Author Topic: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review  (Read 20961 times)

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Ken B

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #60 on: August 03, 2014, 10:09:56 AM »
I just finished the whole thread. I might be the only member of GMG to feel this way, but I kinda like Josquin des Prez (the GMG one.)
 

Offline torut

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #61 on: August 03, 2014, 10:55:29 AM »
Kyle Gann is writing a book Essays After a Sonata: Charles Ives’s Concord, and on his blog he comments on misconceptions about Ives that are generally shared with musicologists. For example,

Criticizing musicologists' tendency of phychoanalyzing Ives
http://www.artsjournal.com/postclassic/2014/07/the-composer-as-cripple.html

About wrongly accusing Cowell of dismissing European influence on Ives in order to value American music
http://www.artsjournal.com/postclassic/2014/07/ives-the-primitive-as-straw-man-2.html

The OP's main interest was the chronological issue, but I don't think it matters much in the long run.


Gann's book itself seems technical, focusing on the particular work, Concord, not a biography of Ives or a book about the reception of Ives.

http://www.artsjournal.com/postclassic/2014/06/a-pseudo-milestone-but-feels-real.html

"I have just completed a first draft of Essays After a Sonata: Charles Ives’s Concord. It is currently something over 136,000 words, which is just about the length of my American Music book; plus, there are hundreds of musical examples. There are fourteen chapters, as follows:

The Story of the Concord Sonata, 1911-1947
The Programmatic Argument (and Henry Sturt)
The Human Faith Theme and the Whole-Tone Hypothesis
Emerson: The Essay
Emerson: The Music
The Emerson Concerto and its Offshoots
Hawthorne and The Celestial Railroad
Hawthorne: The Music
The Alcotts
Thoreau: The Essay
Thoreau: The Music
The Epilogue: Substance and Manner
The First Piano Sonata
Editions (1920 versus 1947) and Performance Questions

The book is due to Yale University Press in September."

ZauberdrachenNr.7

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #62 on: August 03, 2014, 11:31:36 AM »
Inspired by my sig are we Z7?  :)


You're always inspirational, Ken B.  (and oddly, in the case of La Mer, you inspired me to appreciate it all the more!).  ;)

Offline Scion7

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #63 on: August 03, 2014, 12:14:02 PM »
I didn't know about any of this controversy, either - must not have read any recent CD notes that closely. Duh! Not that I had that much interest in them - Ives to me is just a good musician of passing interest. He gets a spin perhaps once a year.
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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #64 on: August 03, 2014, 12:37:50 PM »
I'm feelin' the love.
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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #65 on: August 03, 2014, 12:39:14 PM »
I just finished the whole thread. I might be the only member of GMG to feel this way, but I kinda like Josquin des Prez (the GMG one.)

From his input to this thread alone, one could pardon that eccentricity 8)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #66 on: August 03, 2014, 03:08:06 PM »
I have never completely trusted Elliott Carter's statement about "jacking up the dissonances."

From Two Published Editions of Ives's Concord Sonata (sic) by Geoffrey Block in a book called Ives Studies edited by Philip Lambert: p. 30.

Quote
This essay will demonstrate that the orchestral nature of the revised "Emerson" in the Concord Sonata does not as a rule signify the creation of new dissonances (pace Carter) but instead marks a return to the earlier dissonances of the Emerson Overture and the autograph ink score of the sonata, both of which preceded the first edition.

(My emphasis in red.)

Pace Carter indeed!  But let's say that Ives for whatever reason was revising this or any of his scores with "more dissonances." 

So what?  Composers have rethunk their scores quite often!  If a score gets radicalized or turned into a Fux exercise in a revision, so what?  It's the composer's score!  It does not belong to history, the avant-garde, or anyone else.

Listen and judge based on the music: if you like it or dislike it, explain why from the score, not from what somebody says 40 years later about what happened in a parlor at a desk.
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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #67 on: August 03, 2014, 03:24:01 PM »
Good points.

I have never completely trusted Elliott Carter's statement about "jacking up the dissonances."

Aye... Carter is an interested party, in a conversation where disinterest is golden.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #68 on: August 03, 2014, 04:24:21 PM »
I just finished the whole thread. I might be the only member of GMG to feel this way, but I kinda like Josquin des Prez (the GMG one.)
Not the only. Me too. It's a shame he isn't posting anymore, though some were rather unpleasant.

The whole "genius" thing is interesting, though utterly useless. He said that Shostakovich was the closest on someone's list (on page 2, I think). I would think the opposite, actually (not that I mean any disrespect to Shostakovich). I suppose the bigger difference between us is that I don't think my list means anything (or should) to anyone else.
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Ken B

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #69 on: August 03, 2014, 04:41:17 PM »
Not the only. Me too. It's a shame he isn't posting anymore, though some were rather unpleasant.

The whole "genius" thing is interesting, though utterly useless. He said that Shostakovich was the closest on someone's list (on page 2, I think). I would think the opposite, actually (not that I mean any disrespect to Shostakovich). I suppose the bigger difference between us is that I don't think my list means anything (or should) to anyone else.
I will enigmatically remark that one of the things I like about Ligeti, from your sig line,  is that he wasn't a nihilist. I gather you approve of his words too, but I suspect we are seeing different virtues here!

