Ernst Bloch was a mystic, and an exponent of the Jewish soul in music. He wrote Nigun in Cleveland in 1923, while he was serving as the director of the Cleveland Institute of Music and shaping an innovative curriculum which would help to shape me some seventy years later at the same institution. A book I received the day of the above performance, A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany, which I am presently reviewing for H-German, is causing me to question a few of my previously-held assumptions about Bloch, but, unfortunately, reading the text is not a foolproof method for playing Bloch’s music in tune.
The music starts at 0:31, orientalist octaves slip out of the hand frame at 2:30, I continue to search for the appropriate mental image at 3:30 (Jimi Hendrix fearlessness needed?), but 6:30 forward finally reaches a professional footing.
And if the title of this post has you jilted, try Juan Cole’s essay (with video) on Israel’s recent mishaps with musicians and that wandering bard-philosopher, Noam Chomsky, or this essay which calls China “a Great Wall in blocking the path towards sanctions and peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis and denuclearizaton of the Korean Peninsula.”