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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Thom on April 18, 2007, 09:22:51 AM

Title: Charles Ives
Post by: Thom on April 18, 2007, 09:22:51 AM
I think Charles Ives really deserves a thread of his own.

Nowadays he is considered to be one of the most prominent American composers but in his days he even couldn't get his music played. It didn't bother him much, so it seems. He set up a succesful insurance business so he appears to have been a composer only in his spare time (he once said about his musical career: I didn't want to starve my children on my dissonances).

I think his music is great. Maybe not always nice or good sounding in the traditional sense but surely always surprising and - I think - with a lot of humour in it.

X
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 09:24:20 AM
Simply The Bomb:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00004SDRG.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Thom on April 18, 2007, 09:26:21 AM
Simply The Bomb:


Could you elaborate on that please?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 09:27:59 AM
The songs are beautiful, and the instrumental adaptations for the various "Sets" are creative and specific.  And, the whole disc is beautifully performed.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Maciek on April 18, 2007, 09:29:01 AM
Simply The Bomb:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00004SDRG.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

Strangely enough, my "local" internet shop has it, so I've added it to my wish list. Now all I need to do is rob a bank...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Charles on April 18, 2007, 09:29:59 AM
Simply The Bomb:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00004SDRG.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

Yo! Karl, I know not my usual greeting .. but gotta get the mojo flowing. (what am I talking about?!!  :P ;D)

Anyway, Ives is favorite composer of mine. I encourage all who have an adventurous ear to check out his music. I will state emphatically that I love the 4th Symphony. The 2nd is very nice in a strange collage sort of way and the 3rd is charming.

To me, Charles Ives' stance on music and his individuality are extremely attractive. The music never fails to surprise, never boring. I do believe fans of Mahler may enjoy a lot of his work.

Charles (not Ives)  :P

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Maciek on April 18, 2007, 09:31:41 AM
Charles (not Ives)  :P

Whew, glad we cleared that up. Was in shock when I saw "last post in Ives thread - by... Charles" :o ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 09:32:43 AM
Benvenuto, Carlo! Finalmente, sei arrivato!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on April 18, 2007, 09:47:44 AM
For many years Ives was my favorite composer.  (Now I don't feel the need to have "one favorite" and really couldn't choose... ;D)

But I love his large orchestral works -- Three Places in New England and the Holidays are favorites -- and his smaller things are often divine.  The songs, in particular, are among the best vocal writing by anyone. 

Favorite recent live performances: James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Three Places, which was just spectacular, and Alan Gilbert in the Symphony No. 4 with the New York Philharmonic, which was the first time I began thinking Gilbert might be the right conductor to follow Maazel.  And then just a few weeks ago, Gerald Finley did a few of the songs, with the same pianist on his all-Ives recording, Julius Drake.  They were sensational.

--Bruce 
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on April 18, 2007, 09:52:20 AM
Simply The Bomb:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B00004SDRG.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

And I really, really need to get this, especially since I'm a huge fan of Susan Narucki, whom I just heard several times last weekend. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on April 18, 2007, 09:55:28 AM
It would have to be in the style of Hopper (http://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/sub.asp?key=15&subkey=2144), you know
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Charles on April 18, 2007, 10:16:58 AM
Whew, glad we cleared that up. Was in shock when I saw "last post in Ives thread - by... Charles" :o ;D

 ;D

Charles (ahemmm ....)  :-X  ........      ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Charles on April 18, 2007, 10:22:08 AM
For many years Ives was my favorite composer.  (Now I don't feel the need to have "one favorite" and really couldn't choose... ;D)

But I love his large orchestral works -- Three Places in New England and the Holidays are favorites -- and his smaller things are often divine.  The songs, in particular, are among the best vocal writing by anyone. 

Favorite recent live performances: James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Three Places, which was just spectacular, and Alan Gilbert in the Symphony No. 4 with the New York Philharmonic, which was the first time I began thinking Gilbert might be the right conductor to follow Maazel.  And then just a few weeks ago, Gerald Finley did a few of the songs, with the same pianist on his all-Ives recording, Julius Drake.  They were sensational.

--Bruce 

Love the Three Places .... I have too many versions of it already. I think the Tilson Thomas one is quite good.

OTTOMH I have a Dohnanyi disc on Decca which is wonderful and it has another set of orchestral pieces that are somewhat similar to the Three Places if I'm not mistaken. It's a really great recording.

Charles
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on April 18, 2007, 10:26:52 AM
Love the Three Places .... I have too many versions of it already. I think the Tilson Thomas one is quite good.

OTTOMH I have a Dohnanyi disc on Decca which is wonderful and it has another set of orchestral pieces that are somewhat similar to the Three Places if I'm not mistaken. It's a really great recording.

Charles

This is the one, yes?

(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000042D4.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on April 18, 2007, 10:47:28 AM
If I could paint,
it would be a painting of Ives in his kitchen
listening to the premiere of his Third Symphony
on his maid's radio

Egbdf


I believe that was the premiere of the Second Symphony, wkth Bernstein condcting the NYPO.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Robert on April 18, 2007, 10:57:31 AM
I don't know this one. Have lots of old ones, and still am fond of the old Howard Hanson, 3 places, but I'd like to hear a new Sun Treader or Orch Set # 2, which is also one of my favorite pieces. "From Hanover Sq North at the end of a tragic day the voice of the people again arose" can reliably bring me to tears.

egbdf

I prefer this version of Ruggles to MTT.  Its quicker and better balanced  This is my benchmark......
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Charles on April 18, 2007, 11:21:09 AM
This is the one, yes?

(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B0000042D4.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

--Bruce

Yes!  that's the one ... incidentally I own another Decca CD with Dohnanyi ... this has Ives 4th Symphony and Varese ... it's coming back to me.

Charles

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 17, 2007, 07:11:04 PM
On the Copland thread, I expressed a wish that Michael Tilson Thomas would bring his considerable charm and knowledgeability to bear in a discussion of Charles Ives on PBS, as he did with Copland and stravinsky. Apparently, something of the sort is in the works. From the Waterbury, CT, Town Times:


Danbury Music Center Looking For Area Residents to Appear in Documentary   

DANBURY - Area residents are invited to appear in a documentary on the late Danbury composer Charles Ives with the San Francisco Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.

The Danbury Music Centre is coordinating the Danbury portion of the filming of the documentary. InCA Productions will film Sunday and Monday, May 27 and 28.

The documentary, "Charles Ives and His Holidays Symphony," is slated for release in the autumn of 2009. The documentary will be shown on PBS and aired internationally.

InCA Productions will film a re-creation of the famous George Ives experiment of two marching bands crossing each other while playing two different marches in different meters and keys.

The Danbury Brass Band, under the direction of Alan Raph, and the Danbury High School Marching Band, under the direction of Nick Albano, will make up the core to the two bands.

Additional adult brass players and percussionists are invited to join the Danbury Brass Band for this event. The filming will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 27, at Putnam Park in Bethel.

Monday, May 28, Memorial Day, the New Fairfield Marching Band, under the direction of Scott King, will be filmed at Wooster Cemetery in Danbury playing music later used in Charles Ives' Holidays Symphony.

Filming begins at 6:45 a.m. Extras, both adults and children, are invited to watch the band and may even appear in the documentary. "Charles Ives and his Holidays Symphony" is the fifth in a series of documentaries by InCA Productions.

Those seeking additional information may call Nancy Sudik, executive director of the Danbury Music Centre, 203-748-1716, or e-mail dmc1935@snet. net.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 28, 2007, 02:59:21 PM
Tought you guys would be interested in how MTT's documentary is coming along:

Capturing Ives' vibes
PBS documentary on Danbury composer employs Danbury, New Fairfield bands


By John Pirro
THE NEWS-TIMES
 
BETHEL -- The Danbury Brass Band stood at the top of the hill, prepared to march toward the camera and play "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean." A few hundred yards away, the Danbury High School Marching Band stood ready to perform "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Silence fell over the crowd as director Emma Cott of InCA Productions raised the loudspeaker to her lips to start the camera rolling.

Suddenly, from the nearby woods, a baby began crying. Not missing a beat, sound man Dan Gleisch deadpanned, "Wild babies were common in Ives' time," and spectators erupted in laughter.

It may be true that none of Charles Ives' musical compositions included a squalling infant as part of the score. Neither did the Danbury-born composer's creations incorporate the sound of aircraft flying overhead, although it's a fair bet that had jets existed when Ives was writing, he would have found a way to use them.

When television viewers tune in to the Public Broadcasting System's documentary on Ives scheduled to be aired in late 2009, neither babies' cries nor jet engines will be part of the soundtrack. But they were two of the distractions the film crew had to overcome when they turned part of Putnam Park into an outdoor recording studio Sunday afternoon.

What viewers will hear, and see are the two musical groups converging on each other while simultaneously paying two different patriotic marches in different keys and different tempos.

"Ives had this thing about two different bands," said tuba player Tom Griffin of East Haven, one of several musicians from around the state recruited to join the Danbury Brass Band for the session. "It's going to be quite unique because it's only going to be a minor second apart."

The sounds of two bands playing was one of the earliest musical influences imparted to Ives by his father, George, a former Civil War military band leader and a leading musician of his time.

Part of the documentary being filmed on Sunday dealt with Ives' early life. Danbury's Wooster Cemetery will be the set for an early film session today, when the New Fairfield High School Marching Band will play.

Trying to play one's own instrument while being serenaded by another band playing something else was a trick few of the musicians had previously encountered.

"It was hard to hear the drum line," said Danbury High trumpeter Mike Bovin. "Once you lose the drum line, the music just falls apart."

A crowd of about 50 people watched the filming. Some, like Wanda Bropleh, whose son, Nahba, a Newtown High School trumpeter playing with the Brass Band, came because they knew someone who was performing.

Others, like David Close of Wilton and his wife, Ann, of Wilton, just happened upon it.

"We came out with our granddaughter to see the museum. We didn't even know this was happening," Close said.

High school band director Nick Albano said his students probably wouldn't fully appreciate the experience until they see themselves on TV.

"Right now, standing around in full uniform for hours, I don't think they're feeling the excitement," Albano said.
 
 

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: PetroHead on May 31, 2007, 08:22:25 PM
Ives was great.

The second movement of his Fourth Symphony and the Fourth of July Symphony hold a very special significance for me. The former along with Penderecki's Threnody are the defining moments of my modern classical listening history.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on November 30, 2007, 06:37:18 AM
In one of those wonderful mash-ups which the ad-bots sometimes cook up for us, I was delighted to see the caption See Ives in a New Light improbably gracing Lempicka's Lady in Green  8)

Edit :: typos
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on December 01, 2007, 08:57:35 AM
In one of those wonderful mash-ups which the ad-bots sometimes cook up for us, I was delighted to see the caption See Ives in a New Light improbably gracing Lempicka's Lady in Green  8)

Edit :: typos

I have no idea what this means.  ???
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 19, 2008, 06:39:37 PM
Recording of a reconstruction of the third orchestral set along with new versions of the other sets to be released on Naxos in Spring:

http://www.naxos.com/news/default.asp?pn=News&displayMenu=Naxos_News&op=223

Not sure I agree that there has never been a great recording of the second orchestral set - Tilson-Thomas is pretty special.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on January 19, 2008, 07:13:51 PM
Not sure I agree that there has never been a great recording of the second orchestral set - Tilson-Thomas is pretty special.

So is Stokowski's. It was the performance that made me fall in love with the piece.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: andy on January 19, 2008, 08:21:07 PM
Anyone have recommendations for recordings of Ive's Concord Sonata?

I have Aimard's very and think it's great of course, but I have nothing to compare it to!

For anyone who's a fan of Ives, I suggest giving the Concord Sonata a listen if you haven't heard it. I personally feel it's one of the best solo piano works of the 20th century, up there with Ligeti's Etudes and Messiaen's Vingt Regards.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 20, 2008, 06:44:02 AM
Could anyone call themselves an Ives fan if they hadn't heard it?! :)

There are lots of very good recordings of this piece, and while I think owning multiple versions of many pieces of music is a waste of time (even sometimes very good pieces), this is surely one where it makes sense to hear many versions as every player will have to make it very much their own. There is a superb discussion of different versions here, and I tend to agree with the author's conlusions:

http://www.musicweb.uk.net/Ives/RR_Piano_Sonata_2.htm

It also has great discussions of the best versions of virtually all of Ives works.

http://www.musicweb.uk.net/Ives/03_Recordings_Main_Menu.htm
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: andy on January 20, 2008, 07:31:13 AM
Could anyone call themselves an Ives fan if they hadn't heard it?! :)

There are lots of very good recordings of this piece, and while I think owning multiple versions of many pieces of music is a waste of time (even sometimes very good pieces), this is surely one where it makes sense to hear many versions as every player will have to make it very much their own. There is a superb discussion of different versions here, and I tend to agree with the author's conlusions:

http://www.musicweb.uk.net/Ives/RR_Piano_Sonata_2.htm

It also has great discussions of the best versions of virtually all of Ives works.

http://www.musicweb.uk.net/Ives/03_Recordings_Main_Menu.htm

Great links! Thank you Guido.

And I agree with the multiple versions of the same piece. I am ordinarily against it since I would rather hear a new piece rather than a slightly different interpretation, but I feel the Concord Sonata deserves at least one more recording in my collection. And true, you can't really be an Ives fan if you haven't heard the Concord ;)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 20, 2008, 09:22:11 AM
Glad that someone agrees with me on this in this forum - I'll never understand the need to have 60 versions of Brahm violin concerto...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on January 20, 2008, 09:41:01 AM
Glad that someone agrees with me on this in this forum - I'll never understand the need to have 60 versions of Brahm violin concerto...

Humph!  >:( You make a valid point. Still, I am looking forward to the release of Sinclair's "Three Places," which will be, I guess, my fifth or sixth version of the piece. And I do have all nine recordings of Carter's Night Fantasies.

As for the Concord: My first and favorite version --- by John Kirkpatrick, recorded for Columbia --- has not been released on CD. I have several other recordings, and they're all good. I can't recommend one over another. Hamelin's is great. So is Aimard's. And Mandell's. And Kalish's. And Nina Desutsch's. And Stephen Mayers'. And Herbert Henck's. And ... arrggh! I have got to get a life.  :-\
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: paulb on January 20, 2008, 10:33:58 AM
Glad that someone agrees with me on this in this forum - I'll never understand the need to have 60 versions of Brahm violin concerto...

the only Brahms vc i would consider listening to is one of the 3 or 4 from Oistrakh, he really loved the Brahms vc.
I listened to the Ives Holiday's Sym, Dohnanyi/Cleveland and Thomas/Boston. I found the Dohnanyi preferable. I got the Dohnanyi for the Ives pieces, but the surprise was the Ruggles, Men and Mountains.

I'll look to see if i have the concord sonata, don't think i do. I;'d like to hear the Ives works in concert to be drawn more deeply into the music. I think ves is one of those composers severly limited by the cd, the concert hall giving complete ambience to his spacious textures.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 20, 2008, 11:46:08 AM
Actually seeing the Fourth Symphony live for me was a big let down, probably because of the awful accoustics of the Albert Hall.

Joe - I'm not saying that it is pointless for all pieces, and I am guilty of the same thing with a two pieces myself (eg.Barber cello concerto - 12, Three places in New England - 7, some of them bought as part of other sets and therefor not always intentional. Oh and I must have countless Dvorak concertos that I havent heard as part of cello boxed sets.)... but this fetishisation of having multiple recordings of the same piece is something that I think gets completely out of hand.

The new recording of the Three Places is a new version actually, that hasn't been recorded before - It's the first version that was played - the 'nice version' where Ives removed much of the complexity and dissonance, to try and gain a bit more acceptance for such radical music. I am also greatly looking forward to this release! Apparently there is a never heard before Overture in G (by Ives) that Sinclair recently recorded too, but I am not sure whether it will be on this CD or on another one.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 22, 2008, 02:54:19 PM
Sinclair says the Overture in G minor will be on a CD released in early 2009 along with the remaining movements of the holiday symphony that Naxos haven't released yet, as well as two other miniatures.

Apparently he will be recording the Porter completion of the Universe Symphony in  2010. Porter's is the only one which does no additional composition of his own - so the piece as a whole is not complete, but the sections that he sketched out and made sufficiently precise indications as to what he intended, are all there. A facsimile and transcription of the original Universe materials will eventually be published, though the time scale for such an endeavour is not yet known.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 22, 2008, 06:34:33 PM
Oh and why, oh why, will they not release Kirkpatrick's recording of the Concord Sonata on CD??!! To not have the last centuries most important Ives' scholar's own recording out seems ludicrous especially when its such a good recording. Mental. I sometimes despair at record companies decisions.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: andy on January 23, 2008, 08:58:13 AM
Oh and why, oh why, will they not release Kirkpatrick's recording of the Concord Sonata on CD??!! To not have the last centuries most important Ives' scholar's own recording out seems ludicrous especially when its such a good recording. Mental. I sometimes despair at record companies decisions.

It does seem like it wouldn't cost much on their part, maybe just a bit for the analog to digital conversion. And if they don't want to press the cds, they could sell it as mp3s with near-zero distribution costs. Seems silly that record companies don't...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: MishaK on January 23, 2008, 02:29:04 PM
For those in or near Chicago, Tilson Thomas will be doing New England Holidays with the CSO, May 29, 30, 31.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 02, 2008, 08:09:34 AM
Irritatingly, the new Naxos recording is not scheduled for release in March, so I guess it will be April now...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: The new erato on February 03, 2008, 01:41:58 AM
I sometimes despair at record companies decisions.
Decisions? They throw dices when they decide on their reissues. I thought that was well known. How long have you ben buying classical records?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Earthlight on February 03, 2008, 05:32:28 PM
There is a superb discussion of different versions here, and I tend to agree with the author's conlusions:

http://www.musicweb.uk.net/Ives/RR_Piano_Sonata_2.htm

That was an interesting article. I haven't heard all the versions, but I would rate Kalish and Mandel higher than he did. Kalish brings a special warmth and a type of intimacy that helped sell me on the Concord years ago, and that recording has held up for me ever since. Kalish is also the one that never seems to go out of print; it's a short CD, with no pairing, but it's midpriced and the sound is just fine.

Mandel isn't as warm, but through repeated listenings I've heard a lot of subtleties and gotten more of a sense of many of the myriad things Ives was throwing at us, so I can't agree that Mandel lacks insight. I wouldn't want to be without it, and I agree with the MusicWeb reviewer that the rest of it -- three well-packed CDs worth -- is just great. It's OOP and available only as a download on eMusic, but the sound quality was kind of cold and plinky to begin with, so the conversion to .mp3 shouldn't hurt much.

Gottlieb and Lubimov are both well worth hearing.

I really didn't relate that well to Coleman's approach (though I've only played that one 3 or 4 times and it deserves another few) or Trythall, who I find to be hesitant and unpoetic here (though I've liked him in other repertoire, including his own compositions). Easley Blackwood is a virtuoso and the Centaur recording is sonically luxurious, but I still don't like it. He missed the humor, or the soul, or something.

There's a recording by Manfred Reinelt that's been on BRO for about a million years. Mono, scratchy in places, and an erratic performance in patches (the 4th movement wanders all over the place without getting there), but highly recommended anyway for the most hallucinatory, edge-of-sanity 2nd movement I've ever heard.

I don't need 60 versions of anything else  :); the Concord Sonata is really the only piece of music that compels me to collect as many versions as I can get my grubby paws on.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on February 03, 2008, 06:20:40 PM
MY God --- I know only a few of the performances reviewed on that site.   :-[
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: not edward on February 03, 2008, 06:44:29 PM
And I'm a complete newbie by comparison: I have Mandel, Lubimov and Aimard--no-one else.

Which reminds me, I should revisit this sonata: haven't done so for a while.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 03, 2008, 07:05:55 PM
I just ordered both of Hamelin's versions(!) - they both got the absolute highest reviews from Ives scholars and general reviewers too, and also I want to hear Hamelin's account of both couplings.

Joe - this isn't a case for ":-[", this is a case for ":D" - it just means that you now get to hear a whole host of new interpretations of this masterpiece that you didn't even know existed! ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on February 03, 2008, 08:02:24 PM
I just ordered both of Hamelin's versions(!) - they both got the absolute highest reviews from Ives scholars and general reviewers too, and also I want to hear Hamelin's account of both couplings.

