Of almost any of the works of Bloch's maturity, the 'Sinfonia Breve' has the least amount of Jewish ‘flavour’. In 1952, when this piece was written, Bloch was exploring some other vocabularies rather than the one that is most often identified with him. His flirtation with (twelve-tone techniques still sounds like Bloch. The title of the work indicates a more formal structure than many of his more poetic creations. It does follow the classical four movement pattern, and Bloch links them by utilizing appropriately transformed thematic material.
The first movement commences with an important thrusting theme. The second movement is meditative and quite beautiful. The string section dominates and Bloch exhibits the same mastery of counterpoint that one finds in his string quartets. The Scherzo begins with an off-beat major 7th figure. The first trio is a slower, lyrical contrast. The second trio has the most exotic writing of the whole Sinfonia. The finale recalls much of the important material from the previous movements. This grand summation ends calmly.