Olin Downes

From a 1937 dedication printed in the program announcing the formation of an Ernest Bloch Society in New York.


An outstanding figure in the art of the early twentieth century, Ernest Bloch has produced music of a potency and splendor which is manna for the rising generation and a stinging rebuke to the insincerity and sterility of the great mass of the compositions which are produced today. No one who hears and becomes actually en rapport with his representative works can fail to be aware of a great freshening current of creative force. For this is living music, of rich melodic invention and of harmonic and instrumental coloring which is racial as well as individual with this great composer. Its elementality, intense passion, and headlong sincerity are balanced by a master's technique and an original treatment of form.

Of late, incomprehensible as it may seem, conductors have neglected to give his works their proportionate place on programs, except in instances when articulate public demand necessitated certain performances. This is a condition which will take care of itself, since the Bloch of the Israel Symphony, the magnificent settings for solo voice and orchestra of the Psalms, the Schelomo for 'cello and orchestra, the first violin and piano Sonata, the Jewish Poems, the piano Quintet--to mention a few of his finest creations, is a composer whose position will be unassailable and constantly more influential in the years to come. It is furthermore music which, like all great art, constantly grows on the listener or student and increases in popularity because of its intrinsic qualities of feeling and beauty.

All of Bloch's compositions should be performed and recorded in a way to make them widely accessible and to enable us to undertake a critical examination of them with a thoroughness and comprehensiveness of information which are at present lacking. The Society or other organization which works for the propagation of this music is not only conferring a benefit upon its contemporaries, but building prophetically for the generations to come.

Signed "OLIN DOWNES"


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