946

January-February 1946
On January 6 they heard very well on the radio la Suite Symphonique performed in San Francisco by Pierre Monteux.  It sounded  magnificently.  He performs it again on January 17 in Berkeley.
Schelomo is performed on January 3 in Detroit by Valter Poole directing the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Georges Miquelle, first cellist of the orchestra.

March-April 1946
The pianist Rosalyn Tureck,  a friend of Suzanne, came to spend a week with them at Agate Beach.  Although she was exhausted by her tour and a nasty cold, she played some Bach and some Brahms admirably for him.
He suggested to her to come to Berkeley for his courses this coming summer and she agreed with enthusiasm.
He sketches out the first movement of the Concerto Symphonique pour piano et orchestre.

May-June 1946
He is like an old worn out watch whose springs finally quit working...They wind it up in a vacuum...It works for several hours...Then it stops...
In the morning with several hours available..He tries to work a little—poorly--and he writes one or two letters...And it's over.

July 1946
His daughter Lucienne, her husband and her three children are with them for two weeks.  Bloch hasn't seen them for four years.
He leaves by car for Berkeley on July 29 in order to be there August 1.

August 1946
His courses at the University of Berkeley take place from August 5 to September 15 (two hours each day) before a group of 15 to 20 interested students, some of whom have talent.
La Suite Symphonique is performed, in its  English première,  August 23 during a Promenade Concert in London (Royal Albert Hall) with Basil Cameron directing the London Symphony Orchestra.
The doctor he went to in San Francisco healed his eczema on his legs.  He likes life all over again since ...he doesn't scratch himself any more!

September 1946
His return trip to Agate Beach went well.  He thinks that he is completely cured, after these 26 years of suffering.

October 1946
He finishes, but not orchestrates, the second movement of his Concerto Symphonique.
The second Quatuor is performed, as a world première, on October 9 in London (Wigmore Hall) by the Griller Quartet, with a very large success.  He received admirable critiques.  He is completely astounded because he didn't expect that at all.
La Suite Symphonique is broadcast by the BBC (second English performance) on October 9:  Sir Adrian Boult directs the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
The same evening la Suite Symphonique is performed, in its Swiss première, in Geneva (Victoria Hall) and broadcast live:  Ernest Ansermet directs the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

November-December 1946
He orchestrates the second movement of his Concerto Symphonique.
He had to interrupt his Concerto for several days in order to write two Préludes pour orgue destined for the use in synagogues that someone asked him [to compose] for an Anthology of Jewish Music.
On the beach at Agate Beach he picks up agates and petrified wood.
In England the Griller Quartet performs his second Quatuor again on November 13 in Birmingham and on November 14 in Sheffield.
In Italy the premier Quintette is performed on December 21 in Florence by the Chigiano Quintet.

1947

January 1947
He finishes the second movement of his Concerto Symphonique.
The deuxième Quatuor is performed in its non-official American première  January 19 in New York (Frick Museum) by the Griller Quartet.
In Italy Schelomo and the premier Concerto Grosso are performed in Florence on January 19 by Vittorio Gui at the head of the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

February 1947
He goes to Berkeley to listen to his deuxième Quatuor which is performed in its official American première on February 7 at the University of Berkeley (Wheeler Hall) by the Griller Quartet.
The same interpreters triumphantly play the deuxième Quatuor again on February 26 in New York (Town Hall).

March 1947
He corresponds with Marko Rothmuller, musicologist and baritone who will soon interpret the Service Sacré with Bloch (in 1949 in London).

April-May 1947
He tackles the third movement of the Concerto Symphonique.

June 1947
He receives a prize from the Music Critics Circle of New York for the deuxième Quatuor, which they consider as “the best American work of chamber music, given for the first time in New York last season”.
The deuxième Quatuor is performed June 3 in Copenhagen by the Koppel Quartet during the XXIst Festival of the I.S.C.M.

July 1947
He gives six lectures of two hours each at the Music Academy of the West at Santa Barbara (CA), for about fifty young students.  He finds his friends Ada and Lillian there as well as his friends from the Griller Quartet who play the premier and the deuxième Quatuor, as well as the premier Quintette.

August-September  1947
Courses at the University of Berkeley from August 1 to September 15 each day from 9 o'clock to 11 o'clock.
The Griller Quartet plays the deuxième Quatuor on September 24 in Berkeley.
In Italy the deuxième Quatuor is performed September  29 in Venice during the Festival of contemporary music.

October 1947
His wife has been limping since...July.  Bloch insisted that she go see a doctor:  the X-rays showed a fractured ankle.  In the meantime Bloch had to leave for Portland for a complete medical checkup because of his abdominal pains.
The premier Quatuor is performed in San Francisco by the Griller Quartet.