Joe - this isn't a case for ":-[", this is a case for ":D" - it just means that you now get to hear a whole host of new interpretations of this masterpiece that you didn't even know existed! ;D

No, it's a case for " :-[." I am one of the greatest Ives fans on this board. I have at least six recordings of the Concord, and they all fall under "other" in a best-of list. And I've liked them all---so, apparently, I don't know what makes the best piece of my favorite composer sound good. This is a BIG  :-[.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 04, 2008, 07:02:50 AM
Well it's only this guy's opinion too!

Quote
I am one of the greatest Ives fans on this board

Don't say that! Someone will make a list and turn it into a competition. ::)  ;D Nice to know that people share my conviction for this astonishing man's work.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: not edward on February 04, 2008, 08:46:47 AM
Any top recommendations for Ives' songs? I've got two CDs with about half a disc full of them (Bernas' When the Moon: two thumbs way up; Susan Graham and Aimard's Concord coupling: less convinced).

I assume the de Gaetani/Kalish is a no-brainer--how is the ongoing Finlay/Drake series on Hyperion?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on February 04, 2008, 09:20:51 AM
FWIW I agree entirley with those who have proposed that the Concord Sonata is one piece where multiple recordings is almost a must. I'm not in general a multiple recordings guy, so for me the number of Concords I have is unusual, though nothing compared to many of you guys - in my case, Aimard, Mayer, Mendel, Lubimov and Lumsden (the latter, on LP, very obscure but rather good, I think). Again FWIW, I like Lubimov particularly, but they all have their own peculiarities, which is rather the point. Needless to say, I think this piece is an absolutely essential work, my favourite Ives piece and one of my favourite pieces of music in general.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on February 04, 2008, 09:30:47 AM
Any top recommendations for Ives' songs? I've got two CDs with about half a disc full of them (Bernas' When the Moon: two thumbs way up; Susan Graham and Aimard's Concord coupling: less convinced).

I assume the de Gaetani/Kalish is a no-brainer--how is the ongoing Finlay/Drake series on Hyperion?

The first one, A Song – For Anything, is not only one of my favorite Ives recordings but one of my favorite recital CDs, period.  Gerald Finley is really winning in many of these, and Julius Drake is every bit his match.  I see the second volume will be out very soon, and I'm hoping it will be similar.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on February 04, 2008, 10:00:25 AM
I own the complete, four-volume set of Ives' songs on the Albany label, (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/104-6849697-4913553?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=complete+songs+of+Charles+Ives) and I recommend it. The third and fourth volumes, which include the later, mature songs, are particularly fine. Instead of one singer, there are four — soprano Dana Ohrenstein, tenor Paul Sperry, contralto Mary Ann Hart, baritone William Sharp — each with his or her own accompanist, who sing different numbers. Having four voices prevents the tedium of sameness from setting in and allows some surpising choices. Something you'd expect to be sung by a soprano is done by a baritone, for example, and vice versa, but it all works. And the singers are obviously devoted to the repertoire. I prefer the set to deGaetani's recording.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on February 04, 2008, 10:04:42 AM
Yes, I have some of this set, and I second it too - very fine indeed, and as Joe says, with the multiple singers/pianists bringing all sorts of benefits.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 04, 2008, 03:50:43 PM
Another vote for this set - great stuff.

Though I wholeheartedly recommend the Albany set, for me Gaetani/Kalish are absolutely supreme in their recording - Everything is perfect, and it has not quite been matched by anyone since it's release. It's mostly the more overtly beautiful/sentimental songs, rather than the experimental ones, but as I say it's perfection.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on February 05, 2008, 10:26:30 AM
Another vote for this set - great stuff.

Though I wholeheartedly recommend the Albany set, for me Gaetani/Kalish are absolutely supreme in their recording - Everything is perfect, and it has not quite been matched by anyone since it's release. It's mostly the more overtly beautiful/sentimental songs, rather than the experimental ones, but as I say it's perfection.

Andrew Porter used to criticize DeGaetani for her lack of diction, though, and I can see what he means.

As for the Concord: I started looking for some of the recordings mentioned on the Web page, and it's no wonder I don't already have them. Most of them are out of print. Guess I'll have to stick with Kirkpatrick, Hamelin, and Kalish.

And Aimard.

And Deutsch.

And Henck.

And Mayer.

And Mandel.

 0:)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 05, 2008, 12:37:34 PM
I really want to hear Joanna MacGreggor's account of the first sonata which I think is another one of the great American piano Sonatas (Along with Carter's, Barber's and Copland's), and would be more recognised were it not for the even greater second.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 06, 2008, 05:45:25 PM
Quote
The songs: I know them all fairly wel, and like a lot of individual performances, but I have never been wholly convinced by any particular collection. There are always a few songs on each that work well, but so many are undermined by the "proper vocal production" that comes with the kind of training necessary to negotiate the notes. I wish there were a singer X, where X to Ives as Lotte Lenya is to Kurt Weill (X≠Cleo Laine)'

Agreed!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on February 07, 2008, 11:33:05 AM
I wish there were a singer X, where X to Ives as Lotte Lenya is to Kurt Weill (X≠Cleo Laine)'

That was probabky Mary Bell, who unfirutnately has not oeft any recordings. I'd  say Susan Narucki has come close. Adrienne Albert's performances are magic, though she recorded only a few of the songs, and they have not been rereleased on CD. Thank you, Sony.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 07, 2008, 07:14:48 PM
I seem to remember some quote from Ruggles to the effect that even if Ives had just composed one song - General William Booth Enters into Heaven - he would have been a great composer. Having just listened to it, and then immeditely twice more, I tend to agree. ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on March 18, 2008, 09:09:37 AM
The first one, A Song – For Anything, is not only one of my favorite Ives recordings but one of my favorite recital CDs, period.  Gerald Finley is really winning in many of these, and Julius Drake is every bit his match.  I see the second volume will be out very soon, and I'm hoping it will be similar.

--Bruce

On Bruce's suggestion, I purchased this CD from Amazon. It is everything he says it is. Finley has a warm voice and precise diction, and Drake's accompaniment is more forward and, well, louder, than  than I am used to. The effect of the piano playing is sculptural. Tempos are more moderate than in other recordings, which works well. As I said to Bruce privately, in the Housatonic at Stockbridge, the music seems to strain against the leash the performers place on it, and the climax, when it arrives, is more powerful for it.

I have also picked up the second volume, Romanzo di Central Park, and though I've listened only to selections, I can say it adheres to the standard of the first set. These two CDs seem heavy on the very early songs, though some of the late masterpieces, like the Last Reader and Ann Street, are here as well. Some of my favorites, like Walt Whitman and From Paracelsus, are missing, though, and I'm hoping Finley and Drake go on to record the entire catalog.  I like that they are not presenting the songs in chronological order. It makes for some interesting juxtapositions and allows one to understand the continuity in Ives' work. It's like a real recital, rather than a collection.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on March 18, 2008, 10:43:52 AM
So happy you like it, Joe, and I can't wait to hear Vol. II, which I haven't gotten around to buying yet.  Finley has one of the most sheerly beautiful timbres I've encountered in awhile, and when coupled with his imagination and expressive skills, he gets great results.  And of course now that Stuart Drake is on my radar, I notice that he plays with all sorts of excellent singers--no surprise.

Wonder if they're planning to do any Carter!  :D

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on March 18, 2008, 11:03:42 AM
Wonder if they're planning to do any Carter!  :D

--Bruce

I don't know that Carter has written any songs for baritone and piano, though the three early Frost songs might be transposable. The closest Finley could get, I think, is Syringa.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on April 22, 2008, 06:52:42 PM
The three Orchestral sets are set for release in May! Sinclair assured me that Ives fans are in for a treat with the new 3rd set, even if isn't quite echt Ives. He also was sceptical about the quality of all available versions of the second set so hopes to rectify that situation with this recording. The first set is Ives' first version, which has never before been recorded. Apparently he has also recorded another CD for Naxos with one or two other never before heard Ives goodies.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: MDL on April 23, 2008, 12:42:26 AM
I've got the Ozawa/BSO and Dohnanyi/CO recordings of the 4th Symphony and although I like them both, especially the Dohnanyi, I sometimes wonder if I should also invest in Tilson Thomas's CSO recording, which seems to be the most highly rated. Am I missing anything?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on April 23, 2008, 04:49:57 AM
In my opinion, MTT is the best version of the 4th available on CD, though, as with any masterpiece of this stature, no one recording or performance holds all its secrets. Overall though, I think MTT best captures the feeling of the Symphony - the questioning first movement, choatic and dazzling second, noble and beautiful third, and visonary fourth movement. He really is the Ives man as far as I am concerned, especially in the later orchestral works. I'm sure others will have opinions on this too.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on April 23, 2008, 08:01:24 AM
In my opinion, MTT is the best version of the 4th available on CD, though, as with any masterpiece of this stature, no one recording or performance holds all its secrets. Overall though, I think MTT best captures the feeling of the Symphony - the questioning first movement, chaotic and dazzling second, noble and beautiful third, and visionary fourth movement. He really is the Ives man as far as I am concerned, especially in the later orchestral works. I'm sure others will have opinions on this too.

What he said. The Serebrier and Stokowski recordings are also very good. The Serbrier was my favorite for a long while, and I still like it for the engineering and balance of the orchestra, if balance has any meaning when it comes to Ives.

Nevertheless, I still wish Levine would record Three Places with the BSO, or even the Juilliard Orchestra. His reading really is very beautiful, especially in the St. Gauden's  movement.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on April 23, 2008, 08:09:03 AM
And a third hearty "yes" for the MTT recording of the Fourth, and part of it is the fantastic playing from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  (Although I like the other recordings mentioned, too.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: MDL on April 23, 2008, 08:13:55 AM
The 3CD MTT Ives cycle often turns up for about £8 in the HMV sale. Maybe I'll grab it next time I see it.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on April 23, 2008, 08:24:14 AM
That seems like a really great price--definitely consider it.  And if that set includes the Holidays, MTT's reading of those is one of my top 3 or 4 Ives recordings.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: MDL on April 23, 2008, 12:20:47 PM
That seems like a really great price--definitely consider it.  And if that set includes the Holidays, MTT's reading of those is one of my top 3 or 4 Ives recordings.

--Bruce

That's the one MTT Ives recording I already own. I don't play it as often as the 4th, though. I must dig it out and give it another whirl. That's the one with two versions of Unanswered Question, isn't it?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on April 23, 2008, 12:45:59 PM
That's right!

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on April 23, 2008, 02:00:34 PM
What he said. The Serebrier and Stokowski recordings are also very good. The Serbrier was my favorite for a long while, and I still like it for the engineering and balance of the orchestra, if balance has any meaning when it comes to Ives.

I didn't even know about the Serbrier recording... will have to search for that one.

Also I just learned about the John Adams / Ensemble Modern Orchestra & Collegium Vocale Gent recording, which has been recommended to me as another extraordinary recording of this extraordinary piece and I see that Scott Mortensen (who's heard everything!) agrees.
http://www.musicweb.uk.net/Ives/RR_Sym_4.htm
As he says though that version is pretty pricey for what it is, but I might end up getting it.

The earlier version of the Unanswered Question makes for fascinating listening, and I think Ives revisions were all good - amazing, for instance, what changing the last note of the trumpet motive each time can do for the whole composition. My favourite version of the Unanswered Question has always been Bernstein's DG recording (coupled with the Second Symphony, and all those other wonderful orchestral miniatures). Recently I have also very much enjoyed MTT's recording on RCA (actually that whole CD is great, rising far above the 'Ives taster' CD that it might be bought as).
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: MDL on April 24, 2008, 12:56:52 AM
Has anyone got an opinion on the various realisations of the Universe Symphony? I've got the Centaur recording which unfortunately lurks in the dusty cobweb-strewn corner of my collection that is the CDs-I've-only-ever-played-once section. It's yet another in the lo-o-ong list of CDs that I need to have another go at.  I just remember it being a grey, amorphous, uneventful and overlong trudge. If you think it's a masterpiece, then please tell me I'm wrong, explain why I'm wrong, and I'll listen to it again this weekend, I promise!  :D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on April 24, 2008, 01:35:20 AM
Has anyone got an opinion on the various realisations of the Universe Symphony? I've got the Centaur recording which unfortunately lurks in the dusty cobweb-strewn corner of my collection that is the CDs-I've-only-ever-played-once section. It's yet another in the lo-o-ong list of CDs that I need to have another go at.  I just remember it being a grey, amorphous, uneventful and overlong trudge. If you think it's a masterpiece, then please tell me I'm wrong, explain why I'm wrong, and I'll listen to it again this weekend, I promise!  :D

Nope all three of the current realisations are dreary awful messes, and really reflect far more on the composers who completed them, than what Ives actually wrote. A critical edition of all the materials that Ives produced for this Symphony is in preparation, but won't be out for a while, and Sinclair will be recording a new completion of the projected first movement based on these materials (and very little that Ives did not write) in 2 years time.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on April 30, 2008, 10:53:02 PM
The new 'Sets' CD is now available on itunes, the physical CD being released on the 27th.

You can read he liner notes here:

http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559353#
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 10, 2008, 07:00:32 AM
Herewith my Amazon review of the much awaited Third Orchestral Set. There I gave it three stars. Here I give it three smileys.

 :) :) :)
Editors fail to summon the spirit of Ives
It is time to stop picking over Charles Ives' bones in hopes of putting together yet one more realization. At his death, Ives left sketches for a Third Orchestral Set, and on this disk, James Sinclair and the Malmo Symphony present the premiere performance of the work, which was edited, realized or completed -- pick your process -- by David Gray Porter and Nørs Josephson. The result occupies a considerably lower stratum in the Ives canon than the first two orchestral sets, which are also recorded here. In the booklet, Ives biographer calls the third movement an "uncanny" example of Ives' late "sublime style," the pinnacle of which is the finale of the Fourth Symphony. It doesn't come close. It lacks the three-dimensionality and the sense of space Ives most likely would have added had he summoned the energy to complete it.
Whereas his mature, completed orchestral music proceeds on several levels, this piece, titled simply "Andante," sounds two-dimensional, as if Josephson had laid the sketches out end to end, expanding them in time but not in space. The first two movements feel like rehashes of earlier pieces. One hears echoes of "Thanksgiving" and "The Robert Browning Overture" but without the grandeur, drive or urgency of those works. At 28 minutes, the Third Orchestral Set is almost as long as its two predecessors combined, yet only half as full.
The good news is that Sinclair's readings of the first two orchestral sets on this CD are very fine indeed. He gives us yet another version of the first, better known as "Three Places in New England," bringing the total to four: the chamber version Ives prepared for Nicholas Slonimsky in 1931; the expansion taken up by orchestras when the piece began to catch on, which consist of the chamber arrangement with a larger sting section; the original orchestration, prepared by James Sinclair and recorded, to my knowledge, only by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, for RCA; and this one, the so-called "First Version," in which, according to Swafford, Ives pared down the complexities of his initial sketches to make the work more palatable to the orchestras of the 1910s. It didn't happen, and perhaps we should be grateful. The later, restored versions are tighter and more exciting, especially in the Putnam's Camp movement, which here lacks the raucous explosion we've come to expect at the end. Still, it is essentially the same piece, and unmistakably Ives. Sinclair and company capture the ghostly lyricism of the first movement, here titled "Impression of the St. Gaudens in Boston Common," almost as well as Levine and the BSO did when I heard them perform it live a few years ago. Believe me, that is high praise. And the last movement, famous "Housatonic at Stockbridge," retains all of its mystery and power on this CD.
The Second Orchestral Set, another true example of the sublime style and one of Ives's greatest scores, is also well served in this recording.
I recommend this CD for its performances of the music Charles Ives actually finished and sent out into the world. The Third Orchestral Set, completed by others who lack his audacity and vision, offers little more than a historical footnote.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on June 10, 2008, 07:11:56 AM
Most interesting, Joe, thanks.  I admit I'm somewhat curious to hear the Third set, even given the obvious caveats.  And I can always use another recording of the first two.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 10, 2008, 07:38:17 AM
Most interesting, Joe, thanks.  I admit I'm somewhat curious to hear the Third set, even given the obvious caveats.  And I can always use another recording of the first two.

--Bruce

Well, one can never have too many recordings of the first two, and the third does have historical interest.  ;)

In the booklet, Swafford says almost every note in the Third set was written by Ives, and that might actually be part of the problem. As I say in the review, I think Ives would have added flesh to the skeletal sketches heard on the CD. What was needed to "realize" the piece was the vision and sense of exploration Ives himself brought to composition, and the editors, trying to be respectful, don't provide it.

On the other hand, what this CD teaches us --- if we needed teaching --- is that Ives was not just some careless amateur who haphazardly slapped his music together, adding more and more layers without regard for practicality or even for sound. The different versions of Three Places, and the single, solid version of the Set No. 2 prove he worked and reworked his music diligently to achieve the effect he desired. The music he completed has shape and drive, often with the kind of shattering climaxes that can result only from attentive preparation.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 10, 2008, 10:36:37 AM
Last night I had a beautiful dream: Remembering how German Sony issued Columbia's entire stravinsky catalog in 22-cd bargain box, I thought how wonderful it would be if it did the same with Ives. Many --- actually, most --- of the great Ives recordings of the 60s and 70s were released by Columbia. They would make a great single collection, which would include the four symphonies (Ormandy, Bernstein, Stowkowski), Three Places (Ormandy), Holidays (Bernstein), the Browning Overture and Lincoln, the Great Commoner (Stokowski), the string quartets (Juilliard), piano sonatas (Masselos and Kirkpatrick), songs (Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart), chamber music (Kalish and Zukofsky), choral music with the Gregg Smith singers and Gunther Schuller's wonderful "Calcium Light Night," as well as a bonus disk of interviews with peoople like Bernard Herrman and Elliott Carter. There may be more. They are all terrific, but aside from the symphonies, little else mentioned here has been rereleased on CD.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 12, 2008, 03:00:39 PM
Last night I had a beautiful dream: Remembering how German Sony issued Columbia's entire stravinsky catalog in 22-cd bargain box, I thought how wonderful it would be if it did the same with Ives. Many --- actually, most --- of the great Ives recordings of the 60s and 70s were released by Columbia. They would make a great single collection, which would include the four symphonies (Ormandy, Bernstein, Stowkowski), Three Places (Ormandy), Holidays (Bernstein), the Browning Overture and Lincoln, the Great Commoner (Stokowski), the string quartets (Juilliard), piano sonatas (Masselos and Kirkpatrick), songs (Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart), chamber music (Kalish and Zukofsky), choral music with the Gregg Smith singers and Gunther Schuller's wonderful "Calcium Light Night," as well as a bonus disk of interviews with peoople like Bernard Herrman and Elliott Carter. There may be more. They are all terrific, but aside from the symphonies, little else mentioned here has been rereleased on CD.

Yes that would be great (also reissing that complete Ruggles LP set that MTT did...)

Is the version of "Lincoln, the Great Commoner" an orchestral version of the song? - am very intrigued - is there another recording of it?

Interesting review of the Third Set. I have only listened to it a few times so have yet to fully make my mind up, but it certainly doesn't produce the feeling of instant excitement, wonder and pathos in me that an echt Ives score would do. I think some of the realisations have been successful however - The Emerson Concerto for instance. The Universe Symphony completions have all been utterly awful thus far, and I think no full version will ever be completed which we could say will truly be a work by Ives. But then he did pass on the buck to other composers for this piece before he died.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 12, 2008, 04:00:41 PM
By the way I just posted a recording of the Fourth Symphony at the Broadcast corner. Its not great quality, and you can't hear all the lovely details, but I recommend listening at least to the third movement which goes beautifully.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,42.msg194628.html#new
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 14, 2008, 03:10:12 PM
OK having just listened to the 3rd Orchestral set another 2 times I have to fully agree with Joe's sentiments... A real shame as a lot of the stuff sounds like it could have been very nice had Ives been able to focus more attention and effort on it.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 15, 2008, 06:17:03 AM
OK having just listened to the 3rd Orchestral set another 2 times I have to fully agree with Joe's sentiments... A real shame as a lot of the stuff sounds like it could have been very nice had Ives been able to focus more attention and effort on it.

Many composers left unfinished work behind, and the realizatoins or completion of those works by others does not affect our assessment of the music the composers did complete. Fortunately, we have much greater music by Ives to appreciate.

