Author Topic: Charles Ives  (Read 60359 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #480 on: March 18, 2017, 08:33:19 PM »
Orchestral Set No. 2



Charles Ives did not intend for his Orchestral Set No. 2 to be a follow-up to the famous first set, Three Places in New England. His notes indicate that by 1911 he'd completed the first two movements, and that the third was written in the fall of 1915. The finished grouping of these three movements wasn't assembled until 1919, whereas Three Places was put together around 1914. Ives' Orchestral Set No. 2 premiered under Morton Gould in Chicago in 1967.

The Orchestral Set No. 2 is scored for a very large orchestra and chorus, rivaling the scale of the Fourth Symphony. The first movement, entitled "An Elegy to Our Forefathers," was originally conceived as an "Overture to Stephen Foster" and undertaken around 1909. It includes quotations from such familiar Foster fare as "Old Black Joe" and "Massa's in de Cold, Cold Ground," but also snatches of African American spirituals such as "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." Bathed in dark hues of thick, mysterious orchestral color, this movement is the most touching of Ives' forays into African American song. Conductor Leopold Stokowski attempted to point up this element of the work by asking composer Hershy Kay to add a unison chorus to this movement in 1970. While the added choral part doesn't sound out of place in this context, Ives never intended it, and this addition has to be considered spurious.

The second movement, "The Rockstrewn Hills Join in the People's Outdoor Meeting" is based on the Four Ragtime Dances of 1902; some of the same material also appears in the fourth movement of the First Piano Sonata. This piece is a full throttle, no-holds-barred send-up of ragtime rhythm; it contains some of Ives' most trenchantly dissonant writing for the strings and brass in the center section. Bells ring in the climax, consisting of a wonderfully sour rendering of "Bringing in the Sheaves" before the music quiets back down. Despite the outdoor setting indicated by the title, this is urban music -- big and ugly.

The final piece, "From Hanover Square North, at the End of a Tragic Day, the Voice of the People Again Arose" memorializes an event that occurred on a train platform in New York City on Friday, May 7, 1915. Ives records in his Memos how the atmosphere on that day was thick with apprehension at the news that a German Submarine had torpedoed the Lusitania, meaning war was imminent. As Ives waited along with a crowd at the Third Avenue "El," "In the Sweet Bye and Bye" broke out among some of the workers, and soon the whole crowd picked it up. As the train arrived, the magic remained; no one spoke, and some were still singing the tune while boarding. In Ives' score, he utilizes the large orchestral forces at his disposal and unison chorus to perfectly capture the tension and claustrophobia of this scene.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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Following on the heels of the Ives of March celebrations that aren’t happening on GMG (where are you, Greg?), I thought I’d post this write-up about one of my favorite Ives works: Orchestral Set No. 2. For me, the whole work feels like I’ve just entered a drug-induced dreamworld full of flickering lights and shadow lurkers. It would take someone an entire book to analyze this work, so I possibly couldn’t begin to pick apart all of the strands of music that exist in it. My favorite performance comes from Tilson Thomas conducting the Concertgebouw. Sinclair also has an excellent recording with the Malmo SO on Naxos.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 08:35:30 PM by Mirror Image »
“I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.” - Maurice Ravel

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #481 on: March 29, 2017, 06:59:03 AM »
Well as The Ives Of March draws to a close, we Ivesians are proud to bring aboard hopefully a newly converted member: Rafael (ritter). 8) Let’s hope he continues to the explore this incredible composer’s music. May I suggest the Concord Sonata (preferably the Aimard recording), the SQs, and the violin sonatas (preferably the Fulkerson/Shannon set on the Bridge label).
“I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.” - Maurice Ravel

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #482 on: March 29, 2017, 07:28:02 AM »
A Symphony: New England Holidays



Referring to his New England Holidays, an assemblage of four orchestral works written between 1903 and 1913, Ives stated that "they are separate pieces and can be thought of and played as such. These four together were called a symphony, and later just a set of pieces...." Taking a jab at critics who were appalled at his brash style, Ives further explained his reasons for viewing the work in this way: "I was getting somewhat tired of hearing the lily boys say 'This is a symphony? Mercy!'" Like so many of Ives' works, New England Holidays finds its inspiration in nostalgic recollections of the composer's childhood. Each of the four constituent tone poems takes as its title a different holiday that evoked for the composer memories with specific musical associations.

The first movement, "Washington's Birthday," portrays a midwinter barn dance, complete with strains of "Turkey in the Straw" and "Camptown Races." In his own notes that accompany the score, Ives describes it thus: "The village band of fiddles, fife and horn keep up an unending 'break-down' medley, and the young folks 'salute their partners and balance corners' till midnight; --as the party breaks up, the sentimental songs of those days are sung half in fun, half seriously, and with the inevitable 'adieu to the ladies' the 'social' gives way to the grey bleakness of the February night.”

The second movement, "Decoration Day," recalls the holiday once set aside to honor Civil War veterans (since replaced by Memorial Day). After the crowd gathers at the square, the processional embarks for the cemetery to the tune of "How Firm a Foundation." The assembly's arrival at its destination is marked by the playing of "Taps," combined with strains of "Nearer My God to Thee." This somber moment is contrasted by the peppy parade back into town, accompanied by Ives' raucous reinterpretation of the "Second Connecticut National Guard March.”

The third movement, "The Fourth of July," calls for various pyrotechnic feats on the part of the orchestra. Ives' impression of this holiday takes shape as a complicated combination of well-known marches and tunes as well as newly composed material, offset by odd beats and assembled into a spirited, mischievous whole. Characteristically, Ives makes use of much nineteenth century musical material with patriotic associations: "Yankee Doodle," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean," and "Battle Cry of Freedom," all make prominent appearances during this schizophrenic, multilayered celebration.