Offline Jo498

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #70 on: August 04, 2014, 12:17:05 AM »
Inspired by my sig are we Z7?  :)

Ives gets hyped because he's an American who did much of what avant garde did before they did it. For those who value that sort of thing above musical substance, that matters. So Stamitz, inventor of the Mannheim Rocket, towers over Bach and Haydn. This was the dominant opinion of music intellectuals in the middle of the last century, and remains a common attitude amongst them now.
Do you have any source for that? I very much doubt that this was ever a majority position. In any case there are quite a few influential "music intellectuals" who entirely disagree. For instance, Adorno and Rosen, who would agree on very few other things I suppose, would clearly regard Haydn or Mozart as towering above Joh. Stamitz.
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Ken B

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #71 on: August 04, 2014, 05:44:37 AM »
Do you have any source for that? I very much doubt that this was ever a majority position. In any case there are quite a few influential "music intellectuals" who entirely disagree. For instance, Adorno and Rosen, who would agree on very few other things I suppose, would clearly regard Haydn or Mozart as towering above Joh. Stamitz.
I was being sardonic. If you accept that innovation is the real source of musical value then you are led to that conclusion, which is a silly one.

Offline not edward

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #72 on: August 04, 2014, 08:42:56 AM »
I think in re: Carter's view of Ives, it's very difficult to know exactly how to regard his published utterances.

Clearly he had a very ambivalent relationship with Ives' music, but Carter's late period suggests some kind of reconciliation (for example the second Figment, "Remembering Mr. Ives", or the post-Unanswered Question trumpet writing in Adagio tenebroso.

There's a curious parallel here with John Adams' view of Carter's music. Once openly contemptuous of it (perhaps protesting too much?), more recently he's conducted Carter's Variations for Orchestra alongside his own works.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #73 on: August 04, 2014, 10:17:14 AM »
Karl, I think we are agreeing. As I said, I came to the conclusion in my sig line long before I knew he was possibly a fake, and before indeed 1987. I listened to him again recently as part of revisting some pre-minimalist American composers, many of whom are very fine (Piston, Thomson, Mennin, Rochberg, Diamond seem to be the standouts).

I can vouch for at least Piston and Rochberg from that list. But I've been personally "re-considering" Ives in the last year or so, and have concluded that, if he isn't the greatest American composer, then he's still pretty close to that distinction. We need more Ives performances, not fewer! (and more of those other guys too)
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Offline Cato

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #74 on: August 04, 2014, 01:51:57 PM »
I can vouch for at least Piston and Rochberg from that list. But I've been personally "re-considering" Ives in the last year or so, and have concluded that, if he isn't the greatest American composer, then he's still pretty close to that distinction. We need more Ives performances, not fewer! (and more of those other guys too)

Amen!  And for those who might not know about the following:

Quote
There is a great Man living in this country — a composer. He has solved the problem how to preserve one's self and to learn. He responds to negligence by contempt. He is not forced to accept praise or blame. His name is Ives.

- Arnold Schoenberg, from notes he wrote c. 1944.
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Ken B

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #75 on: August 04, 2014, 05:56:05 PM »
Amen!  And for those who might not know about the following:

- Arnold Schoenberg, from notes he wrote c. 1944.
Schoenberg's words were written under the impression the tales of Ives are true. They seem not to be. But as you say, that reflects only on the man's character, not his music. About which we must differ!  8)

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #76 on: August 05, 2014, 05:44:12 AM »
I disagree. I think that Schoenberg's words reflect approval of Ives doing his work regardless of questions of what the public wants, and notwithstanding lack of the positive reinforcement of frequent performance. For Schoenberg, it was always about the music; he did not seek or applaud innovation for its own sake.
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Ken B

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #77 on: August 05, 2014, 06:22:57 AM »
I disagree. I think that Schoenberg's words reflect approval of Ives doing his work regardless of questions of what the public wants, and notwithstanding lack of the positive reinforcement of frequent performance. For Schoenberg, it was always about the music; he did not seek or applaud innovation for its own sake.
This assessment "He has solved the problem how to preserve one's self and to learn. He responds to negligence by contempt. He is not forced to accept praise or blame" depends critically upon whether Ives innovated and was ignored or was ignored and then "innovated" by back dating.

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #78 on: August 05, 2014, 07:20:49 AM »
If that be so, I'm not seeing it.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Ken B

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Re: "Charles Ives Reconsidered": A book review
« Reply #79 on: August 05, 2014, 07:37:24 AM »
If that be so, I'm not seeing it.
Case 1. Ives writes innovative music, is ignored, but persists.
Case 2. Ives writes fairly conventional music with a few oddities, is ignored, fakes changes retroactively to anticipate the innovations of others and claim them for himself.

There is a great woman living in this country — a pianist. She has solved the problem how to preserve one's self and to learn. She responds to negligence by contempt. She is not forced to accept praise or blame. Her name is Hatto.