Schelomo receives its mead of barbarous splendour at the hands of Nelsova and Abravanel. The recording is a shade too warm but Nelsova (who recorded far too little) who studied the piece with the composer demonstrates her familiarity and sympathy with the piece. This is essential as Schelomo is one of those works that can easily seem nondescript if the artists involved are unengaged. In that sense it is rather like the Bax cello concerto (still awaiting its ideal exponent on disc). This is Nelsova's second, recording of the work. The feverish grip of the music is strongly asserted.
Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch is best known for his works on Jewish themes and subjects – Baal Shem, Schelomo, the Israel Symphony – but the majority of his works are abstract, if heavily accented music written in the standard late nineteenth century central European harmonies and forms. This 2007 Hyperion disc features two large-scale chamber works by Bloch, his three-movement piano quintets from 1923 and 1957, plus three shorter pieces for string quartet alone: Night and Paysages (Landscapes) both from 1923 and Two Pieces from 1938 and 1950.
Depuis des mois, dans le désert de Palestine, les légions romaines assiègent la forteresse de Massada. Là-haut sur le roc, retranchés derrière les murailles, un millier de Juifs refusent de se rendre. Ils savent que Jérusalem est tombée, que le Temple a été détruit. ils savent aussi qu'un jour les vivres manqueront, mais ils crient avec leur chef : "Dieu est le seul Seigneur. La mort ne compte pas. La liberté est tout !" …
The film The Sandpiper is best-remembered today for Johnny Mandel's "The Shadow of Your Smile". Its soundtrack CD has 11 pieces on it, ten of which are variations of that one melody. Other than a straightforward version of the theme that features a vocal group, Jack Sheldon's trumpet is prominent throughout much of the haunting score; the one exception to the moody music is the brief R&Bish "Bird Bath" which was used in a nightclub scene. Otherwise this CD's value to listeners depends largely on how much one enjoys "The Shadow of Your Smile".