Bloch Schelomo

The two great works for cello and orchestra by Bloch, Schelomo and Voice in the Wilderness are amongst my very favourite to play. I grew up listening to the wonderful recording by Emanuel Feuermann and the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Stokowski, and long before I could play the piece knew every note from memory! Bloch is able to encapsulate the fervent nobility, grandeur, tragedy, and joy of the Jewish legend with unequalled pathos and skill. In Schelomo the cello takes on the main role of the voice of King Solomon,the orchestra creating the atmosphere and framework for the tale to be told. In Voice in the Wilderness, the cello provides obligato commentaries on the music set out by the orchestra in each piece. Andre Caplet’s Epiphanie is a masterpiece in subtle orchestration and atmospheric colour. The virtuoso cello solo this time tells the story of the Adoration of the Magi and celebration of the birth of Christ in an Ethiopian setting! Ravel’s profound setting of the Jewish prayer, Kaddish, ties the three main works together in its deeply felt contemplation. It is of great significance that I have recorded these amazing pieces with my dear son Benjamin. We would like to dedicate the recording to the many members of our family that perished in the Holocaust. Raphael Wallfisch, 2013


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"Nimbus has thus produced a real winner here. I know I shall be returning to this CD when I need a Schelomo fix and I am equally glad to have heard the other works performed and recorded so well."  Leslie Wright,

'There is some exquisite music-making here; the Welsh players excel in Bloch's Voice in the Wilderness and Schelomo, underpinning Raphael's gloriously rich, sonorous solo lines. And André Caplet's sparkling Epiphanie makes an enchanting counter to Kaddish, Ravel's deeply felt homage to Jewish melody.' Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, January 2014

This imaginatively conceived and warmly recorded programme places the two major works for cello and orchestra by Bloch in the context of music by two of the Swiss-born composer's French contemporaries...Wallfisch father and son revel in the score's virtuosity presenting a performance that is both atmospheric and physically exhilarating. Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine, April 2014

'Ernst Bloch's Voice in the Wilderness is one of those pieces that will make you want to drop everything and hang onto every note.' The Art Desk, March 2014

"There are few composers of such profound sincerity and absorbing interest as Ernest Bloch. He said that he had no desire to archive the music of the Jews but that the intention in his own music was to capture the Hebrew spirit in ' the complex, ardent, agitated soul that vibrates in the Bible'. Bloch's Schelomo  is by turns devotional, majestic, introspective and dramatic, and the cellist captures all these facets in an astonishing portrait. The orchestra are in fine form under thesoloist's son, who keeps a clear head in a complex score, ensuring that every detail is in focus, the climaxes awesome...Ravel's Kaddisch, his deeply felt homage to Jewish music, carries an authentic ring and completes this memorable recording which is dedicated to the many members of the Wallfisch family who perished in the Holocaust." Adrian Edwards, Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

'This is a magnificent recording...The recording quality is outstanding, offering the best-balanced sound I have heard live or on record - from Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff; this is of demonstration standard, which - together with some particularly informative and insightful booklet notes from Alexander Knapp - make this an eminently desirable disc, an absolute 'must' for admirers of these composers and of cello playing.' Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review, May 2014

'Wallfisch's partnership with his gifted son Benjamin and an audibly fired-up BBC National Orchestra of Wales yields consistently engrossing, characterful and fervent results. Ravel's Kaddisch receives comparably understanding treatment and is preceded by an exotic rarity in the shape of André Caplet's Épiphanie, a most beguiling, captivatingly inventive canvas from 1923-24 incorporating elements of (among other things) Ethiopian folk music. A truly splendid release, this, faithfully engineered in Cardiff's Hoddinott Hall, and movingly dedicated by Wallfisch père et fils 'to the many members of our family that perished in the Holocaust'. Andrew Achenbach, Classical Ear, January 2014

'I found this disc very moving, especially in the context of the World War I anniversary. Raphael Wallfisch plays with an intensity that seems to be even greater than his other concerto recordings, while the orchestral playing and recording is exceptionally vivid. This is music whose melodies and colours can be greatly appreciated with repeated listening, where the music also becomes more directly affecting. It is very highly recommended.' Ben Hogwood, norfolkrhapsodies.blogspot, February 2014

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