The story of Jezebel's violent death belongs among the cold accounts of bloody wars, battles, and massacres in the Old Testament. Bloch, who was attracted to the savagery of some Old Testament stories, chose Jezebel as the heroine of his projected Jewish opera. Like Saminsky before him, he chose Orientalism as a sign of foreignness. For Bloch, however, Orientalizing music did not symbolize the Diaspora but a physical sensuousness that endangered spiritual ideals. Bloch first articulated what he conceived as a purified Jewish identity in the sketches for his projected opera Jézabel (1911–18). Several years later, he transformed his Jewish style into a more conventional, Orientally colored Jewish idiom in Schelomo (1916), the last piece of his so-called Jewish Cycle.
Keywords: Jezebel; Old Testament; Judaism; Bloch; Jewish opera; Orientalizing music; Jewish Cycle; Schelomo
Chapter. 10197 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Musicology and Music History
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