(1956) Suite No. 2 for Cello

Instrumentation: unaccompanied


Date of Composition: 1956

Place of Composition: Agate Beach

Publisher: Broude Brothers

Duration Minutes: 16.0



Opus 111 - OPS 30-232

Works for cello featuring Peter Bruns on cello, Roglit Ishay on piano.

From Jewish Life

Meditation hebraique

Suite No. 1 for Violoncello solo

Suite No. 2 for Violoncello solo

Suite No. 3 for Violoncello solo

Baal Shem for Violoncello and piano

From Ernest Bloch: Creative Spirit, A PROGRAM SOURCE BOOK, Prepared by Suzanne Bloch, In Collaboration With Irene Heskes, JEWISH MUSIC COUNCIL of the NATIONAL JEWISH WELFARE BOARD, 1976, p. 99.


At the end of his life, as the culmination of his musical expression, Bloch chose the simplest and yet most difficult medium, that of music for unaccompanied strings. These would be the Cello Suites, followed by two for unaccompanied Violin and one (unfinished) for Viola.

The first two Cello Suites were dedicated to the cellist Zara Nelsova, who often visited the Blochs while on tour. The First Suite is the shortest and simplest of the group, closest to the Baroque Suite having the usual contrast between its four movements. A Prelude is followed by an Allegro. The third movement, a Canzona, is true to its title with a melancholy lilting melody. The last movement in 6/8 time could be heard as a Gigue.

The Second Suite is totally different. Much longer and more complex than the First Suite, its four movements are played without interruption, lasting about 16 minutes. They are: Prelude, Allegro, Andante, Tranquillo and Allegro. With a freer scope in the writing, this Suite is the most difficult to perform.

The Third Suite is again shorter and simpler musically. It is in five movements: Allegro Deciso, followed at once by an Andante and an Allegro. Another Andante breaks gaily into the Allegro Giocoso, a tuneful and dance-like Finale.

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