Speaking of which: This week I received Holidays Symphony and Three Places with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadeplhia Orchestra. For some reason. the CD is avqailable only from Amazon Japan. It's a terrific performance, even if RCA's recording quality isn;t verything it could be. The Holidays especailly has more feeling than any other performance I know. I had a good friend who used to play with the orchestra, and he was incredulous when I told him how much I liked the recording when it came out on LP. He didn't think Ormandy would be the man to conduct mature Ives, but as I remimded him, despite its modernist streak, the Holidays is a nostaligic, romantic  work, and Ormandy specializes in those qualities. He plays Ives like Tchaikovsky, and it works more with Ives and it does with Tchaikovsky. The orchestra plays its heart out during the marches and the polyrhythmic explosions and the finale of Thanksgiving acieves real grandeur. An underrated --- more accurately, an unknown --- recording.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 15, 2008, 06:37:10 AM
And speaking of the Holidays Symphony: I was impressed yet again yesterday by the way portions of Thanksgiving seem to anticpate Aaron Copland's populiast, prairie style. To my knowledge, Copland was not diirectly influenced by Ives.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 15, 2008, 02:56:27 PM
Interesting Joe - I have MTT's Holidays and also Zinman's. Maybe I should look into getting that one too? The Holidays symphony is for me the most elusive Ives score - I like all the movements individually very well, but find it difficult to see the whole as a symphony - there just seem to be far too many ideas! Of course it was not concieved as a whole if my memory serves correctly, so this may be part of the issue. The foreshadowing of that later style of American music is just remarkable in how close some of it sounds (also portions of the second and third Symphonies of course), but Ives having found it, chose to move on to his 'mature sound'.

On a completely unrelated note, the last chord of the Second Symphony makes me chuckle every time!

Joe - what are your thoughts on the Emerson Concerto? Again you can tell that it's not quite real Ives as there seems to be a bit of a lack of subtlety, perhaps reminscent of the Robert Browning Overture, but overall I love it's clangerous soundworld, reminscent of Ruggles Suntreader perhaps (though predating it) or maybe even the more atonal sections of the Rite of Spring (again not an influence). I think this is the most successful Ives reconstruction that I have heard.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 15, 2008, 04:07:14 PM
On a completely unrelated note, the last chord of the Second Symphony makes me chuckle every time!

Interesting thing, though. That last chord wasn't added until 1942. The original score, from about 1902, ends with a conventional cadence. Some had said Ives should have ledt well enough alone and not revised the work 40 years later. For my own part, I think the piece wouldn't be the same withtout it.

Guido, I haven't listened to the Emerson Concerto in a long while. I'll gewt bac to you when I've had the opportunity to listen again.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 07:13:26 AM
Interesting Joe - I have MTT's Holidays and also Zinman's. Maybe I should look into getting that one too?

I think if you have MTT's, you're all set. I bought the Ormandy for teh sake of completeness. I also have Zinman and Bernstein and Johanos (on LP) and one other one I can't recall. It can't take it, Jerry. It's  much. It's too much!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: johnQpublic on June 16, 2008, 08:15:09 AM
On a completely unrelated note, the last chord of the Second Symphony makes me chuckle every time!

The best musical example of a composer thumbing is nose at the world. It should always produce a chuckle.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 16, 2008, 08:28:12 AM
Interesting thing, though. That last chord wasn't added until 1942. The original score, from about 1902, ends with a conventional cadence. Some had said Ives should have ledt well enough alone and not revised the work 40 years later. For my own part, I think the piece wouldn't be the same withtout it.

That is indeed fascinating. Did he add dissonance to the whole score, or just this bit? Obviously this was long before Bernstein expressed an interest in conducting it.

I recently read that famous Maynard Solomon article about Ives' supposed alteration of dates... Don't know what to think of it. Of course most Ives scholars reject this view, but I haven't seen a point by point debunking of his claims. It shouldn't matter, but for some reason it does, perhaps because part of the mythos and charm of the Ives legend rests on it being before Stravinsky and Schoenberg and the other modernists. My inclination is to more or less trust Ives, but I'd like to read more responses to Solomon's article.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 16, 2008, 08:50:41 AM
That is indeed fascinating. Did he add dissonance to the whole score, or just this bit? Obviously this was long before Bernstein expressed an interest in conducting it.

I recently read that famous Maynard Solomon article about Ives' supposed alteration of dates... Don't know what to think of it. Of course most Ives scholars reject this view, but I haven't seen a point by point debunking of his claims. It shouldn't matter, but for some reason it does, perhaps because part of the mythos and charm of the Ives legend rests on it being before Stravinsky and Schoenberg and the other modernists. My inclination is to more or less trust Ives, but I'd like to read more responses to Solomon's article.

After Solomon's article appeared, Gayle Sherwood-Magee took him up on his challenge and began a systematic evaluation of Ives's manuscripts, analyzing the handwriting and checking the watermarks, and she concluded his dates are gereanlly accurate, allowing for memory lapses after 20 years. I believe I read somewhere that Solomon has recanted, but I can't verify this. In any event, it's no longer much of an issue. The only real damage done was that during the 1990s, after the Solomon published but before Sherwood did, the booklet of just about every CD of Ives' music contained some question of the dates, always followed the lame apology that it really didn't matter, anyway. ("Yes, he was a pathological liar and an unoriginal fraud, but who cares as long as we have fun?") You can actually date Ives CDs according to whether they include such a discussion. It will be a useful musicological tool in the future.

Gayle's own study of Ives, titled "Charles Ives Reconsidered," is due for publication next month. Maybe that will offer something definitive.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 16, 2008, 08:55:30 AM
OK cheers Joe. I guessed as much, since as you say it is rarely discussed any more, but I was just a little unsure.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 22, 2008, 06:10:16 AM
Been listening to a lot of Ives the last few days---especially my various recording of Three Places. So far, the strongest single performance in Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony, but then, I haven't listened to Tilson Thomas and the BSO again yet.

I've also listened to MTT's performance of the Holidays again, and it is, note for note, the best perfromance I've heard, though there is an undefinable energy to the Ormandy's reading I still find very attractive.

Guido and anyone else who may be interested, maybe I spoke too soon about the dating controversies. Apparetnly, it's still going on, and the more I read, the more confusing it becomes. As Burkholder says, any dating of Ives' manuscripts is problematic, and the arguments of those who attempted to refute Solomon, as least in the 80s and early 90s, seem hopelessly subtle, or they fall back on some variant of "What difference does it make?" It might be hopeless. It's certainly depressing, and I'm sick of it.

I listened to the Emerson Concerto again, and while I think it's more successful than the other reconstructions, the definitive presentation of the material is still the Concord Sonata. I continue to insist that Ives' best music is found in the music he actually wrote.

By the way David G. Porter, the editor of the Third Orchestral Set, posted his own review of the Naxos recording as amazon. He takes issue with some of my comments.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 22, 2008, 05:13:40 PM
Anyone interested can see James Sinclair's complete descriptive catalog of Ives's music here (http://webtext.library.yale.edu/xml2html/music.ives-sinclair.nav.html). Dates are examined in detail for each piece.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on August 08, 2008, 08:29:44 AM
This (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92196531) is for all you Ivesians who might have missed the original broadcast.

My thoughts (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92716709) on the piece were  broadcast two weeks later.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on August 09, 2008, 02:11:19 PM
This (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92196531) is for all you Ivesians who might have missed the original broadcast.

My thoughts (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92716709) on the piece were  broadcast two weeks later.

Nice one Joe! I also can't stand when people present Ives as a crank in both senses of the word. That impression must have come from somewhere... Maybe because he became cranky in his old age, when people began paying him attention?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 03, 2008, 10:09:54 PM
http://www.charlesives.org/borrowedmain.htm

This has just been posted on the the Ives society website - all the hymn tunes and songs that Ives borrowed from especially recorded for the website - a lovely and entertaining resource!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 04, 2008, 08:01:37 AM
Guido, thaks so much for posting this link. You're right: it's a wonderful resource. I just spent a few minutes listening to the hymn tunes. I feel as though  I've been to church, and we never sang any of these hymns when I was growing up and was made to go to church. (Music at Catholic Masses is uniformly awful.) The more I become familiar with the tunes in their original forms, the more impressed I am with Ives's originality and achievement. He didn't just quote. He transformed. I'm listening to "Kathleen Mavounin" as I type, and I realize how different Ives's reworking in "The Pond" is.

I'm reminded of I hymn I wrote once. I was outside painting a wrought iron fence, and the church bells nearby starting playing a tune that sounded something like "In the Sweet Bye," though maybe not quite. As I painted, I improvised a few verses to go with it. In keeping with the tradition that the title should have nothing to do with the words ("Nearer My God to Thee" is "Bethany"?), I call it "Galilee." Everybody sing:


1.
There's a place that I know
Where I'm hoping you will go
When the Lord returns to call us home again.
We'll be happy up above
In the land of joy and love,
And you'll be wracked with endless horrid pain ---

Down in hell,
Down in hell.
Yes, the Lord will make you suffer down in hell.
I'll be there among the crew,
As the angels laugh at you,
When the good Lord makes you suffer down in hell.

2.
If you live in guilt and sin,
If you've let the devil win,
If you think that evolution might be true,
You'll learn better really fast
When the devil whips you ass,
And his evil minions beat you black and blue ---

Down in hell,
Down in hell.
Yes, the Lord will make you suffer down in hell.
If you want to stay away,
You'll do everything we say,
Or the Lord will make you suffer down in hell.

3.
If the dogmas of the Lord
Leave you questioning or bored,
You will see your hubris whittled down to size.
We'll just see how smart you are
When you're dropped in scalding tar,
And a stake is driven right between your eyes ---

Down in hell,
Down in hell.
Yes, the Lord will make you suffer down in hell.
You'll be left to sing the blues
As you burn among the Jews,
When the good Lord makes you suffer down in hell.


I always the Falwell people would be interested in it. 
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 08:05:48 AM
Rousing stuff, Joe!!!  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 04, 2008, 08:07:35 AM
Rousing stuff, Joe!!!  ;D ;D ;D

If only you could hear it to the tune I have in my head ...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 08:08:23 AM
To be published in the same hymnbook as Python's wonderful:

Oh Lord, please don't burn us.
Don't grill or toast Your flock.
Don't put us on the barbecue
Or simmer us in stock.
Don't braise or bake or boil us
Or stir-fry us in a wok.
Oh, please don't lightly poach us
Or baste us with hot fat.
Don't fricassee or roast us
Or boil us in a vat,
And please don't stick Thy servants, Lord,
In a Rotissomat.

(To be sung to the tune 'Creosote')
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 08:09:28 AM
If only you could hear it to the tune I have in my head ...

God can, Joe. And that's what matters.  ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 08:13:05 AM
Any idea what these could be, btw?

(As at the top of the page, next to the adverts for people looking to find singles in St Ives....)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 04, 2008, 08:47:45 AM
Is this ring tone thing real, or were you just having fun with Photoshop? I don't see a link in your post.

I'm also reminded of the 2000 Year Old Man's prayer to Philip, who was the God of the tribe until he was struck by lightning ("Very big, very strong, very powerful arms, I mean he could kill you. He could just walk on you and you could die"):

Oh, Philip,
Please don't take our eyes out
And don't pinch us
And don't hurt us.
Omayn.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on September 04, 2008, 08:48:20 AM
Luke, that must be the lone inquisitive trumpet from The Unanswered Question.

Yes! You guessed!  It rings three times, then goes to voice-mail!  ;)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 09:24:46 AM
Is this ring tone thing real, or were you just having fun with Photoshop? I don't see a link in your post.

No, it's real, one of those ads generated by the content of the page. I saw the same one earlier, but with Bach instead of Ives. Somehow that didn't surprise me so much. But I had to take a screenshot

Just to prove it, here's the larger image I took a screenshot of from which I trimmed this one. Check out the other Ives-related adverts!

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on September 04, 2008, 09:30:22 AM
And the Russian adverts on my thread:
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 09:31:21 AM
I just kept clicking refresh till it came up again. Here's the page it takes you to: http://www.gotmyringtones.com/ringtone-artist.php?id=Charles%20Ives

but I can't get any further to have my question answered >:( ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 09:36:46 AM
And the Russian adverts on my thread:

How cultured! At my thread at the moment it's either the 'perfect lover' (natch) or..... oven gloves:

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on September 04, 2008, 09:38:44 AM
Well, I owe you an apology for inciting the Advert Generator viz. oven mitts, Luke . . . .

Joe, I'm holding out for an Elliott Carter ringtone.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 04, 2008, 09:43:12 AM
Joe, I'm holding out for an Elliott Carter ringtone.

If you say it enough times, it's quite likely to happen.

Elliott Carter ringtone

Elliott Carter ringtone

Elliott Carter ringtone
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 05, 2008, 07:23:33 AM
Guido, thaks so much for posting this link. You're right: it's a wonderful resource. I just spent a few minutes listening to the hymn tunes. I feel as though  I've been to church, and we never sang any of these hymns when I was growing up and was made to go to church. (Music at Catholic Masses is uniformly awful.) The more I become familiar with the tunes in their original forms, the more impressed I am with Ives's originality and achievement. He didn't just quote. He transformed. I'm listening to "Kathleen Mavounin" as I type, and I realize how different Ives's reworking in "The Pond" is.

This was precisely the feeling I got Joe - these simple homely tunes are transformed from often rather banal beginnings into such transcendant expressions of beauty, community and the mysteries of the beyond that I too am again bowled over by Ives' achievement.


I'm reminded of I hymn I wrote once. I was outside painting a wrought iron fence, and the church bells nearby starting playing a tune that sounded something like "In the Sweet Bye," though maybe not quite. As I painted, I improvised a few verses to go with it. In keeping with the tradition that the title should have nothing to do with the words ("Nearer My God to Thee" is "Bethany"?), I call it "Galilee." Everybody sing:


1.
There's a place that I know
Where I'm hoping you will go
When the Lord returns to call us home again.
We'll be happy up above
In the land of joy and love,
And you'll be wracked with endless horrid pain ---

Down in hell,
Down in hell.
Yes, the Lord will make you suffer down in hell.
I'll be there among the crew,
As the angels laugh at you,
When the good Lord makes you suffer down in hell.

2.
If you live in guilt and sin,
If you've let the devil win,
If you think that evolution might be true,
You'll learn better really fast
When the devil whips you ass,
And his evil minions beat you black and blue ---

Down in hell,
Down in hell.
Yes, the Lord will make you suffer down in hell.
If you want to stay away,
You'll do everything we say,
Or the Lord will make you suffer down in hell.

3.
If the dogmas of the Lord
Leave you questioning or bored,
You will see your hubris whittled down to size.
We'll just see how smart you are
When you're dropped in scalding tar,
And a stake is driven right between your eyes ---

Down in hell,
Down in hell.
Yes, the Lord will make you suffer down in hell.
You'll be left to sing the blues
As you burn among the Jews,
When the good Lord makes you suffer down in hell.


I always the Falwell people would be interested in it. 

Fantastic! You have a true lyrical gift.

I like the idea of the trumpet theme of the Unanswered question sounding 3 times as a ring tone! might have to do that sometime.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 11, 2008, 12:36:50 PM
I really want to hear the Julliard quartet's recording of the two quartets - I believe it was rereleased in 2003 but its out of print again. Anyone know where I can get it?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2008, 04:57:55 AM
I really want to hear the Juilliard quartet's recording of the two quartets - I believe it was rereleased in 2003 but its out of print again. Anyone know where I can get it?

Guido, I'm not aware it was rereleased. I have a copy on LP, which I'd be willing to transfer to a cassette, if you have a cassette player. I'm not set up for digital.

The Juilliard recording of the Ives is not among my favorites. I prefer the old Kohon set on Vox Turnabout, which I also have on LP, and any of the recent CD releases by the like sof the Emerson or the Leipzig are just as good, IMHO. In any event, it's here if you want it.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2008, 05:08:16 AM
Had an e-mail this morning from Jonathan Elkus, editor of the critical edition of Charlie's Second symphony. I read in Gayle Sherwood's new book that the final, dissonant chord of the symphony dates from 1950 or '51, while the work was being readied for performance, and it might have been suggested or even written by Henry Cowell. I wrote Gayle asking if there was a manuscript page for the chord, and she suggested I contact Elkus about it. Here is our exchange (with the typos corrected):

Dear Dr. Elkus,

As a lifelong Ivesian, I was most interested in Gayle Sherwood's new
book about the composer. We've been emailing back and forth about it, and
when I had a question about the Symphony No. 2, she suggested I contact
you, since, she said, you edited the Ives Society's critical edition. The
question, as I put it put it to Gayle, is this: "You say the big tone
cluster at the end of the work was composed in the early 50s and might
have been the work of Henry Cowell. Is there any way to be sure? For
example, is there a manuscript page for the final tone cluster? And if
so, whose handwriting is it? I would think that by 1950, Ives was barely
able to pick up a pen."

All she said in response was that no manuscript page for the final chord
exists. If that's so, then, where did the chord come from?

BTW, I love your arrangements of Ives for band. The Marine Band recording
on Naxos is one of the best recent recording of Ives' work that I've
heard. 

All the best,

Joe Barron

*******

Dear Mr. Barron,

Belated but heartfelt thanks for your kind words on my Ives
transcriptions. (A more recent one--a set of songs, this time with
vocalist--is streamed on the Marine Band website.) There is no manuscript
source for the final chord of Ives's Second Symphony; my suggestion is
to get hold of a copy of the new Ives Society score and check the
references to it in the front and back matter. (Ives could evidently
pick up a pencil on "good days" even in 1950, or he could have dictated
the chord to Cowell, possibly from the keyboard. As you'll note in the
edition, the chord was sent to Harrison for scoring.) The only "source"
for the chord is the 1951 printing of the full score; I'm confident that
written sources for this score survive, but (if so) are in an unknown
private collection.

Anyway, I do hope this may help.

Sincerely, Jonathan Elkus

I am rereading Gayle's book now and will try to post a review over the weekend.--JB
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2008, 05:19:29 AM
Curious. Thanks for sharing this, Joe.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 12, 2008, 05:24:22 AM
http://www.musicweb.uk.net/Ives/RR_String_Quartets.htm

Hi Joe - this is the one I wa referring too. At the moment I have the Leipzig and Blair quartets. Do you think I need any others? He seems to have a rather higher opinion of the Julliard than you do. I guess every Ivesian has his own tastes. He is at least right on his top recommendation for the Piano Trio - the Ma/Kalish/Lefkowitz is easily my favourite version on record.

Thankyou very much for the offer. I will hunt around a bit more, then may take you up on it. Thanks again,
Guido
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2008, 05:40:18 AM
http://www.musicweb.uk.net/Ives/RR_String_Quartets.htm

Hi Joe - this is the one I wa referring too. At the moment I have the Leipzig and Blair quartets. Do you think I need any others? He seems to have a rather higher opinion of the Julliard than you do. I guess every Ivesian has his own tastes. He is at least right on his top recommendation for the Piano Trio - the Ma/Kalish/Lefkowitz is easily my favourite version on record.

Thankyou very much for the offer. I will hunt around a bit more, then may take you up on it. Thanks again,
Guido

Wow, I never saw that CD. It came and went without my knowledge, which is rare.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2008, 05:48:53 AM
Well it's available at Amazon.de (http://www.amazon.de/Charles-Ives-1874-1954/dp/B0000ALKQU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1221230824&sr=1-2) for 39 euros, which is about 40 bucks.  :o Happy hunting.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2008, 07:21:16 AM
He seems to have a rather higher opinion of the Julliard than you do.

I guess I'll have to listen again, since I agree with him about the Walden recordning as well. I have always disliked the Cleveland recording, which takes the finale much too fast in my estimation.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2008, 11:44:12 AM
Below is an enlightening post from Kyle Gann that I just came across while doing a google search. It dates from 2005. I hadn't kown about the letter he writes about, and I wish someone would publish it. I recently had an unpleasant run in with Gann on his blog site (I have a lot of unpleasant run ins, but I find this post well done:

Ives the Non-Homophobe
The myth of a homophobic Charles Ives has gained traction, to the point that it sometimes seems that if a person knows only two things about Ives, one is that he wrote music and the other is that he hated gays. I alluded to this in my post about Ives the other day, and I received the usual questions. Let me set a couple of things straight.

The image of Ives as homophobe rests on two pillars: Ives's abandonment of Henry Cowell after the latter was sent to San Quentin on a homosexual morals charge; and his regular use of effeminacy as an insult, calling people he didn't like "sissies" and "old women in pants."

