With this 1913 work, Ernest Bloch inaugurated his so-called 'Jewish cycle', though apart from an emphasis on the augmented second (characteristic of cantorial melody) these poems are not particularly 'Jewish', and the work is not pictorial or dramatic but philosophical.
Bloch describes the Danse as somber, mystical, languorous, A nervous, passionate theme announced at the beginning, shoots through the entire movement. Of the Rite, Bloch wrote, This music is more emotional, but there is something solemn and distant, as in the ceremonies of a cult. The opening, the most pictorial passage in the work, conjures up the vision of a long, solemn procession, but it quickly moves to music of great consolation--as if to suggest the healing power of ritual. The last movement, Cortege Funebre, continues the mood of the second, but gradually grief overpowers ritual until the orchestra seems to howl. The toment subsides to a mutter, out of which comes yet another song of acceptance and serenity which proceeds to a noble close. This is a miniature score for study purposes.