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BLOCH, ELGAR // The Cello and the Great War

Gary Hoffman, Liège Royal Philharmonic,

Gary Hoffman had a project focusing on the end of the First World War: Schelomo was written during the war and the Elgar’s Concerto dates from just after the end of it. The presence of the war’s consequences is evident in the discourse of Elgar’s Concerto, his swansong, a kind of farewell to the world of yesterday. I think there’s an emotional dialogue between the two works. Although they are each different, there is a palpable tension, a tragic atmosphere…


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We all have engraved in our musical memories Jacqueline du Pré’s exceptional performance of the fervent and passionate Cello Concerto composed in 1919 by Edward Elgar at the age of sixty-two. Her interpretation undoubtedly helped to propel this authentic and singular masterpiece beyond the exclusively English sphere. But there is also good reason to acknowledge that over time other instrumentalists have presented their own often magnificent but quite distinct readings.

This is demonstrated once again by the performance of Gary Hoffman with the Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under its conductor Christian Arming. Here is an interpretation outstanding for its musicality and warmth.

In Bloch’s Schelomo, Gary Hoffman and Christian Arming detail the score with an almost improvisatory flexibility and sensuality: a great success! This is an ideal opportunity to (re)discover the music of Ernest Bloch, who affirmed his Hebrew roots in his music throughout his life.

BLOCH, Schelomo, Rhapsodie Hébraïque for cello and orchestra


  • Lento moderato 9’04
  • Allegro moderato 5’36
  • Andante moderato 8’33


ELGAR, Cello concerto in E minor, op.85


  • Adagio – Moderato 7’39
  • Lento – Allegro molto 4’37
  • Adagio 4’53
  • Allegro – Moderato – Allegro, ma non troppo 11’12


Gary Hoffman’s style is characterised by fullness of sound, instrumental mastery and exceptional artistic sensibility.

He made his debut at the Wigmore Hall in London at the age of fifteen, quickly followed by New York. At the age of twenty-two he became the youngest faculty appointee in the history of the Indiana University School of Music. After winning the Premier Grand Prix of the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986, he embarked on an international career, appearing with the world’s most noted orchestras, in major recital and chamber music series and at prestigious festivals.

Although he has great affection for the classical cello repertoire, Gary Hoffman does not neglect contemporary music, of which he is a committed champion. Numerous composers, among them Graciane Finzi, Renaud Gagneux, Joel Hoffman, Laurent Petitgirard and Dominique Lemaître, to name only a few, have dedicated their concertos to him.

He is a regular guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in NewYork, and is a remarkable and much sought-after chamber partner. He has made recordings for BMG (RCA), Sony, EMI and Le Chant du Monde, and now records on the La Dolce Volta label.

Gary Hoffman has lived in Paris since 1990. He performs on a 1662 Nicolo Amati, the ‘ex- Leonard Rose’.

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