Ernest Bloch and Paul Hindemith share a lot in common in their lives and musical works, while representing very different aesthetics. While Bloch was concerned with finding an expression for a basic, Jewish spirituality and universal humanism, Hindemith was more interested in the functional properties of music and the aesthetic potential of musical structure. However, both were influenced by the artistic ideology of their time, which pointed to an objective ideal, devoid of Romanticism's "emotionalism." However, an important similarity between Bloch and Hindemith is their deference to the wisdom imparted by history, be it composition or drama. They shared the same devotion to pre-Romantic art, philosophy and mysticism, from the BaroqueRead more period to the Middle Ages, and assimilated those past influences wisely in their own expression. Both moved to the U.S. and became naturalized citizens, though for different reasons. Bloch was forced to leave Europe because he was a Jew, while Hindemith was compelled to leave because the Nazis considered his music decadent and hence unwanted, in addition to his Jewish sympathies (after all, he performed with Jewish musicians). Both these men were exponents of the new cultural consciousness that arose at the juncture between the old European and the new American culture: a cultural paradigm shift that will always distinguish the 20th century. In that sense, the pieces in this recording are true children of their time, while representing an artistic quality and personal integrity that are unique. Read less
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