"Thanksgiving," which brings New England Holidays to a close, attempts, as Ives explains, to portray "the sternness and strength and austerity of the Puritan character" in its stubborn polytonality and forceful texture. Though "Thanksgiving" makes reference to several hymns, one in particular receives added emphasis in a setting for chorus. As the movement reaches its climax, the voices exclaim: "Oh God, beneath Thy guiding hand our exiled fathers crossed the sea; and when they trod the wintry strand, with prayer and psalm the worshipped Thee.”

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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Certainly one of Ives’ most startling yet mesmerizing works. This work sounds like it could have been titled A Symphony: New England Seasons as much as it using the word ‘Holidays’ as the piece takes us on an aural tour through all four seasons in typical Ivesian fashion. For those who haven’t watch Tilson Thomas’ Keeping Score documentary on this work then please run, don’t walk, over to Amazon and pick up the DVD (or Blu-ray). This documentary helped cement my fascination and admiration of this symphony. Of course, MTT with the Chicago SO would be my first-choice in terms of recorded performances. Sinclair offers a fine alternative performance, although his Holidays are spread out and not grouped together, which was what Ives later in life preferred. Rafael, if you’re reading this, Holidays is right up your alley after having your ears assaulted by his Symphony No. 4.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 07:32:34 AM by Mirror Image »
“I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.” - Maurice Ravel

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #483 on: March 29, 2017, 07:45:08 AM »
"the lily boys" . . . love it.  Best description of James yet  0:)
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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #484 on: March 29, 2017, 07:57:10 AM »
"the lily boys" . . . love it.

A-yep"I don't write music for sissy ears." ~ Charles Ives.
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #485 on: March 29, 2017, 08:36:27 AM »
A-yep"I don't write music for sissy ears." ~ Charles Ives.

 :P
“I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.” - Maurice Ravel

Offline Leo K.

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Charles Ives
« Reply #486 on: May 06, 2017, 10:43:41 AM »
Ives is such a life inspiration I gave my newborn son the middle name Ives.


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Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #487 on: May 06, 2017, 11:08:44 AM »
Ives is such a life inspiration I gave my newborn son the middle name Ives.


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Nice!  8)

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #488 on: May 06, 2017, 11:48:30 AM »
This is rather unassuming cover art for such a crucial disc. This also contains the short works cond. by Gunther Schuller, originally on LP called "Calcium Light Night."



Here is the original LP cover:


Offline Leo K.

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Charles Ives
« Reply #489 on: May 08, 2017, 04:11:02 AM »
This is rather unassuming cover art for such a crucial disc. This also contains the short works cond. by Gunther Schuller, originally on LP called "Calcium Light Night."



Here is the original LP cover:



I definitely prefer the the LP cover art!


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Offline Leo K.

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Charles Ives
« Reply #490 on: May 08, 2017, 04:14:08 AM »


This one is still one of my favorite LP covers.


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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #491 on: May 08, 2017, 05:28:45 PM »
I definitely prefer the the LP cover art!


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+1
“I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.” - Maurice Ravel

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #492 on: May 09, 2017, 02:29:07 AM »

This one is still one of my favorite LP covers.

The first time I bought it, it looked like this:


Then, when I re-acquired it on CD, it rather bizarrely looked like this:

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #493 on: July 14, 2017, 01:32:52 PM »
Speaking of Ives: can anyone give an opinion on Ludovic Morlot's Ives from Seattle? He's done (I think) 3 of the 4 symphonies with that orchestra.

I finally got this disc:



My initial impression is that this is a really first-rate collection. The Seattle orchestra plays tremendously, and the sonics are really good, detailed and expansive, which is what you need for music like this.

I haven't heard a lot of competing versions of these works, but I was able to compare Morlot in the 3rd Symphony and the 2 brief tone poems to the classic Bernstein LP of these works. In every case I prefer Morlot's version. Especially I like his slow, drawn-out tempo for The Unanswered Question, which makes it sound much more cosmic and mystical than Bernstein's rather blunt version.

The symphony comes off very well, a bit soft around the edges, but this seems to fit, as it's Ives in relatively restrained, nostalgic mood. Someone up above referred to the long, lingering ringing of the bells at the end - this is a really nice effect.

The 4th Symphony sounds terrific too - pretty much the equal of the MTT/CSO recording, which I've had for years.

In short, this is one of the best Ives orchestral discs I've heard.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Charles Ives
« Reply #494 on: November 09, 2017, 03:27:47 AM »
Latest on Forbes.com

Classical CD Of The Week: Alexei Lubimov Supreme In Ives, Webern, Berg

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/11/08/classical-cd-of-the-week-alexei-lubimov-supreme-in-ives-webern-berg/



I finally got this disc:



My initial impression is that this is a really first-rate collection. The Seattle orchestra plays tremendously, and the sonics are really good, detailed and expansive, which is what you need for music like this.

I haven't heard a lot of competing versions of these works, but I was able to compare Morlot in the 3rd Symphony and the 2 brief tone poems to the classic Bernstein LP of these works. In every case I prefer Morlot's version. Especially I like his slow, drawn-out tempo for The Unanswered Question, which makes it sound much more cosmic and mystical than Bernstein's rather blunt version.

The symphony comes off very well, a bit soft around the edges, but this seems to fit, as it's Ives in relatively restrained, nostalgic mood. Someone up above referred to the long, lingering ringing of the bells at the end - this is a really nice effect.

The 4th Symphony sounds terrific too - pretty much the equal of the MTT/CSO recording, which I've had for years.

In short, this is one of the best Ives orchestral discs I've heard.

Would be interested what you think of this disc:

The 10 Best Classical Recordings Of 2016

#5 Ives:

http://bit.ly/Forbes_Best_Classical_Recordings_2016_New



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