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Soul Music: Works for the Cello Inspired by Hebraic Themes – Part 1

Looking for cello music inspired by Hebraic themes? In collaboration with the London Cello Society, Selma Gokcen, Chair, here is Part 1 of our two-part series on the topic.
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A Note from Selma Gokcen, Chair of the London Cello Society

“The following database arose as a collaborative effort between the London Cello Society (Selma Gokcen, Chair) and the Cello Museum in North Carolina (Brenda Neece, Curator).

The database expands on the theme of the Society’s May 2022 event at the Royal Academy of Music, Soul Music: Works for the Cello Inspired by Hebraic Themes. Both organisations shared the fruits of their research, and the Cello Museum expanded on this research to include important and more detailed information on manuscripts, editions, and performance notes.

The two contributors are Dr. Yuriy Leonovich (Part 1) and Erica Lessie (Part 2).

The London Cello Society extends its deepest thanks to the Cello Museum for this valuable contribution to the listing of cello repertoire. We also invite notice of further works which may have escaped our attention on this occasion, establishing a sort of ‘living database’ which can be added to in future years.”

– Selma Gokcen

Soul Music

Introduction to Part 1

The following are notes on editions of cello pieces inspired by Hebraic themes. This list, provided by the London Cello Society, was slightly expanded.

Except for the Patrick Zimmerli piece (No. 11), these works are for cello and piano or cello and orchestra. The Zimmerli is for unaccompanied cello. Please see Part 2 of this series by Erica Lessie for a further list of unaccompanied cello works.

Parts 1 and 2 are the beginnings of a database. Please add your suggestions for additions to the list in the comments below.

Ernest Bloch

Ernest Bloch in 1917

Ernest Bloch (24 July 1880 – 15 July 1959)

Prayer from “From Jewish Life” (ed. Hans Kindler)

  • Composer: Ernest Bloch
  • First edition: Carl Fischer, 1925
  • Critical/Urtext edition: YL Edition
  • Note: The holograph manuscript of the sketches is dated “Santa Fe, Dec. 1924” and is housed at the Library of Congress Ernest Bloch collection.

Nigun from “Baal Shem” (arr. by Joseph Schuster)

  • Composer: Ernest Bloch
  • First edition: Carl Fischer, 1947
  • Note: The manuscript of the arrangement is dated “July 1945 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho” and is housed at the UMCP Performing Arts Library at the University of Maryland.

From Jewish Life (ed. Hans Kindler)

  • Composer: Ernest Bloch
  • Contents: Prayer, Supplication, Jewish Song
  • First edition: Carl Fischer, 1925
  • Critical/Urtext edition: YL Edition
  • Note: The holograph manuscript of the sketches is dated “Santa Fe, Dec. 1924” and is housed at the Library of Congress Ernest Bloch collection.

Voice in the Wilderness

  • Composer: Ernest Bloch
  • First edition: Schirmer, 1936
  • Critical/Urtext edition: none
  • Note: The holograph manuscript of the piano reduction is dated “Châtel-Haute Savoie, 14 August 1935” and is housed at the Library of Congress Ernest Bloch collection. Because this piece was conceived with the piano in mind (later reworked into Visions et prophéties for piano solo), the piano reduction of the orchestra part fits well into the hands, unlike Schelomo.

Schelomo

Max Bruch

Max Bruch, c. 1920

Max Bruch (6 January 1838 – 2 October 1920)

Kol Nidrei, Op. 47

  • Composer: Max Bruch
  • First edition: Simrock, 1881
  • Critical/Urtext edition: Henle
  • Note: The manuscript of Kol Nidrei is not extant. Henle used the first edition as the basis for their edition. You may read about Henle’s editorial choices on their website.

Joachim Stutschewsky

 Kaddish

  • Composer: Joachim Stutschewsky
  • First edition: Tel-Aviv: Or-Tav, 1970
  • Updated edition: Slovenly re-engraved edition made on the Finale music notation software is now available from Or-Tav. The original engraving is out of print.
  • Critical/Urtext edition: none
  • Note: The holograph manuscript cover title and copyright information are handwritten in ink by the composer at the end: Tel-Aviv, 30/9/1957. A copy of the holograph is inscribed to Maurice Eisenberg by the composer, dated 1961. It is housed at the Martha Blakeney Hodges Collection at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
  • Here is my evaluation of Stutschewsky’s Kaddish as it is currently available from OR-TAV Music Publication, both printed and digital.

Lost Melodies (also published as “Forgotten Melodies”)

  • Editor: Joachim Stutschewsky
  • First edition: Universal Edition, 1934
  • Contents:
    • Joseph Haydn – Andante (from Baryton Trio No. 1, possibly composed by Vanhal)
    • Joseph Haydn –  Allegro (from Baryton Trio No. 1, possibly composed by Vanhal)
    • Benedetto Marcello – Largo (from Sonata in e minor, Op. 1, No. 2)
    • Michael Haydn – Minuetto (from 6 Minuets)
    • Handel – Adagio (from Gamba Sonata in C Major, possibly composed by Leffloth)
    • Philidor (Francois) – La sauterelle (from Pieces for Flute, Suite in e minor)
    • Chiesa – Minuetto (might be from a Sonata flute or cimbalom)
    • Rubino (Giulio Cesare) – Adagio (authorship questionable)
    • Albrechtsberger – Scherzando (from String Quartet in A Major, published in 1909)
    • Corelli – Grave (from Violin Sonata in A Major, Op. 5, No. 6)
    • d’Herveloix – Gavotte (from Pièces de viole, Livre 1)
    • Schenk – Gigue (from Suite in g minor, Op. 6 No. 1)
  • Note: This volume serves well as a replacement or supplement for Suzuki cello books 4 and 5.
  • Although edited by Stutschewsky, these pieces are not inspired by Hebraic themes. They are included here for two reasons: 1) to clarify the contents of this collection, and 2) this collection was on the original list given to the Cello Museum for this project.

Yuriy Leonovich

Koheleth

  • Composer: Yuriy Leonovich
  • Purchase score here.

Solomon

  • Composer: Yuriy Leonovich
  • Purchase score here.

Patrick Zimmerli

Sonata “Kol nidrei”

  • Composer: Patrick Zimmerli
  • Instrumentation: unaccompanied cello
  • Composed for Brian Thornton for the Lev Aronson Project.
  • Contact Mr. Zimmerli to purchase the score.

Alexander Krein

Alexander Krein

Alexander Krein (20 October 1883 – 25 April 1951)

Jewish Melody, Op. 43

  • Composer: Alexander Krein
  • Purchase score here.



Soul Music Event in London

Soul Music - London Cello Soceity Event May 2022

Works for the Cello inspired by Hebraic Themes
with cellists Robert Max and Raphael Wallfisch

Sunday, 8 May 2022 | 11.00 AM – 6.00 PM

Royal Academy of Music

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.



Thank You

We are thrilled to work on this project with the London Cello Society. It has been a great pleasure to work with Selma Gokcen. Enormous thanks to her for making this happen and for all of her guidance and hard work.

Thank you, Stacey Krim at the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro (UNCG), for your patience, thoroughness, and speed in providing us with materials for this article. Learn more about the archives here.



Your Turn

What are your favorite cello works inspired by Hebraic themes? What would you add to the list? Please let us know in the comments.

Looking for unaccompanied cello works inspired by Hebraic themes? Check out Part 2 by Erica Lessie, presented in a special edition of her digital postcards.



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