To take the first charge: In 1997, during the Henry Cowell Centennial Conference at Lincoln Center, there was an exhibition of Cowell's correspondence. One exhibit was a letter from Charles Ives, written to Cowell at San Quentin. It was warm, supportive, sympathetic, with no hint of disapproval. As I recall, it was written in Ives's handwriting, which was odd, because by the late 1930s his wife Harmony was writing most of his letters for him. A bunch of American music scholars and I stood around wondering at this letter, which so flew in the face of the legend that Ives cut Cowell as a friend after the homosexual incident. We theorized that perhaps it wasn't Ives who had trouble with Cowell's homosexuality, but Harmony - which would explain why this was a rare Ives letter not in her handwriting. I have never yet seen this written about - perhaps some Ives scholar is saving it for a new book - but thus fell down to dust one leg of the Ives homophobia myth.

Parenthetically, I've always wondered why this myth reflected so much worse on Ives than on Cowell. After all, Cowell was charged with corrupting the morals of a minor, and I think most of my friends and acquaintances would agree that having sex with an underage person is a bad thing (at least morally bad), regardless of the sexual orientation involved. Why couldn't Ives (or Harmony) have very reasonably disapproved of Cowell seducing a minor, if he had believed that's what happened, without a charge of homophobia? Why is it assumed that Ives would have felt just dandy about Cowell and a 16-year-old girl? As it happens, Cowell seems to have been, if not completely innocent, more innocent than charged, and got screwed over by a vindictive DA. In any case, he was later given a full pardon, and the evidence against him was acknowledged as faulty. In my experience, everyone seems willing to believe poor Cowell was innocent - yet Ives continues to be blamed for an abandonment that, according to the evidence I've seen, never happened. In any case, Cowell remained Ives's friend and wrote a fine biography of him in 1954, and if Ives didn't do anything Cowell couldn't forgive him for, I don't see that the rest of the world has any business not forgiving him as well.

The second case is more difficult to make, and many will not be convinced by it - but I'm going to make it anyway. Like Ives, I grew up in a culture in which charges of effeminacy were a standard insult. In Texas in the 1960s, we called guys we didn't like "sissies," "girlie-men," taunted them by saying they should be wearing a dress. This had nothing to do with homophobia. It had to do with our own fears of failing to live up to the unrealistic image of manhood impressed on our insecure imaginations, and to overcompensate we ascribed such failure to our enemies. (Ives, whose father was an impecunious musician in a family of solid businessmen, was probably acutely susceptible to this psychology.) For one thing, we were so ignorant of homosexuality that we thought it might be a one-in-a-million condition, something we would never encounter. I went into college talking this way, found that homosexuals were far more common than I'd been led to believe, and learned with a shock that the way I was used to expressing myself might be misinterpreted as disparaging gays. Of course, I cleaned up my speech immediately - I had no desire to offend any group of people for being who they were, and many of my new friends were gay. Calling people "sissies" was admittedly a graceless and ugly way of expressing ourselves - but to label it homophobia is to retrofit an anachronistic standard into a culture that wouldn't have understood the charge. (Why hasn't Arnold Schwarzenegger been vilified as homophobic for his "girlie-men" comment? What did Ives say worse than that?) Nor was it misogynistic: in the macho John Wayne world I grew up in, men were supposed to be men, and women - rather idealized and installed on pedestals - women. It was an unfortunate world in a lot of ways, and I suffered from it and continue to. But homophobia and misogyny played no conscious part in it.

Thus it was that when I read Ives's Essays Before a Sonata at age 14, nothing about its language jarred me - that's how people I knew talked. One of the wonderful things about Ives's prose writing is how much of the vernacular slips into his high-toned philosophical discourse. The unfortunate flip side of this is that some of that vernacular, in hindsight and from the point of view of a civil rights era, now has a nasty ring to it. Since I come from a part of the country whose enlightenment level creeps along more slowly than the average, my upbringing in the 1950s was probably on some kind of cultural par with Ives's in the 1880s. Ives called critics "sissies" and "Rollos" when they were hidebound and conventional in their thinking - which are not characteristics associated with gays. In any case, if you're going to charge Ives with being a homophobe, then you might as well charge me with having been one for the first 20 years of my life, and I alone know how misguided such an interpretation would be.

Ives assigned the royalties for his Third Symphony to Lou Harrison, who conducted its premiere in 1946 (and gave him half of the Pulitzer Prize money he won from the work). I don't know how "out" Lou was by that point, but I find it difficult to believe that Ives was in complete ignorance of his sexual orientation. In short, I have never seen any evidence that Charles Ives ever in his life discriminated against a gay person, or insulted one, or avoided one, or even that he hated gays. He did hate people who were intellectually timid and conventional, and in disparaging them he employed an old-fashioned vernacular idiom that no educated person would ever use today, because it now sounds homophobic. That's unfortunate. Ives's music enjoyed a big surge in popularity in the 1960s, and a lot of people who thought it undeserved have picked away at Ives's minor personal faults with a tenacious schadenfreude that seems all out of proportion. Ives's alleged homophobia should not be one of the first things anyone learns about Ives. In fact, it needn't be brought up at all - unless someone has some evidence.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 12, 2008, 12:18:24 PM
Fascinating Joe. Thanks!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 12, 2008, 12:21:17 PM
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ives-Variations-on-America/dp/B000SKJQT8/ref=sr_1_35?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1221254389&sr=1-35

I have been toying with the idea of getting this Ives CD for a while, but haven't got it as they're all arrangements and I have the originals of all of them already... Anyone recommend for or against?

EDIT: just read the review *ordered*
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on September 12, 2008, 12:39:33 PM
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ives-Variations-on-America/dp/B000SKJQT8/ref=sr_1_35?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1221254389&sr=1-35

I have been toying with the idea of getting this Ives CD for a while, but haven't got it as they're all arrangements and I have the originals of all of them already... Anyone recommend for or against?

Haven't heard the CD, but for what it's worth, the band is terrific: I've heard them live a couple of times.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 12, 2008, 12:42:48 PM
Haven't heard the CD, but for what it's worth, the band is terrific: I've heard them live a couple of times.

--Bruce

Hi Bruce. Yes I just read Scott Morrison's review (a current or ex GMGer?) on the same page I linked to. Sounds like good stuff. It's sort of sad that I have heard virtually everything by Ives now... I still crave more!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on September 12, 2008, 12:50:24 PM
Hi Bruce. Yes I just read Scott Morrison's review (a current or ex GMGer?) on the same page I linked to. Sounds like good stuff. It's sort of sad that I have heard virtually everything by Ives now... I still crave more!

Scott does post here now and then--he's a good writer. 

Yes, when you realize you've heard every last thing by a given composer, isn't that just a little sobering!  You're ahead of me, I think: there are still Ives things I don't think I've heard yet.  But I can understand the craving: at one point years ago, he was probably my favorite composer (if there can be such a thing as a "favorite," given all the incredible music around to hear). 

BTW have you heard Vol. II of the songs, by Gerald Finley and Julius Drake?  I haven't yet, but plan to get it soon.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 12, 2008, 12:58:45 PM
BTW have you heard Vol. II of the songs, by Gerald Finley and Julius Drake?  I haven't yet, but plan to get it soon.

--Bruce

No I haven't nor have I heard the first volume for the songs. I have this superb set of the complete songs:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412PZN2CP2L._SS500_.jpg)

And of course that superb set by Jan DeGaetani and Gilbert Kalish - for me this remains an unbeatable Ives recording.

I am sort of ntrigued by the recently released complete songs on Naxos - I like that they have used so many singers, and any time when they could have added optional extra musicians as is often notated in Ives scores, it seems they have chosen to do so... The way they have done songs alphabetically is rather odd - the set I have above, broadly splits the song into student songs, early career, mid - mature, and late career.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 12, 2008, 01:01:14 PM
Do you recommend the set you mentioned?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on September 12, 2008, 01:09:11 PM
I should get that vocal disc above, especially since I like some of the musicians already, e.g., Philip Bush and Paul Sperry.

And I totally agree about the DeGaetani/Kalish--a memorable recording, and one of the first Ives recordings I ever bought (on LP!).

Do you recommend the set you mentioned?

If you mean the Finley/Drake, yes, absolutely!  (With the caveat that voices are always a very personal thing.)  I love what Finley does with some of the more comedic songs--characterful but not too over-the-top--and I just like his voice in general.  You might try to hear an excerpt or two just for that reason.  (I'm hearing him at the Met this season in John Adams' Doctor Atomic.)  And Drake is excellent; he must be one of the best accompanists in the business, IMHO.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 12, 2008, 01:21:20 PM
OK Bruce, thanks for the tip. I will keep that one in mind when I next have an Ives binge. He is one of my absolute favourite composers of course - one of my soul mate composers to use the terminology of a now not so recent thread. I agree that choosing one favourite composer is an impossible and even ludicrous task.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on September 12, 2008, 01:34:00 PM
I'll jump on the "soul mate" bandwagon in this case, too!  0:)

Also, didn't mean to overlook the interesting comments by Kyle Gann that Joe posted.  (I think I saw that post around the time it came out, since I check Gann's blog now and then.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 12, 2008, 05:12:05 PM
Guido, Bruce, I do recommend the Marine Band recording on Naxos. I have the initial release of this disk, and it's really very good. Arrangements, yes, and therefore not "pure" Ives, but the performances are tight and spirited, and since Ives liked band music and believed music was fluid and malleable, I think he would have approved. (I mention it in my e-mail to Dr. Elkus.)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on September 13, 2008, 10:52:12 AM
Well it's available at Amazon.de (http://www.amazon.de/Charles-Ives-1874-1954/dp/B0000ALKQU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1221230824&sr=1-2) for 39 euros, which is about 40 bucks.

Really? I thought somehow that the dollar's been rather weaker, and would have expected more on the order of $60.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 15, 2008, 07:11:05 AM
Guido, Bruce, I do recommend the Marine Band recording on Naxos. I have the initial release of this disk, and it's really very good. Arrangements, yes, and therefore not "pure" Ives, but the performances are tight and spirited, and since Ives liked band music and believed music was fluid and malleable, I think he would have approved. (I mention it in my e-mail to Dr. Elkus.)

The CD came in the post today and having just listened to it, I've decided I don't think it's really my thing, though I can see it's merits. Interesting to hear though.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 15, 2008, 07:56:07 AM
The CD came in the post today and having just listened to it, I've decided I don't think it's really my thing, though I can see it's merits. Interesting to hear though.

Jeez. I have to stop making recommendations.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 15, 2008, 08:25:08 AM
Jeez. I have to stop making recommendations.

On the other hand, this (http://www.amazon.com/Light-That-Felt-Songs-Charles/dp/B001EUEOCU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1221499427&sr=1-2) might very definitely be worth looking into.  ;)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 15, 2008, 10:26:23 AM
Jeez. I have to stop making recommendations.

Not at all! I asked for your opinion, I was thinking of getting it anyway. It's not that I pasticularly disliked, just not my thing!

Quote
On the other hand, this might very definitely be worth looking into.

Absolutely! That looks great - Donald Berman's recordings 'The Unknown Ives' (and 'The Uncovered Ruggles') are fantastic. I really like the product description too:

Quote
Charles Ives composed nearly 200 songs throughout his life. Wiley Hitchcock, in the thorough introduction to his 2004 critical edition 129 Songs, described the Ives song canon as "the contents of a kind of scrapbook or commonplace book or chapbook, or even a desk drawer. Into such a receptacle Ives tossed irregularly, if not casually, his reactions - in the form of songs - to memories, personalities, places, events, discoveries, ideas, visions, and fantasies in his life." Whether popular tale or personal reflection, this concept of the songs as memorabilia is realized in a most powerful way: the songs emotionally and viscerally evoke memory. Captured memories real or idealized, distant or near are the materials for the music. From cosmopolitan incident (Ann Street) to pastoral stroll (The Housatonic at Stockbridge) Ives's songs describe a range of experience: a child's playtime , a commuter's observations, a courter's hope. His songs exhibit reverence for the populace and pop culture, daring adventure, and family devotion; life and death.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 16, 2008, 07:19:06 AM
Absolutely! That looks great - Donald Berman's recordings 'The Unknown Ives' (and 'The Uncovered Ruggles') are fantastic. I really like the product description too.

What the product description fails to note is the lovely job Susan Narucki did on "When the Moon," another collection of Ives songs.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 16, 2008, 08:18:52 AM
Oh yes that fantastic CD with all the small Sets. I had forgotten she was on that. Great CD, and great singing - I particularly like her reading of The Incantation and Mists. She also sings Ruggles' Prayer on the Berman Uncovered Ruggles CD.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 16, 2008, 10:58:30 AM
Guido, i have just ordered two recordings of Ives's SQs, one by the Lydian Qurtet (out of print, cheap), and the one by the Blair on Naxos. I'll get back to you.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 16, 2008, 12:35:43 PM
Cheers Joe. I like the Naxos one very much, especially their playing of the first quartet. I've always thought that, were it not for Ives' later masterpiece in the genre the work would be much more famous - it's a really great piece and one that I return to often. Exactly the same is true of Ives' first piano sonata - a superb piece somewhat overshadowed by it's sequel which just happens to be one of the greatest pieces of Piano music ever written...

The Lydian Quartet is one I haven't heard.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 16, 2008, 04:05:52 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Ives-Three-Orchestral-Sets/dp/B001716IVQ

Joe - did you see that Porter responded to your review? Interesting what he says, but as you say the piece just doesn't match up to Ives' earlier efforts. The comments on his review are interesting too.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 16, 2008, 06:23:39 PM
Yeah, I saw it. It didn't change my mind about the reconstruction.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 30, 2008, 11:12:20 AM
Just a quick question - where in the first movement of the first symphony is that infamous passage that cycles through something like 8 keys?

It's such a charming and thoroughly lovely work and one of the few romantic symphonies that I don't feel like turning off after one movement!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 20, 2008, 10:14:12 AM
Ives House faces crisis after ceiling collapse
Emergency closes historic home, curbs Ives Day celebration
By John Pirro
Staff Writer
Danbury News Times

DANBURY -- For years, officials at the Danbury Museum and Historical Society have tightly restricted access to the Charles Ives homestead on Mountainville Avenue, acutely aware of the fragile condition of the nearly 220-year-old house where the noted composer was born in 1874.

The two-story Dutch Colonial was open one day a year, for the annual Ives Day celebration sponsored by the Danbury Music Centre to mark Ives' birthday, and occasionally, museum Director of Operations Levi Newsome said, for a fast tour by an out-of-state visitor.

But now, it appears the house will remain closed for the foreseeable future after part of the ceiling collapsed last week. No one was in the house when an approximately six-foot section of plaster came down in the first-floor parlor, said Newsome, who discovered the damage Friday.

The closure injected a sour note into Sunday's Ives Day celebration.

"A lot of people came from some pretty far distances to be here today," said Nancy Sudik, executive director of the Music Centre. "But we don't want to see anyone get hurt."

More than a dozen Ives fans had to content themselves with a tour of the outside of the house, and glimpses of the interior through the windows.

Other parts of the celebration, including a hike up Pine Mountain, where Ives was inspired to compose some of his music, a brief performance by the Rag Tag Players at the Ives grave site in Wooster Cemetery, and a concert at the Music Centre, went forward as planned.

Newsome found the problem when he arrived at the house with a cleaning crew to prepare it for the event.

"I was shocked to see it," said Newsome, who first feared the damage had been caused by a water leak. But a quick inspection of the second floor put that concern to rest, and it now appears that the collapse was simply the result of the house's age.

"We always knew that it needed to be renovated, but we've been concentrating on other projects," Newsome said.

The house, originally built on Main Street in 1790, has been moved twice in its existence. In 1923, the property on which it was located was bought by the Danbury National Bank, and the house was relocated to Chapel Place, a short distance away. In 1966, it was moved to Mountainville Avenue and was opened to the public after being renovated in 1992.

Ives lived in the house with his parents until 1879, when the family moved to Stevens Street.

A number of Ives enthusiasts said restoration of the house should now be a priority.

"This is so important to the heritage of Danbury," said Danbury Music Centre member Gene Finger.

Newsome said museum Executive Director Brigid Guertin, who is expected back soon from maternity leave, was aware of the collapse and has been making inquiries about possible grants for possible renovation.

Sudik and Larry Deming, who have been organizing the Ives events for several years, said they would be willing to take participate in any fund raising activities.

"The Music Centre is going to help get it done," Deming said.

I've been hoping they woudl do some fundraising to restore the house. If they do, they can count on me for as contribution.

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 25, 2008, 04:02:34 PM
How can the Naxos Song series be running to six volumes, when another comlete songs set is only four CDs? Also, I'm a bit sceptical as to how good an idea the alphabetical ordering of the songs is. It's not an awful idea, but it's just odd. And not Ivesian odd!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 26, 2008, 02:19:41 PM
How can the Naxos Sog series be running to six volumes, when another complete songs set is only four CDs? Also, I'm a bit sceptical as to how good an idea the alphabetical ordering of the songs is. It's not an awful idea, but it's just odd. And not Ivesian odd!

The one advantage is you can find an individual song among six volumes more easily if they appear in alphabetical order than if they appear chronologically, as in the Albany recording. On the other hand, since I have the Albany recording, I don't feel the need for another complete set. If you want a new CD of Ives songs, I'd recommend Susan Narucki and Donald Berman's  disk, "The Light that is Felt." Just exquisite performances. Susan has been singing Ives's songs for 30 years, and Donald Berman, the pianist on the two "Unknown Ives" disk, is a superb accompanist. These live inside Ives's music, and it shows in the recording: a five-smiley release.  :) :) :) :) :)

Susan offers a few insights into her relationship with the music (with a comment from someone you may know) here. (http://susannarucki.net/blog/?p=69)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 26, 2008, 03:29:41 PM
The one advantage is you can find an individual song among six volumes more easily if they appear in alphabetical order than if they appear chronologically, as in the Albany recording. On the other hand, since I have the Albany recording, I don't feel the need for another complete set. If you want a new CD of Ives songs, I'd recommend Susan Narucki and Donald Berman's  disk, "The Light that is Felt." Just exquisite performances. Susan has been singing Ives's songs for 30 years, and Donald Berman, the pianist on the two "Unknown Ives" disk, is a superb accompanist. These live inside Ives's music, and it shows in the recording: a five-smiley release.  :) :) :) :) :)

Susan offers a few insights into her relationship with the music (with a comment from someone you may know) here. (http://susannarucki.net/blog/?p=69)

Thanks for the tip - I will order them.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 26, 2008, 04:43:10 PM
Thanks for the tip - I will order them.

Them? It.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 26, 2008, 05:23:34 PM
Them? It.

Oh, sorry I thought it was a series - I guess this is volume I of hopefully more...

EDIT: Actually there's no particular indication that it is.  :(
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 26, 2008, 05:33:13 PM
Oh, sorry I thought it was a series - I guess this is volume I of hopefully more...

EDIT: Actually there's no particular indication that it is.  :(

Well, I did put the words "CD," "disk" and "release" in the singular.  Such subtleties of language are meant to speak for themselves. ;)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 27, 2008, 06:38:56 AM
Yeah... no I meant there is no indication on the CD itself, that it is the first volume of several.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: The Six on October 27, 2008, 10:22:24 PM
I remember reading that Peter Schickele said Ives' ideas were better than his music, or something like that. I couldn't find it in a Google search, but it might have been posted on the old board. I just hope that he didn't really say it.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 28, 2008, 07:17:43 AM
I remember reading that Peter Schickele said Ives' ideas were better than his music, or something like that. I couldn't find it in a Google search, but it might have been posted on the old board. I just hope that he didn't really say it.

It was Elliott Carter who wrote that Ives's music is often more interesting than good. I wasn't aware that Schickele said anything of the sort. To me, such a fine-tuned criticism doesn't sound like him, but then again, I don't remember him playing anything by Ives on his Public Radio series.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 28, 2008, 09:39:19 AM
I hate the way people come out with statements of fact like that as if they are anything more than opinions. My truth is the truth! Luckily, no one on this forum is ever guilty of this.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 28, 2008, 09:40:46 AM
Luckily, no one on this forum is ever guilty of this.

