Concert Review: 'Shelomo'

In this "Hebrew Rhapsody," the Jewish, Swiss-born Bloch uses eastern European Jewish tradition as a vehicle for expressing his own religious identity.

Music good 88 (photo credit:)
Music good 88
(photo credit: )
IPO Matinee Concert Jerusalem Theater March 7 Ernest Bloch's cello concerto, Shelomo, performed by Misha Maisky, was the centerpiece of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's matinee concert last week, conducted by Japan's Kazushi Ono. In this "Hebrew Rhapsody," the Jewish, Swiss-born Bloch paradoxically uses not western European Jewish music elements, of which there are many, but the eastern European Jewish tradition as a vehicle for expressing his own religious identity. In doing so, he follows in the footsteps of the German Christian Max Bruch's Romantic exoticism - such as his Kol Nidrei, labeled by Schoenberg as a case of "cello sentimentality." In his impressive, genuinely emotional rendition, Maisky steered clear of the work's many temptations for tear-jerking sentimentality. Instead, Maisky tastefully expressed artistically stylized sentiment. Ono provided a welcome opportunity for becoming acquainted with Tchaikovsky's seldomly performed Symphony No. 1, rather than attempting to collect laurels with the more popular Fifth or Sixth. Melodic phrases foreshadowing Russia's Petrovich Mussorgsky were particularly revealing. Ono displayed a formidable command of the orchestra, presenting a thoroughly alive and dramatically vibrant performance.