November 1947
A Bloch Festival is organized November 14 and 15 in New York (Concert Hall) by the Juilliard School and the League of Composers.  But he was too exhausted to take part.  The program includes three concerts which are broadcast on the radio.

First concert-Friday evening November 14, 1947:
-Premier Quintette by the students of the Juilliard School
-Psaumes 137 and 114 sung by Dusolina Giannini accompanied on the piano by Vincent Persichetti
-Suite pour alto et piano by Milton Katims accompanied on the piano by Arthur Balsam
-Quatre Épisodes by the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra directed by Edgar Schenkman.

Second concert-Saturday afternoon November 15, 1947:
-Trois oeuvres pour Quatuor (Prélude – Night – In the Mountains) played by the students
-Sonate pour piano by Alexis Weissenberg
-Deuxième Quatuor by the Griller Quartet.

Third concert-Saturday evening November 15, 1947
Edgar Schenkman directing the Juilliard Orchestra perform:
-Premier Concerto Grosso
-Deux Interludes Symphonique de Macbeth
-Schelomo (with the cellist Félix Salmond)
-Israël.

December 1947
He studies again for the hundredth time the Fugues of the Clavecin bien Tempéré and in spite of 50 years of study, he still discovers there something new.  What subtlety and how we are barbarians.  But who notices in this era of ignorance and of “hooliganocracy”?
Schelomo is performed on December 6 and 8 in St. Louis by Vladimir Golschmann with the assistance of E. Lustgarten.
The premier Quintette is performed on December 10 in San Francisco by the San Francisco Quartet and the pianist Corinne Lacomblé.

1948

January 1948
He received the 56 seventy-eight records of the complete recording of the Bloch Festival at the Juilliard School of New York.  It is very moving to listed to it in their solitude.
Here, in this little village of Newport, they have organized three concerts:  so it is that before attacking the Concerto of Mendelssohn, the violinist Tossy Spivakovsky makes a speech...and dedicated this evening to Bloch!  Ovation!  He had to get up, bow, etc.
Les Quatre Épisodes are performed on January 5 in New York by Thomas Scherman at the head of the Little Orchestra.
Schelomo is performed in Minneapolis on January 16 by Dimitri Mitropoulos and Yves Chardon, solo cellist of the orchestra.

February 1948
A young Canadian cellist, Zara Nelsova, unaffected, modest, incomparable artist, came to study with him.  Since she is a vegetarian, they all followed her diet and he finds himself much improved.
Le premier Concert Grosso is performed in New York on February 5, 6, 7, and 8 by Charles Munch directing the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra.
In England, the BBC continues to broadcast his works (Hiver-Printemps, Concerto pour violon).

March 1948
He finally finished his Concerto Symphonique on March 6, this heavy machine which he has been dragging around for two years.
He is going to direct Hiver-Printemps on March 14 in Portland, to the request of the amiable head of the orchestra, Werner Janssen.
The deuxième Quatuor is broadcast on March 19 by Radio Geneva in its Swiss première, with the interpretation of the Végh Quartet.

April 1948
His student, the pianist Sophia Melvin, interprets les Poèmes de la Mer on April 19 in New York (Town Hall).

May-June 1948
He leaves on June 9 by car for Berkeley because his classes begin June 21.
The Trois Poèmes Juifs are performed in Tel-Aviv by Izler Solomon at the head of the Palestine Orchestra, in the midst of a war.

July 1948
He gives his classes at the University of Berkeley, two hours each day, on the “Musical Language” and on the Fugues of the Clavecin bien tempéré.
The deuxième Quatuor is performed in Vienna by the New Italian Quartet during the second International Festival of Music.

August 1948
He spends several days at Los Gatos on the property of his doctor, Dr. Ostwald, then to the home of his friend Nathan Fryer and he returns on August 20 to Agate Beach.
The premier Quatuor is performed on August 29 at the University of Berkeley by the Griller Quartet which was named “Quartet in residence”.

September 1948
He had to go to Linfield College in McMinnville (Oregon) on September 16:  they awarded him the title of Docteur Honoris Causa of Humane Letters.  During the course of this moving ceremony, they played the final hymn from America, his Psaume 22 and some organ works of Bach.

October 1948
He spends a month in Salt Lake City where a young friend organized some lectures in a school connected to the Mormon Temple.  He really felt at home.  He had much satisfaction in exposing his ideas in front of this audience.  All the professors attended his lectures and even the head of the orchestra Maurice Abravanel (who subsequently wanted to study Schelomo with him!). 
The Suite pour alto et orchestre is performed on October 23 in New York (Carnegie Hall) by Dimitri Mitropoulos directing the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, with the assistance of William Lincer, first violist of the orchestra.