I detect a note of irony here.  ;)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 28, 2008, 09:48:55 AM
I detect a note of irony here.  ;)

Oh come off it, I'm not being in the least bit disingenuous. Just like M.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 28, 2008, 09:59:45 AM
I just borrowed the Gayle book from the library... Not sure if I will have time to read it all, but have had a read of a couple of chapters already, and no sense of passion is conveyed for the music she is discussing. I find very matter of fact biographies like this rather dull, apart from anything. I probably should read more before making a judgement like this, but this was just my first impression.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 28, 2008, 12:23:37 PM
I just borrowed the Gayle book from the library... Not sure if I will have time to read it all, but have had a read of a couple of chapters already, and no sense of passion is conveyed for the music she is discussing. I find very matter of fact biographies like this rather dull, apart from anything. I probably should read more before making a judgement like this, but this was just my first impression.

Interesting you should make this point. Privately, Gayle has told me that despite the problems with chronology, Ives's originality is never in question, since, as she put it, no one has written like hime before or sense. Unfortunately, she doesn't make that point in the book, which I think does give the impression that his   originality is in doubt. I found the early chapters on the Columbian Exposition and Parker quite valuable, but, as I said in my review, the composer seems to disappear just when he reaches his most productive decade. It's almost as though he becomes nothing but the sum of his influences.

I'd suggest making time to read the whole thing. It is fairly brief.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 28, 2008, 03:05:29 PM
Interesting you should make this point. Privately, Gayle has told me that despite the problems with chronology, Ives's originality is never in question, since, as she put it, no one has written like hime before or sense. Unfortunately, she doesn't make that point in the book, which I think does give the impression that his   originality is in doubt. I found the early chapters on the Columbian Exposition and Parker quite valuable, but, as I said in my review, the composer seems to disappear just when he reaches his most productive decade. It's almost as though he becomes nothing but the sum of his influences.

I'd suggest making time to read the whole thing. It is fairly brief.

Interesting thoughts Joe. It is actually shorter than I thought, so I will read it all, hopefully by the end of this semester if I have time. Everything I have read so far has confirmed exactly what you just said - every one of his actions and statements is explained in terms of something else: his child hood, his insecurities, his need to coform etc. etc. This may be an informative, if dull read.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on December 30, 2008, 02:33:38 PM
Finish a song that Ives didn't! (http://www.ivesvocalmarathon.com/interactive.php)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on December 31, 2008, 07:16:06 PM
Finish a song that Ives didn't! (http://www.ivesvocalmarathon.com/interactive.php)

Thanks for the headsup Karl! I trust you'll be entering? ;D ;)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 01, 2009, 10:02:26 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Ives-Psalms-Complete-Recording/dp/B001FXSN50/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1230832143&sr=8-1

I just learned of this release and downloaded it off itunes. This is the first time that five of these Psalms have been made available as far as I know, and certainly the only place you can currently get all of them together like this - sadly that Gregg Smith Singers LP has never been reissued on CD. Most are early laboratory works from the 1890s and we see Ives trying out lots of highly original ideas. Psalm 90 is particularly moving and is perhaps his last great work - a beautiful summing up of his all too short compositional career - he professed that it was the only piece of his that he was truly satisfied with (though I feel that he might have been slightly overstating this!). Psalm 67 is also truly remarkable as it is in two keys consistently throughout - amazing considering it was composed in 1894. There's really too many wonderful moments throughout the CD to comment on.

The singing is very good, even if it all seems the slightest bit clean and measured to feel truely Ivesian. Emminently recommendable. It is a shame that the Harvest Home Chorales are not available at the moment - these are Ives true vocal masterpieces and unlike anything else in his output - again wonderful works.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 02, 2009, 03:56:35 PM
It would be nice to see some of the Ives enthusiasts posting their thoughts or comments on the Ives Marathon forum: http://ivesvocalmarathon.com/forum/index.php?board=3.0

This Neely Bruce chappy is clearly a true fanatic and has thought about these pieces a lot. Is anyone going to try and make the marathon itself?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 03, 2009, 05:39:58 AM
Glad that I am not the only one...  :)
The lack of recordings really is surprising isn't it, given how oft recorded some of the other major works are.

Just found this on Youtube, and thought I'd post it in case anyone hadn't heard it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10pqluMwgXQ&feature=related

Ives singing his own war song, half protest, half celebratory. I love

Quote
When we're through this cursed war,
All those dynamite-sneaking gougers,
Making slaves of men (God damn them)



Quote
But there'll come a day,
Hip, hip, hooray,

When they'll smash all dictators to the wall!

Let's build a people's world nation, hooray!
Every honest country free to live its own,
native life!

His humour, passion and naivity are so touching here.

Also the fantastic recording of the Alcott's movement of the Concord Sonata that he made:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXHjeSamzno&feature=related

Here you can see what an artist he was at the piano.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 06, 2009, 03:03:03 PM
Where are ' 's posts?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 06, 2009, 03:37:37 PM
It somewhat disrupts the flow of the thread though - renders the rest of the posts a bit meaningless, or at least without proper context. I can't stop you though  :)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 06, 2009, 03:52:47 PM
Sorry for any inconvenience. Most do not have follow ups, so there is no flow to disrupt. Any portions that contribute to a flow are picked up in others' posts, so any rivulets of flow are preserved there, although perhaps without some context.'

Doesn't perturb me too much! Your posting style then is Brahmsian - destroying any posts which you feel are not worth preserving for posterity. Ives might not have minded leaving the banal next to the sublime though!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 06, 2009, 05:31:19 PM
Absolutely - one of Ives' most profound and moving insights in my opinion and one of the reasons his music holds so much appeal for me. I didn't realise that it was of such importance to Mahler, but then I have never really got the 'sublime' part of Mahler either except perhaps in the 9th Symphony. As Jan Swafford points out in the Ives biography, the two make an interesting comparison, which is why that story that Mahler almost conducted Ives' 3rd is so compelling. Of course Gayle denies that it could have happened due to her revised chronology. Later composers have used it too - HK Gruber and Friedrich Gulda for instance. I'm not sure if Shostakovich uses the banal in the same way - for him it is often used to parodistic effect which of course Ives and the others mentioned here emphatically do not. But Shostakovich must have got the practise at least partially from Mahler so maybe there are works in which he uses it in the same way as these guys.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on January 06, 2009, 07:43:02 PM
Guido, for an enlightening comparison of Ives and Mahler, see Robert Morgan's  article (http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/abs/10.1525/ncm.1978.2.1.02a00050) in 19th Century Music.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on January 21, 2009, 06:24:10 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51H340F5YEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
This is the only place that I have seen this beautiful photo of Ives - anyone know where I can get a version of it without the writing?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on March 10, 2009, 05:05:18 PM
Ives on Huntington Avenue. (http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/2009/03/searching-question-of-what-and-why.html)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on March 11, 2009, 01:19:02 PM
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Charles-Ives-A-Concord-Symphony/dp/B000WCN8OQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1236806180&sr=8-2

The above CD is absolutely fantastic - makes you hear the Concord Sonata in a whole new light. The Orchestration is far too 'clean' to be Ives, so the work sounds half Ives and half Brant, but it is just an absolute delight to hear - and truly astonishing that such a pianistic work could sounds so well for orchestra. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on March 12, 2009, 03:27:50 AM
"Does for Ives what Ravel did for Musorgsky"

 8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: sul G on March 12, 2009, 03:47:19 AM
I'm afraid I can't warm to the Brant orchestration, even though in itself there is nothing wrong with it, and Brant is probably the one person one would have chosen to do it, too. As Guido says, it's 'too clean to be Ives', but I think I have more of a problem with that than he does - to me, the most important thing about the explicitly transcendental sonata is the striving: the difficulty and the strain, the single-pianist-taking-on-the-world is part of the music and taking that away means that one method by which Ives expreses this most important aspect of the music is missing. It's an attractive sound but that's not really enough for me in a work which is so much more than that.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on March 12, 2009, 03:52:14 AM
I have roughly similar feelings about an orchestration I once heard of Gaspard de la nuit.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: sul G on March 12, 2009, 04:01:29 AM
Yes, I find that hard to imagine, even though Ravel himself happily orchestrated so much of his piano music. No, scrap that - perhaps because Ravel himself happily orchestrated so much of his piano music, so I can't imagine he'd have left Gaspard alone (perhaps his single most important piano work) if he hadn't had good reason. Like the Concord, Gaspard is transcendental too, though in a different way - remember Ravel's express wish to compose the hardest piano piece ever (he loved setting himself these little challenges)? And again, the difficulty of Scarbo is what makes it so demonic - replacing the piano with a bit of col legno/trem./ponticello/xylophone (or whatever) can really be no replacement for having the pianist play as if genuinely possesed. The difficulty of Le Gibet is the articulation - Gil-Marchex's famous '27 types of touch' - IOW the creation of an orchestral sonority but without an orchestra, and this is what makes it such a spellbinding work; one would also lose the frightening will-he-won't-he of that internal B flat pedal, which remains static despite everything that flies around it. The ease with which this could be reproduced in an orchestra would rid the piece of what makes it so magical. And in Ondine harps sliding all over the place may be more 'watery' but they wouldn't have that fragile brittleness which is so heartbreaking... No, sometimes it's best to leave well alone
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on March 12, 2009, 04:02:51 AM
You've said all I might have (and more) a great deal better than I should have.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on March 12, 2009, 10:42:23 AM
I'm afraid I can't warm to the Brant orchestration, even though in itself there is nothing wrong with it, and Brant is probably the one person one would have chosen to do it, too. As Guido says, it's 'too clean to be Ives', but I think I have more of a problem with that than he does - to me, the most important thing about the explicitly transcendental sonata is the striving: the difficulty and the strain, the single-pianist-taking-on-the-world is part of the music and taking that away means that one method by which Ives expreses this most important aspect of the music is missing. It's an attractive sound but that's not really enough for me in a work which is so much more than that.

Very well said.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on March 12, 2009, 04:52:54 PM
Oh I certainly don't think it displaces the original at all - the original is without question better. But I do appreciate the orchestrated version too, but almost as a Brant work as I should have implied more strongly. Apart from anything when played by several sustaining instruments one realises quite how utterly gorgeous Ives' harmony is a lot of the time in this piece which I tend to miss a little when the 'heroic striving' and manic dynamism of the pianism is so often the most captivating aspect of the music.

I think a work as great as this can survive the transcription, even if the original cannot be displaced. Not that one would want to displace the original! You get what I'm trying to say though. Yes it loses a vital quality that Ives intended for the music, but for me it has also opened up appreciation of a new facet of the piece, so I can't help but like it. I don't love it like the original, but I do enjoy it a hell of a lot!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 29, 2009, 08:35:23 AM
This reply appears here, since it was off topic in the SQ thread.

That's a fascinating take Joe, and one which I agree with - this is exactly what Swafford tries to do, and he makes a most compelling case for it. It would be a severe disservise to Ives to summarise his achievement as just an innovator - these things are always at the service of a higher ideal and concept in his music.

Perhaps, but it's also a disservice to discount the experimerimental side. You seem to approve of Swafford's attempts. I'm not sure I do. Ives wrote several purely experimental pieces, like the Three Page Sonata, which Swafford describes, somewhat dismissively, as "sports" --- that is, atypical of Ives in that they do not "tell a story." I disagree. I think they are crucial to Ives's development. Whatever he was trying to do, he felt they were important while he was working on them.

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on May 29, 2009, 08:37:02 AM
. . . Ives wrote several p0urely experimental pieces, like the Three Page Sonata, which Swafford describes, somewhat dismissively, as "sports" --- that is, atypical of Ives in that they do not "tell a story."

Why not call them studies, and leave off the derision?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 29, 2009, 08:54:23 AM
Why not call them studies, and leave off the derision?

I'm not sure he meant to be derisive. Swarfford uses the term "sport" to mean something outside of Ives's usual aesthetic project, i.e., an attempt to create a scene or program. Trouble is, there are so many such "sports" that when grouped together, they seem at all "atypical." Most of the short piano works are "studies," and Ives labeled them as such.

I'm getting obsessive about quotation marks.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on May 29, 2009, 08:57:59 AM
I'm getting obsessive about quotation marks.

"Really"?  8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 29, 2009, 09:31:51 AM
"Really"?  8)

Don't be "cute."
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 29, 2009, 12:24:24 PM
You don't need to look too hard to see that the affinity Ives shares with  Bolcom (and a lot of others, e.g., Zappa) that isn't shared with Carter.

I find more Ives in Carter than in Bolcom or Zappa, or, rather, I find the same things interesting about Ives that Carter does: the sense of multplicity, of layering, of silmultaneous perspectives, the rhythmic ingenuity. Of course, Ives is a seminal figure, and like most seminal figures (Beethoven included) he pointed in several directions at once, and his successors explored the new territories more single-mindedly. Carter followed Ives's example in one direction, Bolcom and Crumb in others.  :)

', I'm not quite sure what you're asking me. I think I've already made that clear that by sport, Swafford means an anomaly. What I'm saying is that there are enough of these anomalies that they are not all that anomalous.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 29, 2009, 01:46:36 PM
Whatever, dude.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 03:35:15 AM
You did say that, and I understood that, but I am curious as to how Swafford connected "anomaly" to "sport." I am not familiar with that usage.

I think it's a (for instance) biological reading of sport.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 03:56:12 AM
I take it that he meant to reuse the word "sport" for its botanical meaning:

Ah, you got there first, I trow.

You know, I still have not read either of Swafford's books (Ives or Brahms) . . . and the reviews I read of the Brahms book disinclined me to read, I fear.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2009, 04:12:29 AM
 ::)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on May 30, 2009, 05:09:02 AM
The Swafford Ives biography is one of the most engaging composer biographies that I have read and his love of Ives music is palpable on each page (which I think is vital to really good musical criticism and biography). Highly recommended.


The Carter/Ives link is a very interesting one and one on which much has been said (in this thread even I think). Carter's criticism of Ives work has always struck me as a rather large knife in the back of the artist who has clearly influenced him the most, and his famous accusations against Ives I think speak more of him as much as they might do of Ives - clearly he wanted to separate himself and lessen the impact of the great man - understandable for an artist trying to find his own voice of course, but they need to be seen for what they are and not taken as historical fact. The main difference between Ives and Carter of course is that Carter has never found any use for quotation - the fact that he compares so much music to fascism  and war (minimalism for instance)tells me that the tonal music of 'yesteryear' means the war and pre-war years for him - the supression of modernism and individualism and the homogenising and controlling of ideas and people. He is not at all sentimental or nostalgic type I think.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2009, 05:39:25 AM
Well said, Guido, as always. The "knife" of which you speak may indeed have been psychologically motivated. The idea has certainly been raised before. Carter's lifelong ambiguity towards Ives's achivement certainly speaks to seomthing going on at deeper level than just an aesthetic differnce.

It should be noted, however, that when Carter talked about Ives's revisions to his scores, "jacking up" the level of dissonance and so forth, he was careful to state that he regarded it as a secondary issue. He never accused Ives of dishonesty, and he was quick to point out that what mattered is what the music was actually doing, not when it was written. Of course, no one heeded that caveat in the ensuing battle over Ives's chronology.

Carter has never rejected tonal music per se, and he has said that his favorite music is Mozart's three da Ponte operas, but he has expressed distate for the way tonality has been handled by younger composers. He believes they have not properly learned counterpoint or the ways changes in key relate to one another. In short, if they want to imitate Mozart, they simply have to do a better job.

As for the quotations, Carter once said that Ives too often let the quotation stand without comment, or something to that effect. In his book, All Made of Tunes, Burkholder says this statement betrays a lack of understanding of the use to which Ives put his quotations. Odd to accuse someone as sophisticated as Carter of naivete, but it does point up the difference of opinion on the matter.

Carter's music is never nostalgic (Figment No. 2, Remembering Mr. Ives, is a significant exception), but you're right to say he absorbed more from Ives than proabably from any other composer. I have said in the past that the Concerto for Orchestra would not have been feasible without the example of the second movement of the Ives #4. Listen to them back to back sometime: you'll hear a similarity of argument. Carter's piece is more fully worked out, and more schematic in the use of the orchestra, and there's certainly no attempt on his part to copy Ives, but the projection, the arc of the discourse, is similar in both pieces. The similarity is most evident in the finales: a big, tumultuous bang followed by a breaking up, ending in a diminuendo--sudden in Ives's case,  gradual in Carter's.

The example of The Fourth of July also shows up in several big pieces from the middle period, particualrly the Piano Concerto.

I remember once speaking to Anne Schreffler (editor of Carter's letters), and she said that for all their differenes, Carter is the one composer who is carrying on what she called "The Ives Project," by which she meant the expression of the multiplicity of life through music.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on May 30, 2009, 05:54:42 AM
Didn't know the caveat I am ashamed to say... But thanks for that post - all fascinating stuff.

I'll listen to the concerto for orchestra in that context next time (what a wonderful piece that is!).
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on May 30, 2009, 06:05:05 AM
Just as an aside - this thread is a bastion of thoughtfulness on this forum. Ives more than any other composer really makes me think - about life, relationships, beauty.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2009, 06:09:29 AM
Just as an aside - this thread is a bastion of thoughtfulness on this forum. Ives more than any other composer really makes me think - about life, relationships, beauty.

I always thought that I just liked weird stuff.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on May 30, 2009, 09:36:22 AM
Just as an aside - this thread is a bastion of thoughtfulness on this forum. Ives more than any other composer really makes me think - about life, relationships, beauty.

Great comment, and I could agree with this.  For many years Ives was my favorite composer of all.  When I first heard some of those Bernstein/New York Philharmonic recordings from the 1960s I was completely transported.  (I still have many of the original LPs, which I am unwilling to part with.) 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on May 30, 2009, 12:20:25 PM
Great comment, and I could agree with this.  For many years Ives was my favorite composer of all.  When I first heard some of those Bernstein/New York Philharmonic recordings from the 1960s I was completely transported.  (I still have many of the original LPs, which I am unwilling to part with.) 

--Bruce

Have you fallen out of love, or just grown up out of the loving one composer above all others?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on May 30, 2009, 12:26:25 PM
He-he...the latter.  ;D  If I have a "top ten list" he's still on it, for sure. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 01:25:52 PM
The Fourth live at Symphony Hall was such a wonderful impression, I haven't brought myself to revisiting it on CD.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 19, 2009, 03:10:38 PM
Just saw this - the 114 songs are on IMSLP which is great. I have my own copy of course, but am glad to have them available wherever and whenever!

Happy exploring!

http://imslp.org/wiki/114_Songs_%28Ives%2C_Charles%29
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 22, 2009, 07:32:17 AM
I hadn't remembered until just this week that Mary Bell, the recipient of my Ives envelope, was interviewed in Vivian Perlis' great book, Charles Ives Remembered. In the interview, Bell provides chronology of relationship with Ives. She first met in him Berlin in the summer of 1932 and first sang his songs in Hamburg in the December of that year. The envelope I have, with its cancellation of Nov. 28, 1931, predates all that. Bell says she wrote to Ives first, and he wrote back saying he was sending her a copy of his songs — probably under separate cover, though this is unclear from the interview. My envelope might therefore have contained Ives’s first letter to Bell or another early letter saying he was coming to Europe.

The Iveses' trip to Europe in the early lasted nearly a year: they stayed in England, Germany and Italy.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 22, 2009, 07:43:17 AM
I have been pondering the song Grantchester and whether Ives visited the place (near Cambridge, England) during his vacationing... Cambridge is a popular tourist spot, and is near to London - do we know if he went there?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 22, 2009, 11:37:59 AM
I have been pondering the song Grantchester and whether Ives visited the place (near Cambridge, England) during his vacationing... Cambridge is a popular tourist spot, and is near to London - do we know if he went there?

God, you people are never satisifed ...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 23, 2009, 03:12:20 AM
What the snark?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 23, 2009, 06:51:35 AM
What the snark?

Well, I give you some great info, and you want more. You just take, take, take. I mean, good Lord, I'm only one man.  ;)

I really don't know any of Ives's English itinerary. You might check the Swafford bio. When I have time later this week, I'll go through some of my other books. I do know he visited the Abbey Road Studios in London, where he recorded the Alcotts and the Emerson transcriptions. I'm sure you've seen the classic photo of Ives, Cowell, Ruggles and John Becker walking across the street single file. There were all sorts of little clues in it that led to rumors Ruggles had died.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Egebedieff on June 23, 2009, 10:54:27 AM
I have been pondering the song Grantchester and whether Ives visited the place (near Cambridge, England) during his vacationing... Cambridge is a popular tourist spot, and is near to London - do we know if he went there?

Pity there's no Rupert Brook nearby.

