This program includes some of the least known masterpieces from Ernest Bloch’s nearly 30 works for orchestra. Macbeth: Two Symphonic Interludes is an intoxicating and passionate distillation of Shakespeare’s powerful drama. In Memoriam is a brief elegy dedicated to the pianist Ada Clement, while the Three Jewish Poems were written when Bloch was mourning the death of his father. Originally conceived as a third concerto grosso, Bloch’s last Symphony, in E flat major, is at times emotionally turbulent and deeply spiritual work containing passages of harmonic acerbity.
Giovanni Battista Sammartini, son of the French oboist Alexis Saint-Martin, was most probably born in Milan on 1700 or 1701; his death certificate, dated 1775, gives his age as 74. Little is known about his childhood, but in 1774 he is already documented as being a maestro di cappella, and we know that he was active as a performer on the oboe and organ, winning admiration for the individuality of his touch on the latter instrument…
Maria Daniela Villa - Translation by David S. Tabbat
Hans Rott was a friend of Gustav Mahler's and Hugo Wolf's in their conservatory days, and his career was to end sadly, like Wolf's, in madness probably brought on by syphilis. While traveling by rail to take up a job as a choral director, his mind gave way and he claimed that Brahms had rigged the train to explode. He never reported for work, obviously.
Here's a Symphony of Psalms that successfully captures the spirit and letter of the work–reverence, jubilation, and celebration, as well as specifics of orchestral color and texture. Boys' voices–supposedly Stravinsky's original choice–contribute their share to the bright choral timbre, an effect that works very well. We also get first-rate performances of the Mass and the rarely recorded Canticum sacrum.