November 1948
He worked fiercely, day after day, on his Scherzo Fantasque which is almost finished.
Baal Shem is performed on November 25 in New York (Carnegie Hall) by Georges Enesco accompanied on the piano by Nadia Reisenberg.

December 1948
Ivan and his family came to visit them for several days.
The Service Sacré is performed on December 12 at the University of Berkeley by Edward Lawton directing the Orchestra and the Choir of California and with the assistance of baritone Edgar Jones.
He puts the finishing touches on the Scherzo Fantasque on December 23, a work which he began in April.

1949

January 1949
He is still in the grip of the sudden death of his best and most loyal friend—the only one!--in Agate Beach, the former detective, J.M. Tackabery, who supported them in everything.
Schelomo is performed on January 30 in New York by Leopold Stokowski direction the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, with the assistance of Leonard Rose.

February 1949
They had the visit of their friends Lacombé from San Francisco for five days.  Corinne Lacomblé studies the Concerto Symphonique with him that she will create in Edinburgh.
Voix dans le Désert is performed in San Francisco February 3, 4, and 5 by Pierre Monteux directing the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Boris Blinder, solo cellist of the orchestra.
Bloch directs America February 21 in Portland  at the head of the Portland Orchestra with a triumphal success.

March 1949
The Trois Poèmes Juifs are performed March 3 in Rochester (NY) by Erich Leinsdorf directing the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
Zara Nelsova, an admirable cellist, came from Los Angeles to practice  Schelomo and his other cello works with him before leaving for England.

April 1949
If he had known all of the miseries his future European trip would cause him, he wouldn't have undertaken it.  He doesn't live any more.  One complication after another.  In one week, he writes 45 letters without counting the telegrams and the cables.

May 1949
He leaves Agate Beach May 1, stopping in Portland (4 days), in Salt Lake City (5 days) and in New York (8 days).
Then he leaves May 19 by air for Geneva where he lives with his sister, Loulette.

June 1949
In Italy, he directs a concert at Milan's La Scala on June 8:
-Concerto pour la Nuit de Noël of Corelli
-Trois Poèmes Juifs
-Évocations
-Suite Symphonique (Italian première).
Back in Geneva he receives the visit of a Canadian musician, Ethel Stark, violinist and head of the orchestra in Montréal, who wants to study his works with him.

July 1949
He leaves for three weeks with his family in the Swiss montains at Maloja, in the Grisons Canton.
In Israel la Symphonie Israël is performed in its Israeli première, in Tel-Aviv by Izler Solomon directing the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

August 1949
He leaves August 16 from Geneva for London.  Then he spends four days in Birmingham at the home of Alex Cohen.
September 1949
On September 3 he directs the world première of the Concerto Symphonique in Edinburgh at the head of the BBC Scottish Orchestra with the assistance of the pianist Corinne Lacomblé.
He performs the Concerto Symphonique again on September 4 in Glasgow in the Studio of the BBC and it is broadcast live.
And September 6 he directs again this work with the same interpreter in London (Promenade Concert) at the head of the London Philharmonic; the BBC broadcasts the concert live.
The September 14 in Geneva (Studios of Radio Geneva) he directs the Orchestre de Suisse Romande (broadcast live):
-Suite Symphonique
-Évocations
-Concerto Symphonique (with Corinne Lacomblé)

October 1949
On October 11 he directs le Service Sacré in London (Studios of the BBC) at the head of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and with the assistance of his friend the Yugoslavian baritone Marko Rothmuller.  The BBC broadcasts the concert live.
On October 13 in London (Royal Albert Hall) he directs the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a public concert:
-Suite Symphonique
-Schelomo (with Zara Nelsova)
-Service Sacré (with Marko Rothmuller)
This concert is broadcast live by the BBC as well.
From the 14th to the 19th of October in five sessions Decca records the  Service Sacré under his direction.  Then at the end of the month, Schelomo and From Jewish Life (with Zara Nelsova).

November 1949
He leaves from Southhampton on November 5 on the Veendam to return to the United States.  After a short stay in New York, he returns to Agate Beach.
The deuxième Quatuor is performed on November 26 in Amsterdam (Dutch première) by the Griller Quartet.
The Deux Interludes de Macbeth are performed on November 3, 4, 5, and 6 in New York (Carnegie Hall) by Leopold Stokowski at the head of the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra.

December 1949
When he thinks of these European months so rushed, of the immense work and of the innumerable complications which he had to face, he tells himself he is really solid. 
He replays all of his Decca records.  He thinks that it will be useful to other heads of orchestras who are fixated on interpreting his music in a sentimental  and dawdling  manner.


The Ernest Bloch Foundation
2309 SW First Avenue, 1744, Portland, Oregon 97201
 
www.ernestbloch.org · Email Us

All material ©2007-2017 by Ernest Bloch Foundation and the Ernest Bloch Family. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.