Googled snippets apropos Darwin beetle searching and Grantchester

"Archdeacon Watkins, another old college friend of my father's, remembers him unearthing beetles in the willows between Cambridge and Grantchester, and speaks of a certain beetle the the remembrance of whose name is Crux major"

    ‘"But no pursuit at Cambridge was followed with nearly so much eagerness or gave me so much pleasure as collecting beetles. It was the mere passion for collecting, for I did not dissect them and rarely compared their external characters with published descriptions, but got them named anyhow. I will give a proof of my zeal: one day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as well as the third one."’

    ‘"I must tell you what happened to me on the banks of the Cam in my early entomological days; under a piece of bark I found two carabi (I forget which) & caught one in each hand, when lo & behold I saw a sacred Panagæus crux major; I could not bear to give up either of my Carabi, & to lose Panagæus was out of the question, so that in despair I gently seized one of the carabi between my teeth, when to my unspeakable disgust & pain the little inconsiderate beast squirted his acid down my throat & I lost both Carabi & Panagus!"’

'
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on June 23, 2009, 03:57:38 PM
Well, I give you some great info, and you want more. You just take, take, take. I mean, good Lord, I'm only one man.  ;)

I really don't know any of Ives's English itinerary. You might check the Swafford bio. When I have time later this week, I'll go through some of my other books. I do know he visited the Abbey Road Studios in London, where he recorded the Alcotts and the Emerson transcriptions. I'm sure you've seen the classic photo of Ives, Cowell, Ruggles and John Becker walking across the street single file. There were all sorts of little clues in it that led to rumors Ruggles had died.

For a second there you had me you old rogue!
Pity there's no Rupert Brook nearby.

Googled snippets apropos Darwin beetle searching and Grantchester

"Archdeacon Watkins, another old college friend of my father's, remembers him unearthing beetles in the willows between Cambridge and Grantchester, and speaks of a certain beetle the the remembrance of whose name is Crux major"

    ‘"But no pursuit at Cambridge was followed with nearly so much eagerness or gave me so much pleasure as collecting beetles. It was the mere passion for collecting, for I did not dissect them and rarely compared their external characters with published descriptions, but got them named anyhow. I will give a proof of my zeal: one day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as well as the third one."’

    ‘"I must tell you what happened to me on the banks of the Cam in my early entomological days; under a piece of bark I found two carabi (I forget which) & caught one in each hand, when lo & behold I saw a sacred Panagæus crux major; I could not bear to give up either of my Carabi, & to lose Panagæus was out of the question, so that in despair I gently seized one of the carabi between my teeth, when to my unspeakable disgust & pain the little inconsiderate beast squirted his acid down my throat & I lost both Carabi & Panagus!"’

'

Such a good story! Darwin is one of my heroes - one of the great scientists who intelligent though he was, was not preternaturally gifted or a genius in an obvious sense (like Newton or Einstein were) - he did rather badly at Cambridge - instead he relied on passion, hard work, clear thinking and determination to pull him through. Is Ives a similar figure? hmm...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on June 23, 2009, 05:26:47 PM
For a second there you had me you old rogue!

Old? Quel snark!

(The thing about Ives playing piano at Abbey Road studios is true, though.)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Egebedieff on June 24, 2009, 01:39:43 AM
...Grantchester...
Even though I had performed this decades ago, I hadn't known the whole Rupert Brooke poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester. from which Ives extracted the text for the song.
http://www.bartleby.com/232/701.html

It is interesting to note that the Brooke poem shares much with the song and Ives's music in general -- the shift of styles with the hot Berlin Cafe as a foil for all of the pastorale musings about Granchester, and the getting caught up in the swing of the lines about the flaws of the folks in various villages and their inferiority to the folks in Grantchester:

And of that district I prefer   
The lovely hamlet Grantchester.   
For Cambridge people rarely smile,          80
Being urban, squat, and packed with guile;   
And Royston men in the far South   
Are black and fierce and strange of mouth;   
At Over they fling oaths at one,   
And worse than oaths at Trumpington,          85
And Ditton girls are mean and dirty,   
And there’s none in Harston under thirty,   
And folks in Shelford and those parts   
Have twisted lips and twisted hearts,   
And Barton men make Cockney rhymes,...

But a more curious similar trait is that it is uses different languages (Greek and German) and language styles, like Ives (macaronic, a word you encounter w/ Pound). So Ives matches the classical reference of the bit of Greek Brooke throws in eiqe genoimhn (It is pretty much the Greek for the English that follows, but I assume it to be a classical reference, anybody know?) that prefaces Ives's extract with the Debussy quote.

Curious to know more about how the song came to be. '
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on July 06, 2009, 06:45:01 AM
The Swafford Ives biography is one of the most engaging composer biographies that I have read and his love of Ives music is palpable on each page (which I think is vital to really good musical criticism and biography). Highly recommended.

Duly noted.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on July 20, 2009, 12:51:10 PM
I just got that The Light That is Felt CD - Susan Narucki and Donald Behrman singing a wonderful selection of Ives Songs. I can't quite express how brilliant this collection is - and its probably my favourite Ives song CD since DeGaetini/Kalish recording. Truly wonderful - both artists are just superb - beauty emmanates from every bar.

I've also just ordered this CD:
(http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/richmedia/images/cover.gif)

http://www.amazon.com/Variations-America-Samuel-Barber/dp/B0024JQNB0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1248126507&sr=8-1

which contains a couple of Fugues for Organ (I imagine from his student days) which I haven't heard before. Also An early Prelude and Fugue by Barber which has never been recorded before. A very good repertoire selection as far as I can see - can't wait to hear it.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: The new erato on August 06, 2009, 10:48:16 AM
Guess whose symphonies now are on Hyperions halfprice sale? For a few days only..........
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 03, 2009, 09:13:05 AM
I just realised that halfway through the Housatonic at Stockbridge, the last of the Three Places in New England, there's a harp part that comes in at the same time as the Celeste - it's marked ppp imperceptibly so understandibly is hardly audible in most recordings I have of it (apart from the Leonard Slatkin/St Louis Symphony recording), but it's an extraordinarily beautiful part, and apparently also exceptionally difficult. If you can get a score try and play it at the piano.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 07, 2009, 03:51:49 AM
New Ives disc on the way

http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559370

Sinclair's recording of the remaining movements of Holidays and also a premiere performance of the Overture in G and I think possibly the General Slocum too. Looking forward to it.

(He's recording Symphony no.4 in 2010)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 07, 2009, 06:58:41 AM
Odd, it doesn't include Washington's Birthday. I know Sinclair has recorded it before, but if we want to hear the whole Holidays straight through, what are we supposed to do---switch disks? I don't like these Ives recordings where all we get is fragments.

The Fourth Symphony sounds exicting--if, of course, he plays it straight through and doesn't litter it with another bunch of Porter's "realizations."
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on September 07, 2009, 08:37:36 AM
Well remember that the Holidays is actually just a collection of tone poems, there's no particular line of symphonic thought linking them - I personally enjoy them better separately than back to back, but they would get far fewer outings if they weren't grouped as a symphony like they are, so I'm not going to complain!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on September 07, 2009, 09:07:56 AM
Well remember that the Holidays is actually just a collection of tone poems, there's no particular line of symphonic thought linking them - I personally enjoy them better separately than back to back, but they would get far fewer outings if they weren't grouped as a symphony like they are, so I'm not going to complain!

Yeah, but if you're going to do three, why not just take the extra step and do them all? It's like buying a car with three tires. I prefer to hear all the movements back to back, in order. There may be no line of symphonic thought linking them --- Ives objected to the idea that it wasn't really a symphony, by the way --- they do make up a larger, single tone poem, an American "Seasons": Washington's Birthday is winter, Decoration Day is spring, Fourth of July summer, and Thanksgiving fall. There's a satisfaction and a logic in hearing them all together, and I would at least like to be given the option. We could have programed our Cd players to do all four movements in succession --- provided that all four movements were actually on the disk.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Bogey on October 02, 2009, 05:38:50 AM
I did not know the gentleman at the right of my avatar had a connection:

http://www.americancomposers.org/raksin_herrmann.htm
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 30, 2009, 08:24:01 AM
Am I the only person who prefers "the Celestial Railroad" to Hawthorne? They're closely related of course, as well as the Comedy of the Fourth Symphony (which I also prefer to Hawthorne), but the former piece is more beautiful and satisfying to my ears - I've always thought Hawthorne was one of the most austere of all of Ives' movements (not a sleight on it particularly, I think it's meant to be), phantasmagorical though it might be.

I cannot get enough of that early Fugue on Shining Shore in four keys - this recording specifically where it is very atmospheric and sensitively played:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/ives/CD_Sets_and_other_works_Remembrance_Koch.jpg)

That final string cluster is as final as any perfect cadence I've ever heard, especially in this recording.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 30, 2009, 09:25:08 AM
Am I the only person who prefers "the Celestial Railroad" to Hawthorne?

Yes.

BTW, I will be in Danbury tomorrow for Charles Ives Day: visit pine Mountain, the Ives homestead, and gravesite with a concert in the afternoon by the Danbury Ragtag Orchestra. Sunday afternoon there will be a ful-blown concert by the Danbury Symphony Orchestra (who knew there was such a thing?) playing the Symphony no. 2. Not my favorite Ives,  but since I'm there... and it's all free.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on October 30, 2009, 09:37:31 AM
BTW, I will be in Danbury tomorrow fro Charles Ives Day: visit pine Mountain, the Ives homestead, and gravesite with a concert in the afternoon by the Danbury Ragtag Orchestra. Sunday afternoon there will be a ful-blown concert by the Danbury Symphony Orchestra (who knew there was such a thing?) playing the Symphony no. 2. Not my favorite Ives,  but since I'm there... and it's all free.

This sounds marvelous, Joe.  And even if the Danbury ensemble isn't world-class, they could turn out to be pretty good.  (I'm thinking, yet again, of all the very fine semi-pro musicians out there, filling up orchestras all over the country.)

Do report, please!

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 30, 2009, 09:54:46 AM
Normally, they do Ives day the weekend before his birthday, but they pushed it back this year to coincide with the concert. I'm trying to get my sister and b-in-law to go with me. program will also include the Hebrides overture and the Enigma Variations.

Bruce, the performance can't be any worse than the one I heard in Danbury in 1974. Bernstein conducted the American Symphony Orchestra, and I won't say they butchered it, but it was pretty ragged. I guess is his gestures weren't very clear, and I remember some wrong notes and late entrances. It wsn;t the orcestra, either. MTT cnducted the second half of the program, in more difficult pieces, and they were fine.

Speaking of MTT, has anybody else seen his "Keeping Score" program on the Holidays Symphony? It's made for beginners, and I dislike having the conductor's analysis substitute for my own, but it was a nice, basic guide to the music, and I did learn one or two things.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brahmsian on October 30, 2009, 10:02:06 AM
Speaking of MTT, has anybody else seen his "Keeping Score" program on the Holidays Symphony? It's made for beginners, and I dislike having the conductor's analysis substitute for my own, but it was a nice, basic guide to the music, and I did learn one or two things.


I missed it unfortunately, Joe.  Would have liked to see the one on the 'Holidays Symphony', as it is a work I'm not familiar with.  I also missed last night's 'Keeping Score' on Shostakovich's 5th symphony.  :(  I enjoyed the ones I have seen on 'Symphonie Fantastique', 'The Rite of Spring', and the 'Eroica' symphony.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Wendell_E on November 01, 2009, 05:23:39 AM
I missed it unfortunately, Joe.  Would have liked to see the one on the 'Holidays Symphony', as it is a work I'm not familiar with.  I also missed last night's 'Keeping Score' on Shostakovich's 5th symphony.  :(  I enjoyed the ones I have seen on 'Symphonie Fantastique', 'The Rite of Spring', and the 'Eroica' symphony.

Several of them, including the 'Holidays Symphony' and Shostakovich 5th, are/will be available on DVD.  Not something I'd probably buy, but might rent them from Netflix, though currently the only one they list is one on the Tchaikovsky 4th.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on November 01, 2009, 05:11:41 PM
Yes.

It appears that way. But as an Ivesian I don't mind - when faced with consensus and discouragement, the question Are my ears on wrong? is always pertinent (at least when it comes to Ives...)  :D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on December 04, 2009, 11:21:59 AM
I realize I haven't written anything about my trip to Danbury the weekend of Oct. 31. Not much to say about it really, except that when we were visiting the Ives family plots at Wooster Cemetery, Nancy Sudik, our tour guide, told us about for Saranne (Sally) Ives Wilkes, Moss's daughter, who is still living and in her late eighties. Her stone, with the date of death blank, waits for her in a row of newer stones nearer the road than those of the family founders. Sally visits by Nancy's office at the Danbury Music Center occasionally, and she once told Nancy that all of the Iveses were "stuffy" --- all of them, that is, except Uncle Charlie and Aunt Harmony.

On Sunday, Nov. 1, the Danbury Symphony (with Nancy in the horn section) played the Ives No. 2 on a program that also included the Hebrides Overture and the Enigma Variations. Ariel Rudiakov conducted. It was a tight, rousing performance, and a lot of fun, despite some intonation problems in the strings. Not my favorite Ives -- the alter music is that --- but always worth a listen. (One of the musicians told me afterwards that she asked a violinist if she could hit all the notes, and the violinist replied, "If I could hit all the notes, I would have had a very different life.") This is an ingenious, a brilliant feat of contrapuntal engineering, and to my mind, the best nationalistic-romantic symphony every written by an American. Here Ives was doing what Dvorak suggested that Americans do --- apply indigenous materials to a large-scale Germanic format. (He did not, however, use African American or native American music, as Dvorak suggested, because they were not fundamental  to his own experience. Rather, he used the tunes he grew up with. Nationalism in this Dvorakian sense was actually foreign to Ives. To base a symphony on an arbitrary selection of local, indigenous materials was, to his mind, a form of manner, and ultimately phony.) But the music lacks depth. Ives doesn't scale the transcendental heights here that he did in his later work, and to do that, he had to move away from European models of form.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on December 04, 2009, 12:20:00 PM
I realize I haven't written anything about my trip to Danbury the weekend of Oct. 31. Not much to say about it really, except that when we were visiting the Ives family plots at Wooster Cemetery, Nancy Sudik, our tour guide, told us about for Saranne (Sally) Ives Wilkes, Moss's daughter, who is still living and in her late eighties. Her stone, with the date of death blank, waits for her in a row of newer stones nearer the road than those of the family founders. Sally visits by Nancy's office at the Danbury Music Center occasionally, and she once told Nancy that all of the Iveses were "stuffy" --- all of them, that is, except Uncle Charlie and Aunt Harmony.

On Sunday, Nov. 1, the Danbury Symphony (with Nancy in the horn section) played the Ives No. 2 on a program that also included the Hebrides Overture and the Enigma Variations. Ariel Rudiakov conducted. It was a tight, rousing performance, and a lot of fun, despite some intonation problems in the strings. Not my favorite Ives -- the alter music is that --- but always worth a listen. (One of the musicians told me afterwards that she asked a violinist if she could hit all the notes, and the violinist replied, "If I could hit all the notes, I would have had a very different life.") This is an ingenious, a brilliant feat of contrapuntal engineering, and to my mind, the best nationalistic-romantic symphony every written by an American. Here Ives was doing what Dvorak suggested that Americans do --- apply indigenous materials to a large-scale Germanic format. (He did not, however, use African American or native American music, as Dvorak suggested, because they were not fundamental  to his own experience. Rather, he used the tunes he grew up with. Nationalism in this Dvorakian sense was actually foreign to Ives. To base a symphony on an arbitrary selection of local, indigenous materials was, to his mind, a form of manner, and ultimately phony.) But the music lacks depth. Ives doesn't scale the transcendental heights here that he did in his later work, and to do that, he had to move away from European models of form.

Great post Joe.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on December 04, 2009, 12:37:16 PM
(http://musicalcriticism.com/recordings/cd-naxos-ives.jpg)

The newly realized 3rd Orchestral set is an emotional experience to listen to for the first time, and puts me at a place of rest and reflection, as this impressionistic work opens the memory and imagination, and the daydreams start to flash on things remembered and wished for hopes.

In the liners Jan Swafford writes that "The Third Orchestral Set may stand as the most profound discovery of the many and ongoing efforts to reconstruct uncompleted Ives works," and I would have to agree wholeheartedly.  James Sinclair and the Malmo Symphony are successful in executing these difficult, meandering scores, and bringing interest in the instrumental details heard everywhere within the sound picture.  In this 3rd Orchestral set there are rare moments of intensity in volume, and the mood remains meditative and quiet in each piece, with the second movement slightly more agitated in character.

I like the fact that Ives, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern called their orchestral suites "sets" or "Pieces for orchestra" rather than stick the "symphony" label on these pieces.  Sorry to generalize somewhat, but around the beginning of the 20th century, the "finale problem" didn't seem to be an issue.  By labeling these works as "sets" one was free to make interesting pieces for orchestra without an apparent direction...of course I can't speak for the composers here, but in the orchestral pieces by the composers named above, I don't usually sense a "movement" towards a traditional ending, or culmination, at least in the case of Ives, who appears more concerned with a soundscape than narrative, paradoxical as this may seem when one reads the narrative titles of many of these pieces for orchestra.  The dropping of the finale creates other interesting structural possibilities for a subtler approach, or an ambiguity that could be created for the sake of varied expression, such as heard in Ives' orchestral sets as heard here.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on December 04, 2009, 01:01:09 PM
Very thoughtful post, though I must confess I don't care for the recording of the Third Orchestral Set. (My review appears at Amazon.) I find the piece rather diffuse, without the concentration and the drive that make the Second Orchestral Set co compelling. I've been told that every note in the last section is Ives's, and that may be the problem. He never finished the work, and we don't know how many more layers of layers he might have added. The piece as it stands seems thin.  Since it is not really Ives, to my ears, I have to wonder just what people who say they like this piece see in Ives to begin with. Maybe I like his other work for the wrong reasons.
 
It's time to stop picking Ives's bones in hope of finding one more reconstruction. 
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on December 04, 2009, 03:40:46 PM
Very thoughtful post, though I must confess I don't care for the recording of the Third Orchestral Set. (My review appears at Amazon.) I find the piece rather diffuse, without the concentration and the drive that make the Second Orchestral Set co compelling. I've been told that every note in the last section is Ives's, and that may be the problem. He never finished the work, and we don't know how many more layers of layers he might have added. The piece as it stands seems thin.  Since it is not really Ives, to my ears, I have to wonder just what people who say they like this piece see in Ives to begin with. Maybe I like his other work for the wrong reasons.
 
It's time to stop picking Ives's bones in hope of finding one more reconstruction.

Thanks for your comments, and I understand your criticisms, and your thoughts have made me wonder what I listen for in Ives' music...

Usually I am led to his impressionism, sense of mysterious dissonance and sense of aching nostalgia of which I strongly identify with day by day...and generally his slower movements (of his mature work such as the Emerson movement, or 1st and last movements of his 4th, and totality of the Holidays Symphony) are his most impressive achievements for my taste...and his mature work has a certain kind of slow or moderate pacing that lets his ideas grow organically as if one was in deep meditation or thought.

I also appreciate and love the variety of his ideas in sound textures involving his songs, which allow a huge variety of expression like a kind of personal journey on the earth not taken for granted.  There is a sense of humour too, as if he is not so concerned with originality or serious purpose or having a personal style, since he covers so much territory in his songs and seems to be having fun at it too.

Also, over the last few years I have found a tendency to be led to his youthful works, such as the 1st and 2nd Symphonies and 1st String Quartet, of which I'm turning to more when I want to hear his music.  Here we have more conventional forms, and perhaps because of my love for late romanticism his works in this form really click for me, and plus, there is still a sense of freedom and "devil may care" abandon in those works I mention.

I am sure there are no wrong reasons, but I would be interested to know what you search for in Ives...I will look for your review on Amazon as that may explain what you look for.

It is definitely not an easy thing to put into words!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Scarpia on February 21, 2010, 09:22:37 AM
I have had this one in my collection for some time but just listened to it day.

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/6f/5b/248681b0c8a07ba3818da110.L.jpg)

So far have listened to the Mennin and Ives Three Places in New England.  I found the Ives interesting.  The bit with two marching  bands superimposed didn't really fascinate me, but the spectral first movement and atmospheric third movement were beautifully done.  I need to listen to more Ives, which means - except for the other Ives piece on this disc - I have to buy more Ives.  I think I will go with the Dohnanyi/Cleveland.
 
