Music: Mellowing Modernist

At. 72, modernist Composer Ernest Bloch is resigned to the fact that he is quite an old man. He lives in semi-retirement at Agate Beach, Ore., gathering and polishing beach stones, gardening and caring for his mushrooms. He still composes regularly, but has unwrapped no major scores since his Concerto Symphonique three years ago. "I am no giant of a man like [78-year-old] Winston Churchill," he says.

But last week Manhattan heard a new chip off the old Bloch, his String Quartet No. 3. It had much of the modernist vigor audiences have come to expect from Ernest Bloch, but listeners also...

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