Ernest Bloch

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Synopsis[edit]

Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was a Swiss-born Jewish composer and teacher who "approached music as a sort of religious worship."[1] He devoted his life to music. He believed that "A man does not have to label a composition 'American' or 'German' or 'Italian,' but has to be American, German, or Italian or even Jewish at the bottom of his heart...Does anybody think he is only himself? Far from it: he is thousands of his ancestors. If he writes as he feels, no matter how exceptional his point of view, his expression will be basically that of his forefathers."[2]

"Ernest Bloch was so admired in his heyday that many considered him the fourth ‘B’ after Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. He was one of the most original composers of the 20th century whose music, whilst intellectually challenging, was accessible to a wide audience. His works were regularly performed from the 1920s to the 1950s, particularly in the USA, UK and Italy."[3]


  • 1880 born in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Brussels, studied music at the conservatory
  • Resided in Frankfurt and Paris
  • 1903 moved to Geneva
  • 1916 moved to the United States
  • 1920-1925 taught at Cleveland Institute of Music
  • 1925-1930 director of San Francisco Conservatory
  • 1941 moved to Agate Beach, Oregon
  • 1959 died in Portland


For additional details, see Ernst_Bloch in Wikipedia.

Visit the Ernest Bloch Legacy website for more in depth information.

List of Organ Works[edit]

Click to sort by opus number, title, or year of composition or publication
Title Year
Six Preludes 1949
Four Wedding Marches 1951

Background and General Perspectives on Performing Bloch Organ Works[edit]

Bloch studied composition with Francois Rasse, who was a student of César Franck.[4]


Bloch believed that "Only that art can live which is an active manifestation of the life of the people. It must be a necessary, an essential portion of that life, and not a luxury...Art is the outlet of the mystical, emotional needs of the human spirit, it is created by instinct rather than intelligence, rather by intuition than by will."[5]

Registration and Organs[edit]

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See the footnote in the "Notes" section at the bottom of the page. [6]

Fingering and Pedaling[edit]

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Articulation and Phrasing[edit]

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Ornamentation[edit]

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Tempo and Meter[edit]

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Scores and Editions[edit]

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Recordings[edit]

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Free Online[edit]

6 Preludes for Organ: Prelude No. 1, performed by Barbara Harbach

6 Preludes for Organ: Prelude No. 2, performed by Barbara Harbach

6 Preludes for Organ: Prelude No. 3, performed by Barbara Harbach

6 Preludes for Organ: Prelude No. 4, performed by Barbara Harbach

6 Preludes for Organ: Prelude No. 5, performed by Barbara Harbach

6 Preludes for Organ: Prelude No. 6, performed by Barbara Harbach

Pay to Listen[edit]

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Other Resources[edit]

For a list of Bloch compositions, recordings, and publishers see A Young Person's Guide to ERNEST BLOCH.

Notes[edit]

  1. Black, Sarah. "The Music and Personalities of Three Late Romantic Composers." Honors Thesis, Brigham Young University, 2003, p. 6.
  2. Black, Sarah. "The Music and Personalities of Three Late Romantic Composers." Honors Thesis, Brigham Young University, 2003, p. 11.
  3. International Ernest Bloch Society: Ernest Bloch biography, http://www.ernestblochsociety.org/biography/biography.html (accessed 8 March 2015).
  4. Black, Sarah. "The Music and Personalities of Three Late Romantic Composers." Honors Thesis, Brigham Young University, 2003, p.6.
  5. Black, Sarah. "The Music and Personalities of Three Late Romantic Composers." Honors Thesis, Brigham Young University, 2003, p. 12
  6. This footnote was entered in the "Registration and Organs" article

This space is for automatic insertion of footnotes. To enter a footnote from anywhere in the article, start by typing the tag <ref> and then enter the text, and type the tag </ref> to end the footnote. The footnote will then appear in this "Notes" section automatically.