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Spotswood on February 21, 2010, 10:38:05 AM
I have to buy more Ives.  I think I will go with the Dohnanyi/Cleveland.

I'd recommend Tilson Thomas.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 21, 2010, 11:30:36 AM
me too.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on April 18, 2010, 04:31:10 PM
Remind me to mention this microtonal recording of the SQ No.2. I was comparing to the Walden, on YouTube, and, the way these new folks play it (Pythagorean stuff), the dissonences seem to just melt away. However, my suspicions that microtonal music just sounds 'depressing' were not taken away by this recording. Bizarre!

Maybe we need to find that microtonal thread, cause I've got some venting to do.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on April 18, 2010, 11:14:08 PM
Remind me to mention this microtonal recording of the SQ No.2. I was comparing to the Walden, on YouTube, and, the way these new folks play it (Pythagorean stuff), the dissonences seem to just melt away. However, my suspicions that microtonal music just sounds 'depressing' were not taken away by this recording. Bizarre!

Maybe we need to find that microtonal thread, cause I've got some venting to do.

The String Quartet doesn't contain microtones...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: The new erato on April 19, 2010, 05:19:38 AM
The String Quartet doesn't contain microtones...
Depends on the players.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on April 19, 2010, 09:39:35 AM
The String Quartet doesn't contain microtones...

Is not this piece written strangely, with a lot of double flats and sharps? I think what this performance aims to do (I don't have it in front of me), or, what the guy here discovered, is that, if you play the doubles as micro-intervals instead of complete semi-tones, you get what we have in this performance. Pythagorean-something-or-other,... yeilding 19 (?) tones to the scale. Does that make sense?

Either way, there is a definite difference aurally. The sharp edges of the Walden 1949 performance gives way to the more muddy (yet clear) textures of the Flux Quartet performance.

Can anyone else comment?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Dax on April 19, 2010, 09:39:54 AM
It's this recording in which extended Pythagorean tuning is used.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/pitchrecs3
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: listener on April 19, 2010, 11:24:16 PM
Is not this piece written strangely, with a lot of double flats and sharps? I think what this performance aims to do (I don't have it in front of me), or, what the guy here discovered, is that, if you play the doubles as micro-intervals instead of complete semi-tones, you get what we have in this performance. Pythagorean-something-or-other,... yeilding 19 (?) tones to the scale. Does that make sense?
Either way, there is a definite difference aurally. The sharp edges of the Walden 1949 performance gives way to the more muddy (yet clear) textures of the Flux Quartet performance.

Can anyone else comment?
Not a single double flat or double sharp in the 26 pages.   Here's a scan  of a couple of the busier pages

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on April 21, 2010, 08:45:31 AM
Not a single double flat or double sharp in the 26 pages.   Here's a scan  of a couple of the busier pages

I finally got the notes here:

"While Ives'(s?) music can be very dissonant in equal temperament, it was discovered by Johnny Reinhard that there was a different intent by the composer, ideally, in producing the intonation. This performance by the Flux Quartet makes use of extended Pythagean tuning, giving 21 specific notes. The intonation change dramatically increases the powerful impact the music has on a listener and we are pleased to present the first such recording for commercial release."

So that's what they're doing, however it is they do do.

I got the Emerson from the library and will do an intensive compare, and get back.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on April 21, 2010, 11:43:36 PM
So far have listened to the Mennin and Ives Three Places in New England.  I found the Ives interesting.  The bit with two marching  bands superimposed didn't really fascinate me, but the spectral first movement and atmospheric third movement were beautifully done. 

Although Ives technical and musical innovations are remarkable, they are really not at all the point of the music and too much shallow commentary focuses on this aspect. I'm glad you liked the first and third of the three places - they're just gorgeous and moving for me in a way that very very few other pieces are. In the second movement it's the affekt rather than the effect which is important - the exuberance, manicness and sheer life that he depicts here is quite overwhelming - one needs to remember that virtually all of Ives music is in some way programme music.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on April 22, 2010, 05:43:52 PM
Besides the SQ, I finally got the Metzmacher 'Portrait of Charles Ives' on EMI.

WOW!! This is now one of my fav recordings. I can totally see where Zappa came from here. The notes talk about Ives beating out rhythms on the piano, and surely this music sounds like it was written by a percussionist. The one piece, mmm, 'Down the Pavements'??, that, that sounds like music I would compose.

What a revelation!

I know this is re=released with Marni Nixon songs, but I BELIEVE SOME OF THIS ALBUM IS MISSING.

Awesome! Instant Desert Island.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 24, 2010, 06:43:25 AM
It's this recording in which extended Pythagorean tuning is used.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/pitchrecs3

I finally got this recording and discuss it on my blog, here. (http://liberateddissonance.blogspot.com/)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Franco on May 24, 2010, 07:18:51 AM
I finally got this recording and discuss it on my blog, here. (http://liberateddissonance.blogspot.com/)

Fascinating information, and a very nice blog entry - many thanks.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on May 30, 2010, 05:52:08 PM
A follow up to the Second Quartet thing on my blog (http://liberateddissonance.blogspot.com/).

Johnny Reinhard sent me an e-mail. He seems like a nice guy. Almost sorry I was so hard on him.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Martin Lind on July 12, 2010, 02:13:35 PM
I need some advice for Charles Ives. I have the 1st symphony, Robert Browning overture and 2nd orchestral set and unanswered question with Chicago Symphony orchestra with Morton Gould ( RCA) , 2nd and 3rd symphony Bernstein (Sony), 4th symphony Ozawa and three places Thomas (DG). Holidays symphony with Hausschild ( Berlin Classics). The celestial country with Cleobury ( Collins)

This was my collection so far but recently I bought the string quartetts from Naxos and the 2nd piano sonata also from Naxos. I was disappointed by the Blair quartett and I was not very enthusiastic about the piano sonata (  but this may change)

So what to buy next? Naxos has a lot recordings and they are less expensive but my last experiences were not very good. I know some works from LP times ( I can't hear them any longer) and I know there is still alot, for example the violin sonatas and the piano trio was great, but for example I have never listened to the songs, what I would like to do.

What are your recommendations?

Regards
Martin
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on July 12, 2010, 02:41:26 PM
Glad you're exploring this wonderful composer - He's one of my all time favourites and its always good to have another Ivesian around.

For the songs you can do no better than start here - one of the finest song recitals ever recorded IMHO:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000005IVT/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1278977434&sr=8-1
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uUGkAlOaL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

The piano trio - I think the finest version by miles is on a Yo-Yo Ma CD of American works.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5197HQXZEXL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

For the Concord Sonata, I still like this version:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BERCDBNXL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
which is just spectacular. The Barber Sonata is well played too though not my favourite account on record.

For the violin sonatas I have the naxos version which conveniently puts all four on 1 disc. The playing is very good - I'm certainly not wanting for another version, but then for me the sonatas aren't his greatest works.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ETuHzfWpL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
I'm sure people will give you other recommendations too.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Martin Lind on July 12, 2010, 03:17:55 PM
Hi Guido

alas, the song cycle is only available as a Download in Germany and I hate Downloads. But the Yo yo Ma CDs is accessible and reasonable priced.

I know Ives for a very long time. When I was a young man they brought all his symphonies in German radio. I recorded that and since then I was a devotee to Ives. I listened to his symphonies, his piano sonatas, his piano trio, his string quartetts and his violin sonatas and other works.

Strangely enough my first enthusiasm for Ives somehow became less great then it was in the first time, but I think I should revive it. Therefore my questions.

What about the 6 volumes of Ives songs made by Naxos. Are they any good?

Regards
Martin
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on July 12, 2010, 04:10:49 PM
Martin, a CD called "When the Moon" (http://www.amazon.com/When-Moon-Song-Sets-Orchestra/dp/B00004SDRG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1278983534&sr=1-1) combines some of the songs in both voice-piano and chamber orchestra versions. Susan Narucki is the soprano soloist.  Out of print, but still available at Amazon, used or new. It's a beautiful recording that contains some of Ives's best music, in my humble opinion. My own five-star recommendation.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on July 12, 2010, 04:40:38 PM
Yes, When the moon is very fine.

Haven't listened to the Naxos Ives songs but they didn't recieve universally good reviews, and they are somewhat illogically ordered. There's a good set of all the songs on 4 CDs starting early going to late (and greatest songs):
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Songs-Charles-Ives-Vol/dp/B0000049ML
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Songs-Charles-Ives-3/dp/B0000049MM/ref=pd_bxgy_m_img_c
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Songs-Charles-Ives-Vol/dp/B0000049MN/ref=pd_bxgy_m_img_b

You can ship to germany very easily from england using amazon - I hugely recommend the DeGaetani disc I mentioned above - its only £6 second hand, postage may be 4 Euros or so, I'm not sure, but it's worth it!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on July 12, 2010, 04:51:05 PM
I second Guido's recommendation on the Albany set. I have it and like it very much, esp. Vol. 4.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on July 14, 2010, 04:47:02 PM
I like a lot of Charles Ives' music, especially the symphonies. I think Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 are two of the best American symphonies ever composed.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on July 15, 2010, 05:38:20 AM

If you want the convenience of both pieces on the same CD, at a reasonable price & adequatelly conducted, try Leonard Bernstein:

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/IvesBernstein.jpg)
 [/quote]

I adore this CD - mainly for the shorter pieces - there's so much atmosphere in each one. Still my favourite Central Park and Unanswered Question, and also my favourite version of the far less recorded but equally beautiful and atmospheric Hymn: Largo Cantabile.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 08, 2010, 04:26:56 PM
Here (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/arts/music/03denk.html?_r=1) is a recent interview with Jeremy Denk, who has just released a recordinng Ives's two piano sonatas.

It's not really very interesting, and this statement distubed me: “Mr. Denk argues that the Ives sonatas, composed early in the 20th century, are mistakenly categorized as avant-garde works rather than ‘epic Romantic sonatas with Lisztian thematic transformations.’”

It would be enough to make me give up on Ives altogether if Denk's playing weren't more insightful than his commentary. I was glad to see the writer contradicted him.

It should be pointed out, howver, that Elliott Carter, in his mixed review of the Concord in 1939, said much the same thing, only with disapproval: "... it is basically conventional, not unlike the Liszt Sonata, full of the paraphernalia of the overdressy sonata school ..." Which was also nearly enough to make me give up on Ives. So what to a critic is overdressy is epic to a friend. Problem is, I don't like Liszt, and I do like Ives, and I don't like to think they have much in common.

I searched for the Denk CD at Amazon, but it was unavailable, and they say they don't know when it will be. Typical.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Cato on October 08, 2010, 05:08:11 PM
Here (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/arts/music/03denk.html?_r=1) is a recent interview with Jeremy Denk, who has just released a recording Ives's two piano sonatas.

It's not really very interesting, and this statement distubed me: “Mr. Denk argues that the Ives sonatas, composed early in the 20th century, are mistakenly categorized as avant-garde works rather than ‘epic Romantic sonatas with Lisztian thematic transformations.’”

It would be enough to make me give up on Ives altogether if Denk's playing weren't more insightful than his commentary. I was glad to see the writer contradicted him.

It should be pointed out, howver, that Elliott Carter, in his mixed review of the Concord in 1939, said much the same thing, only with disapproval: "... it is basically conventional, not unlike the Liszt Sonata, full of the paraphernalia of the overdressy sonata school ..." Which was also nearly enough to make me give up on Ives. So what to a critic is overdressy is epic to a friend. Problem is, I don't like Liszt, and I do like Ives, and I don't like to think they have much in common.

I searched for the Denk CD at Amazon, but it was unavailable, and they say they don't know when it will be. Typical.

40 years ago, the ultimate interpreter of the Concord Sonata was (according to many) John Kirkpatrick.

I am astonished that no CD of his recording is available: somebody is offering a vinyl LP for c. $30.00 on Amazon.

See:

http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/1975/michaelsteinbergreview_kirkpatrick/ (http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/1975/michaelsteinbergreview_kirkpatrick/)

An excerpt:

Quote
Various events have been cited as crucial to the recognition of Ives in the profession (how tough that was!) and by the public, notably his 1947 Pulitzer Prize for the Third Symphony, 43 years old but unperformed until April 1946. But the single moment when the tide turned was surely John Kirkpatrick's Town Hall recital Jan. 20 1939, when Lawrence Gilman responded in the Herald-Tribune by calling it "the greatest music composed by an American, and the most deeply and essentially American in impulse and implication." Kirkpatrick played the Sonata in Concord later that year, and no, having him back again, the cause won, made something altogether special of the concert. It was, however, far more than a sentimental occasion: the Sonata magnificently projects the range of Ives's poetic fantasy and untrammeled energy of invention, and Kirkpatrick, whom Gilman called "an unobtrusive minister of genius," still plays it incomparably.

My emphasis above.

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_1LmEu7Uyg1M/Sj4RCB7fEmI/AAAAAAAAAG8/PNFaeoUoH4o/s400/front.jpg)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 09, 2010, 04:08:47 AM
I've had that LP for more than 30 years.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: The new erato on October 09, 2010, 04:25:55 AM


For the Concord Sonata, I still like this version:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BERCDBNXL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Whenever I play this disc, I find the Concord consistenly overshadowed by the marvellous Barber.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 09, 2010, 10:54:11 AM
Whenever I play this disc, I find the Concord consistenly overshadowed by the marvellous Barber.

Never!  :D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 10, 2010, 02:16:35 AM
I adore the Barber too of course, but I think John Browning's reading with the other solo piano music of Barber is unassailable - that is one of my favourite CD's of all time.

I also find it very frustrating that the Kirkpatrick recording is not available. I remember trying to find it reasonably priced for a few months but eventually gave up - surely one day it will be rereleased...

Joe - For me, what makes the Concord so remarkable is that it is both avant- guarde and an "epic Romantic sonata with Lisztian thematic transformations”, if one wants to use that language. It continues in the line of Beethovinian transcendental striving (via Brahms), is unprecedented in terms of its iconoclastic musical language and its own peculiar beauty, and is also a monument to pure pianism and virtuosity a la Liszt or more movingly and perhaps more subtly Alkan.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Joe Barron on October 10, 2010, 06:37:24 AM
...perhaps more subtly Alkan.

Sorry, I don't know who that is. Where is the mention is Mr. Ives's originality? Even Carter gave him credit for that. Too much recent commentary on Ives emphasizes the influences to the exclusion of what he brought to the table. My problem with the Concord is that I have it on about nine or ten different CDs, and all  perfromances seem inadequate in some way, even Maruice Wrighrt's. Best version I've heard recently is Nina Deutsch on Vox, and I think the reason it's effective is that she takes the tempos very fast. She's a good eight minutes or so under most others. Unfortunately, she's not a sdelicate in teh Thoreau movement as I would like. Maybe I'm just over-familiar with it.

Barber hated Ives, by the way. There's a famous story that he walked out of the hall at Tanglewood (or whatever they have up there) when Copland told him something like, "Here at Tanglewood, we've decided Ives is a great composer." Sort of puts the lie to the idea that only modernists can't make room for other kinds of music.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Dax on October 11, 2010, 01:18:49 AM
For the songs you can do no better than start here
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uUGkAlOaL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

and it can be found at
http://singersaintsrecords.blogspot.com/2009/01/jan-degaetani-charles-ives-songs.html
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on October 22, 2010, 02:08:32 PM
Yeah Barber said he thought Ives was an "amatuer and a hack and couldn't put pieces together well". He didn't even like the songs (not even General Booth!). It's sort of understandable - Barber 's music is the absolute opposite of Ives in some regards - smooth and lyrical, completely logical and unchaotic, very traditional in technique if not always in sound. I'm absolutely sure that Ives would have dismissed Barber's music as soft and for old aunts.

The thing is, they are rather similar in many other ways - the concern for childhood, the uncoventional religious outlook, the highly intellectual literary interests, and even in the music - the aching nostalgia in both, the mastery of "added note" harmony, and supreme beauty achieved at some point in virtually every piece.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: OzRadio on December 27, 2010, 07:05:50 PM
I just discovered Ives. Last week I picked up Three Places in New England (DG) on vinyl and enjoyed it. I then discovered the Naxos streaming site to which my university subscribes so I've been listening to his violin and piano sonatas (Naxos) and now his 1st symphony (Naxos). Great stuff, especially the symphony. Quite a bit more still to explore.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on December 28, 2010, 05:48:17 AM
The four Symphonies plot Ives' development rather well, even if in actual fact their composition overlapped some what.

No.1 is a student work, youthful and Dvorakian, a young man trying to impress, although already the chinks are appearing in the traditional armour - little idiosyncrasies cropping up all over the place.

No.2 Is still rather European and romantic in its use of the orchestra, but Ives' personality has developed and comes through much stronger - here we have the hymn and marching tunes cropping up all over the shot and its already much wilder than anything from the 19th century. The sound is coincidentally similar to other American composers of 30 years later (most obviously Copland).

No.3 Is more radical still - hardly comparable to 19th century models at all really, the hymn tunes become the entire basis of the movements, the form is without precedent, the textures highly individual and atmospheric, technical innovations everywhere. And oh so beautiful.

No.4 is possibly his finest achievement with the Concord Sonata. Here the radicalism and avant-garde technical aspects are no longer experiments and are completely integrated into a symphonic unity, even if that unity is completely novel and strange by traditional standards. The widest range of possible musical motives and styles are here juxtaposed and ultimately united in what is Ives' statement of universal religion - the form becomes metaphor, the metaphor becomes form.  It's a staggering achivement and one of the finest in the history of western music in my opinion.

Following this exponential curve of ambition you will not be surprised to hear that there was a Symphony No.5 planned - The Universe Symphony, which was meant to have several orchestras and choirs situated at the top of mountains and in valleys and do nothing less that capture the entire universe in tones. You'll also not be surprised to hear that it was never fully realised and exists only as sketches in various stages of completion. Some other composers have attempted to complete the work but the results have been dull and disappointing.
 
In between here we have two other symphonies of sorts - the Two Sets for Orchestra - The Three Places in New England which are Ives' most accomplished and beautiful example of scene painting - another truly great work,  and the Second Set for orchestra with its extraordinary finale which seeks the heights of the fourth symphony (I'm not quite sure it manages it, wonderful though it is).

There isn't a piece by Ives that I don't love - every one has something beautiful to offer.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Dax on December 28, 2010, 06:47:45 AM
The Universe Symphony, which was meant to have several orchestras and choirs situated at the top of mountains and in valleys and do nothing less that capture the entire universe in tones. You'll also not be surprised to hear that it was never fully realised and exists only as sketches in various stages of completion. Some other composers have attempted to complete the work but the results have been dull and disappointing.
I assume you include Johnny Reinhard's realisation? I'm surprised anyone would find that dull.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on December 28, 2010, 07:02:56 AM
Yes I include that one.

Forgot to mention of course, the Holidays Symphony, another masterpiece, which could be thought of as Symphony No.3.5, lying as it does in sound, achievement and technique somewhere between the 3rd and 4th symphonies. Maybe Symphony no.5 would be more sensible. Ramblings aside, it's another monumental achievement, though the large scale work by Ives that took me longest to assimilate and appreciate.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 23, 2011, 12:22:38 PM
My only complaint about Ives is that there's not more Ives recordings!  :P
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 23, 2011, 12:27:42 PM
Yes I include that one.

Forgot to mention of course, the Holidays Symphony, another masterpiece, which could be thought of as Symphony No.3.5, lying as it does in sound, achievement and technique somewhere between the 3rd and 4th symphonies. Maybe Symphony no.5 would be more sensible. Ramblings aside, it's another monumental achievement, though the large scale work by Ives that took me longest to assimilate and appreciate.

I love Holidays Symphony. It has all the Ivesian hallmarks: polytonal zaniness, rhythmic complexity, and deep yearning hymns. The work's finale, Thanksgiving Day and Forefather's Day, contains one of the most joyous moments in American music I've heard. Love those offstage bells and the choral singing is just such a brilliant touch.

Do you have a favorite recording of this symphony? Right now, I have to say I thoroughly enjoy Tilson Thomas' reading with the CSO and also I liked Sinclair's reading on Naxos. This symphony just isn't recorded enough!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 23, 2011, 12:31:47 PM
If you want the convenience of both pieces on the same CD, at a reasonable price & adequatelly conducted, try Leonard Bernstein:

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/IvesBernstein.jpg)
 
I adore this CD - mainly for the shorter pieces - there's so much atmosphere in each one. Still my favourite Central Park and Unanswered Question, and also my favourite version of the far less recorded but equally beautiful and atmospheric Hymn: Largo Cantabile.

