Timmons, Frémaux begin Bloch biography translation
article created on: 2011-01-15T00:00:00
The long-awaited English translation of French author Joseph Lewinski’s monumental four-volume biography of the composer Ernest Bloch is now under way in earnest by two Oregon musicians and music scholars.
“Ernest Bloch: Sa Vie et Sa Pensée” (His Life and Thoughts), was published in 2005 by Editions Slatkine in Geneva. It has been available only in French, although Bloch—a Swiss-Jewish-American who settled in Oregon where he created some of his most admired compositions, many of them Jewish-themed—may be best known worldwide for his life and work here in Oregon and elsewhere in America.
Professors Jill Timmons and Sylvain Frémaux, a Lake Oswego couple, recently began the actual task of translation after several years of development work.
Frémaux, a native of France and a friend of Lewinski, is a conductor who has worked widely with American and international orchestras and is past music director and conductor of the Newport Symphony and artistic director of the Ernest Bloch Music Festival there, near Bloch’s Agate Beach home.
Frémaux has done scholarship translations for more than 20 years, most notably for Amadeus Press and University of Southern California. He is on the faculty of Chemeketa Community College and works as a music consultant in France.
Timmons is a professor of music and artist-in-residence at Linfield College. A pianist with an extensive discography, her performance venues have included New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall and Merkin Hall and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. For five years she also directed the Two Piano Institute at the Ernest Bloch Music Festival in Newport.
Timmons said her husband is currently translating the biography from French to English at a target rate of one volume every five months.
Timmons will join the effort as the project’s English scholar this summer and then continue through the following academic year and beyond when she includes this project in her academic load at Linfield College.
In 1997, Timmons and Frémaux were awarded the Wilk literary prize from USC for their ground-breaking memoir on Polish composer, Alexandre Tansman, also published online by the university.
The target date for completion of the Bloch/Lewinski translation is Dec. 1, 2012.
The University Press of New England previously agreed to publish the translation. UPNE is a consortium of academic publishers that includes Brandeis University. The publication project will be coordinated through the UPNE office on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.
Like increasing numbers of complex academic publishing projects in recent years, the Bloch biography translation will be what Timmons called “a synergistic partnership” between UPNE and a companion website to be hosted by Linfield College.
She explained that the Lewinski biography, which comprises some 1 million words, includes extensive subordinate components such as a bibliography, discography, correspondence and some 800 mini-biographies of Bloch’s friends and colleagues—luminaries including, for example, Claude Debussy, Gustav Mahler and Leopold Stokowski.
The subordinate components will be published on the website, which will be staffed and underwritten by Linfield.
She said Linfield also is acting as the project’s fiscal agent and is continuing to accept donations without charging any overhead. Timmons said development overhead costs for such project typically can run 10-30 percent.
Cost of the project is $175,000 and added that efforts are under way to raise a remaining $40,000.
She noted that Bloch’s grandson, Ernest Bloch II of Portland, has stepped forward to help with the project, as did the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation. She was unaware of other Jewish participation in the project.
Bloch’s grandson previously said of the Bloch/Lewinski translation project, “There are numerous scholars who have declared this publication needs to be in English. It is the most comprehensive collection of Bloch information, bar none.”
In an email to the Jewish Review Timmons and Frémaux wrote, “An English language version of Lewinski’s work is essential for those who wish to study and learn more about one of the leading artists of the 20th century.”
Persons interested in contributing to the project’s funding can contact Catherine Jarmin Miller at Linfield College (email@example.com).