Ernest Bloch (July 24, 1880 – July 15, 1959) was a Swiss-born American composer. He was born in Geneva on July 24, 1880 to Jewish parents. He began playing the violin at age 9. He began composing soon after. He studied music at the conservatory in Brussels, where his teachers included the celebrated Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe. He then travelled around Europe, moving to Germany (where he studied composition from 1900–1901 with Iwan Knorr at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt), on to Paris in 1903 and back to Geneva before settling in the United States in 1916, taking American citizenship in 1924. In 1917 Bloch became the first teacher of composition at Mannes College The New School for Music, a post he held for three years. In December 1920 he was appointed the first Musical Director of the newly formed Cleveland Institute of Music, a post he held until 1925. Following this he was director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music until 1930. He taught and lectured at the University of California, Berkeley until 1952. He wrote a large number of works for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal combinations including two organ collections: "6 Preludes" (1949) and "4 Wedding Marches" (1950). The "Wedding March Number3" is based on the Ashkenazic 19th century melody, "Maoz tsur" - the great Hanukkah melody, that has been used in many Christian hymnbooks to excellent effect.
Composed in the key of F major, there is a more quiet central section in D-flat major before the return of a more grandiose version of the first section. It is a stately work, conservative in style and tonality. The soloing-out of the tune is my idea, and not indicated by the composer. In my opinion, it never really fully delivers what it promises, but it is solid and a fine piece. It is of value to the synagogue organist, as there is very little real Jewish organ music of substance.