This is the first Ives recording I bought and it is outstanding no question about it. Although I like Bernstein's earlier recording of Central Park in the Dark better. The way he handles that demonic marching band outburst to my ears is much more livelier and energetic.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 24, 2011, 06:43:37 AM
I love Holidays Symphony. It has all the Ivesian hallmarks: polytonal zaniness, rhythmic complexity, and deep yearning hymns. The work's finale, Thanksgiving Day and Forefather's Day, contains one of the most joyous moments in American music I've heard. Love those offstage bells and the choral singing is just such a brilliant touch.

Do you have a favorite recording of this symphony? Right now, I have to say I thoroughly enjoy Tilson Thomas' reading with the CSO and also I liked Sinclair's reading on Naxos. This symphony just isn't recorded enough!

Tilson-Thomas' has always been a joy for me and I've never searched out another. But I'm not a versions queen.

As I've said here before - that Bernstein reading of the second is great, but why it's really valuable is all the miniatures, for me never more atmospherically or ravishingly recorded. As well as the famous two (Central Park, and Unanswered Question), the Hymn: Largo Cantibile is a little gem of compression - like so much Ives a microcosmic world that to me is one of the most sheerly beautiful things he ever wrote.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2011, 10:43:57 AM
Tilson-Thomas' has always been a joy for me and I've never searched out another. But I'm not a versions queen.

As I've said here before - that Bernstein reading of the second is great, but why it's really valuable is all the miniatures, for me never more atmospherically or ravishingly recorded. As well as the famous two (Central Park, and Unanswered Question), the Hymn: Largo Cantibile is a little gem of compression - like so much Ives a microcosmic world that to me is one of the most sheerly beautiful things he ever wrote.

Well, as I said, that Bernstein recording on DG was my introduction to Ives and remains one of my favorite recordings of his music, but Tilson Thomas' recordings are just as enjoyable for me. I like the way Bernstein handles those marches and the Ivesian outbursts, but I think Tilson Thomas pays a bit more attention to the structure of the music and has fantastic phrasing.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 24, 2011, 12:25:16 PM
Well, as I said, that Bernstein recording on DG was my introduction to Ives and remains one of my favorite recordings of his music, but Tilson Thomas' recordings are just as enjoyable for me. I like the way Bernstein handles those marches and the Ivesian outbursts, but I think Tilson Thomas pays a bit more attention to the structure of the music and has fantastic phrasing.

Tilson Thomas is not such a wilful artist, and also comes from the generation where respecting the markings and minutiae of the score is in vogue.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2011, 01:32:17 PM
Tilson Thomas is not such a wilful artist, and also comes from the generation where respecting the markings and minutiae of the score is in vogue.

Well he's certainly a fine Ives conductor.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on February 24, 2011, 01:44:30 PM
Tilson Thomas is excellent in this repertoire. PS, Jan Swafford, author of Charles Ives: A Life with Music, calls the Tilson Thomas/Chicago recording of the Holidays, "the finest Ives orchestral recording ever made." High praise!

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Scarpia on February 24, 2011, 01:47:40 PM
Well he's certainly a fine Ives conductor.

I'd like to know where you dreamed up that quote you attribute to Ives.   ???
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2011, 01:52:36 PM
I'd like to know where you dreamed up that quote you attribute to Ives.   ???

What quote? It's how I feel about MTT conducting Ives.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Scarpia on February 24, 2011, 01:53:34 PM
What quote? It's how I feel about MTT conducting Ives.

Your signature:


Quote
You can fill this table up with people who are racist, homophobic, Satanist worshippers, sexist and we can be arguing but if you put on a song, I guarantee that people will stop and listen and that's what I love about music, it can bring people together.” - Charles Ives
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2011, 01:55:10 PM
Tilson Thomas is excellent in this repertoire. PS, Jan Swafford, author of Charles Ives: A Life with Music, calls the Tilson Thomas/Chicago recording of the Holidays, "the finest Ives orchestral recording ever made." High praise!

--Bruce

I haven't read the book, but that is high praise indeed and completely warranted in my opinion. Not since Bernstein, have we had such an enthusiastic conductor who really understands the music and the man behind the music. There have been other notable Ives conductors through the years: Mehta, Dohnanyi, Sinclair, and Litton, but Tilson Thomas really breathes this music.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2011, 01:56:25 PM
Your signature:

Oh, I found on Brainyquote or some site that's dedicated to quotes from composers, writers, directors, etc. Should I find another one?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Scarpia on February 24, 2011, 01:59:56 PM
Oh, I found on Brainyquote or some site that's dedicated to quotes from composers, writers, directors, etc.

I googled it, and it appears in numerous blogs which mostly seem to be hip-hop fan sites, and seem to be attributed to someone named Charles King. 

I'd say it can't possibly be Ives because the words "homophobic" and "sexist" did not exist in 1954 when Ives died.  (Websters says the first know use of these terms is 1968 and 1969).
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2011, 02:00:49 PM
I googled it, and it appears in numerous blogs which mostly seem to be hip-hop fan sites, and seems to be attributed to someone named Charles King. 

I'd say it can't possibly be Ives because the words "homophobic" and "sexist" did not exist in 1954 when Ives dies.  (Websters says the first know use of these terms is 1968 and 1969).

Good observation. I guess I'll find a new one.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2011, 02:04:45 PM
Found one.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: PaulSC on February 24, 2011, 02:05:54 PM
Good observation. I guess I'll find a new one.

This is maybe as close as Ives gets to the sentiment of your current (spurious) signature:
Quote
But we would rather believe that music is beyond any
analogy to word language and that the time is coming, but not in
our lifetime, when it will develop possibilities unconceivable
now,--a language, so transcendent, that its heights and depths
will be common to all mankind.
From Essays Before a Sonata
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2011, 02:10:04 PM
This is maybe as close as Ives gets to the sentiment of your current (spurious) signature:From Essays Before a Sonata

Good quote, but I've already found one from my old friend Bela Bartok.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Scarpia on February 24, 2011, 02:14:04 PM
This is maybe as close as Ives gets to the sentiment of your current (spurious) signature.

Lord.  Maybe the bit about satan worshipers wasn't Ives but it was intelligible, at least.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: PaulSC on February 24, 2011, 02:42:48 PM
Lord.  Maybe the bit about satan worshipers wasn't Ives but it was intelligible, at least.
I think the Ives passage is at least as intelligible as a lot of the Transcendentalist writings that influenced it. I mean, it's easily paraphrased as "the music of the future will express meanings that transcend boundaries of language." Do you know the Essays from which this bit is extracted? They're a great read unless you have absolutely no patience with Ives' patterns of thought.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Scarpia on February 24, 2011, 02:46:00 PM
I think the Ives passage is at least as intelligible as a lot of the Transcendentalist writings that influenced it. I mean, it's easily paraphrased as "the music of the future will express meanings that transcend boundaries of language." Do you know the Essays from which this bit is extracted? They're a great read unless you have absolutely no patience with Ives' patterns of thought.

Well, I don't find Ive's patterns of thought, as expressed in his music, fascinate me much, so the essays are far down on my list.  How about "If it sounds good, it is good."
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: PaulSC on February 24, 2011, 02:52:51 PM
How about "If it sounds good, it is good."
Sounds good!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: jowcol on February 24, 2011, 03:06:34 PM
Well, I don't find Ive's patterns of thought, as expressed in his music, fascinate me much, so the essays are far down on my list.  How about "If it sounds good, it is good."

Not bad.  I may use that.   
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on February 25, 2011, 10:14:54 AM
A vague awareness of the writings at least can pay dividends with this music though - so many fascinating thoughts, and it's not at all spurious in terms of its relationship to the music - you really hear what he's saying in the notes!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on February 25, 2011, 11:36:39 AM
"Brainyquote" — the very name seems to promise all the intellectual accountability naturally attributed to cyberspace …
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 01, 2011, 07:48:02 AM
Robert Battey (style@washpost.com), in The Washington Post, wrote today (in a Hilary Hahn article), that Ives was a "second-tier" American Composer. >:D I leave the address for you. Idiot.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2011, 07:56:36 AM
Robert Battey (style@washpost.com), in The Washington Post, wrote today (in a Hilary Hahn article), that Ives was a "second-tier" American Composer. >:D I leave the address for you. Idiot.

Clearly this Robert Battey doesn't have a clue as to what he's talking about. Totally clueless like most journalists.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 01, 2011, 08:03:56 AM
Robert Battey (style@washpost.com), in The Washington Post, wrote today (in a Hilary Hahn article), that Ives was a "second-tier" American Composer. >:D I leave the address for you. Idiot.
Depends what he meant and context. If by second tier he meant quality, that is an issue. If he meant popularity or such, well he is second-tier (but this says nothing of his composing, just how well he is known).
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on March 01, 2011, 10:26:30 AM
Lol! I know this guy... he's a cellist. He always said that Ives never developed his ideas furthur than Central Park in the Dark. It's not even worth discussing this sort of ignorance! In general his musical views are fairly moderate, reasonable, conservative.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2011, 10:28:46 AM
Lol! I know this guy...It's not even worth discussing this sort of ignorance!

I agree it's not even worth discussing.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 01, 2011, 09:37:34 PM
Robert Battey (style@washpost.com), in The Washington Post, wrote today (in a Hilary Hahn article), that Ives was a "second-tier" American Composer. >:D I leave the address for you. Idiot.

Hahn was playing a recital, which included two "second-tier" American Composers, Ives and Anthiel(?). I guess the point that got me was lumping them two together like that. Maybe that clears it up.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on March 02, 2011, 06:50:14 AM
I think there is an idea or two worth pursuing in here.

I read a story once of a Music History class in which a sophomore (iconic, that) bridled at spending class time dedicated to studying Mendelssohn. “Wasn’t he a Grade-B composer?”  The teacher considered the objection for a second before replying, “Yes, but I’m not sure you understand how very good that is.”

The discussion here has proceeded upon a certain resonance of what was meant by “second-tier” composer; it is rejected, because it is taken as essentially signifying insufficiency — and no Ives enthusiast could bear such an implication!

But if we step back, and understand first of all that there is no incompatibility between a composer being “second-tier,” and his having written quite a few works of signal excellence . . . I should think that even a great fan of Ives’s should entertain the idea that Ives was not in the very first rank of composers.  (And please, let’s not ‘handicap’ him because he was an American . . . “There are so few American composers, of course Ives is first-tier!”)

 
(Separately, I shouldn’t think there would be much controversy in filtering Antheil from the first tier.) ; )
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on March 03, 2011, 03:13:54 PM
I think the point of contention is that Antheil not in the same league as Ives, and the lazy and insulting grouping of them together as second teir (which seems to denegrate Ives more than it elevates Antheil. And this because we care about Ives so much more than Antheil)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Scarpia on March 03, 2011, 03:16:34 PM
I think the point of contention is that Antheil not in the same league as Ives, and the lazy and insulting grouping of them together as second teir (which seems to denegrate Ives more than it elevates Antheil. And this because we care about Ives so much more than Antheil)

I agree, Antheil is definitely third teir.    :P
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 03, 2011, 09:25:33 PM
I agree, Antheil is definitely third teir.    :P

FINALLY!! ;) 8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: some guy on March 17, 2011, 12:04:29 PM
I just bought the Wergo Earle Brown set that includes Ives' Concord Sonata played by Aloys Kontarsky. In LP days, when I was poor, I had the Kilpatrick, which unaccountably (and unforgivably) does not include the flute or viola parts, and was quite happy with it. I got the Kalish much later, for the flute and viola, and wasn't much taken with the whole venture. Then I stopped buying versions of the Concord.

Until yesterday. And the Kontarsky, which I had known about but never heard, is fabulous. And the flute and viola parts are played as if they really belonged.

Plus, since this is a three disc set, you also get that outrageous Sonic Arts Union disc of Ashley, Mumma, Lucier, and Behrman and a disc of music for flute and piano by Evangelisti, Berio, Matsudaira, Castiglioni, Messiaen, and Maderna.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2011, 08:58:33 AM
I guess I really need to fetch in that Ives Psalms disc . . . I mean, as a composer who in New England who has set some few Psalms to original music, myself.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on July 25, 2011, 08:32:03 AM
Just found out that Hilary Hahn will release a DG recording of all four Ives Violin Sonatas, with Valentina Lisitsa on piano, on October 11. More information is here (http://interchangingidioms.blogspot.com/2011/07/hilary-hahn-releases-charles-ives-four.html).

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lescamil on July 25, 2011, 02:04:45 PM
Just found out that Hilary Hahn will release a DG recording of all four Ives Violin Sonatas, with Valentina Lisitsa on piano, on October 11. More information is here (http://interchangingidioms.blogspot.com/2011/07/hilary-hahn-releases-charles-ives-four.html).

--Bruce

I'm really dreading hearing a myopic standard repertoire specialist like Lisitsa playing Ives. She should stick to Romantic warhorses, in my opinion. I'll probably check out her recording anyways, though. I'm not too excited about Hahn either.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on July 26, 2011, 03:25:33 AM
Nice to have such a mainstream artist recording this rep. Might even get it! The four violin sonatas are hardly my favourite Ives (some of the few works of his that I don't adore), but I owe them a fresh look.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: karlhenning on July 26, 2011, 03:32:33 AM
Nice to have such a mainstream artist recording this rep.

And, the experience with the rep may expand the artist.  I think there's everything to gain.

Quote from: Guido
Might even get it! The four violin sonatas are hardly my favourite Ives (some of the few works of his that I don't adore), but I owe them a fresh look.

I'll probably spring for 'em; I don't know those sonatas at all . . . .
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 06, 2012, 09:13:51 AM
Symphonies 2-3

I pulled these out just to see how conservative they are. They are! ::)

No.2 (Bernstein/DG), in five movements, sounds almost like how I'd want my perfect Victorian symphony to go. Perhaps I think it reminds me of Elgar, but not the that degree. I don't know, maybe your words about this music will make me like it more?

As I'm listening to No.3 (Marriner/Argo), I'm completely underwhelmed by the sheer normalcy of the music. It's nice and semi-pastoral, but that's about it. Had all Ives sounded like these two beasts, he would have been relegated to the Chadwick/Mason/Foote (re: quaint & boring)corner of the room. What do you think?

Both pieces are over. I feel compelled to listen to them further, on academic grounds, but don't feel the need anymore. Perhaps this is where boring Cowell comes from?

Don't get me wrong,... nice music. Nice.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 06, 2012, 10:01:48 AM
Interesting! On my own recent-ish revisitation of the symphonies, I found myself much better affectioned towards them.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 06, 2012, 10:14:42 AM
Symphonies 2-3

I pulled these out just to see how conservative they are. They are! ::)

No.2 (Bernstein/DG), in five movements, sounds almost like how I'd want my perfect Victorian symphony to go. Perhaps I think it reminds me of Elgar, but not the that degree. I don't know, maybe your words about this music will make me like it more?

As I'm listening to No.3 (Marriner/Argo), I'm completely underwhelmed by the sheer normalcy of the music. It's nice and semi-pastoral, but that's about it. Had all Ives sounded like these two beasts, he would have been relegated to the Chadwick/Mason/Foote (re: quaint & boring)corner of the room. What do you think?

Both pieces are over. I feel compelled to listen to them further, on academic grounds, but don't feel the need anymore. Perhaps this is where boring Cowell comes from?

Don't get me wrong,... nice music. Nice.

This may sound strange coming from a dyed in the whool Ives fan, but his 2nd symphony has (after many years of studying his music) become my favorite work from Ives. I love his 1st symphony too, even better than his 3rd and 4th.

For my taste, of the most successful recordings of the Ives 2nd is Kenneth Schermerhorn's account on Naxos:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/May01/ives2.gif)

This recording uses the critical edition, prepared by Jonathan Elkus of the Charles Ives Society, which corrects about 1,000 manuscript errors that have been repeated in recordings (and performances) dating back at least as early as Bernstein's late-'50's New York Philharmonic Orchestra recording on Columbia.

Errors or not, that is not my deciding factor in deciding on a performance, it's the end result that counts and I love what Schermerhorn has done with the 2nd. Absolutely tamer than Bernstein's account, but not as slick either.

My own personal favorite is Harold Farberman's old account, which I have on LP and (out of print) CD. This recording has something special I can't explain.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61qpmnOimVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I like how you described the 2nd as your perfect Victorian symphony, as that is exactly what I feel about it, and how Schermerhorn and Farberman play this work. I have a suspicion that the "Victorian" nostalgia-feeling is Ives' true self, and that his 1st, 2nd, and (perhaps to a lesser degree) his 3rd are signs of his deepest self. His more experimental work appears to be a reaction to this side of him, brought on one by life's blows and experiences. In the end, we'll never know, but interesting to ponder.










Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 06, 2012, 10:17:36 AM
I've heard those Schermerhorn recordings on Naxos well spoken of . . . but it was at a time when I was sure (mistaken, but sure) that I was not interested in the Ives symphonies.  Now that Litton has illumined the set for me, I should likely check out the Schermerhorn . . . .
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 06, 2012, 10:19:41 AM
I've heard those Schermerhorn recordings on Naxos well spoken of . . . but it was at a time when I was sure (mistaken, but sure) that I was not interested in the Ives symphonies.  Now that Litton has illumined the set for me, I should likely check out the Schermerhorn . . . .

And I should finally listen to the Litton recordings!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 07, 2012, 07:49:44 AM
I like how you described the 2nd as your perfect Victorian symphony, as that is exactly what I feel about it, and how Schermerhorn and Farberman play this work. I have a suspicion that the "Victorian" nostalgia-feeling is Ives' true self, and that his 1st, 2nd, and (perhaps to a lesser degree) his 3rd are signs of his deepest self. His more experimental work appears to be a reaction to this side of him, brought on one by life's blows and experiences. In the end, we'll never know, but interesting to ponder.

Hmm, very interesting suspicion.

I mean, I like No.2 just fine,... it would probably be my favorite work had it been written by Pettersson! ;)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on March 09, 2012, 09:31:57 AM
Symphonies 2-3

I pulled these out just to see how conservative they are. They are! ::)

No.2 (Bernstein/DG), in five movements, sounds almost like how I'd want my perfect Victorian symphony to go. Perhaps I think it reminds me of Elgar, but not the that degree. I don't know, maybe your words about this music will make me like it more?

As I'm listening to No.3 (Marriner/Argo), I'm completely underwhelmed by the sheer normalcy of the music. It's nice and semi-pastoral, but that's about it. Had all Ives sounded like these two beasts, he would have been relegated to the Chadwick/Mason/Foote (re: quaint & boring)corner of the room. What do you think?

Both pieces are over. I feel compelled to listen to them further, on academic grounds, but don't feel the need anymore. Perhaps this is where boring Cowell comes from?

Don't get me wrong,... nice music. Nice.

I have to say that I completely disagree here. Look at the dates that they were written. And the country. This is Copland 30 years before the fact (and more authentic too, for the most part!) - the most advanced thing symphonically was Brahms and Dvorak at that point in that culture* - these pieces are WILD in comparison, even if they are gentle in terms of their surface compared to other Ives. So many innovations, really!

I also disagree that this is the deepest Ives - for me, that honour goes to the Fourth Symphony, the Three Pieces from New England, The Concord Sonata and the later songs - these are the pieces that integrate the nostalgia with the modernism more masterfully than he did anywhere else. And the nostalgia is most effective and most heartfelt when its dressed in the quasi mystical tone of these late works - nothing in those early works aches like the shimmering strangeness, the fleeting phantasmagorias of ideas and memories that constitute the most moving passages of these later works.

*(remember Mahler was hardly played at that point. Interesting to note the similarities with Ives actually...)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 09, 2012, 10:33:13 AM
I pulled these out just to see how conservative they are. They are! ::)

As I'm listening to No.3 (Marriner/Argo), I'm completely underwhelmed by the sheer normalcy of the music. It's nice and semi-pastoral, but that's about it. Had all Ives sounded like these two beasts, he would have been relegated to the Chadwick/Mason/Foote (re: quaint & boring)corner of the room. What do you think?

Normalcy compared to what? Or who?  ;D  the tempi may be more calm and the dynamics subdued compared to some other of Ives' music, but I find the level of complexity and musical inventiveness to be as equal as his other works, just with a different atmosphere.



For my taste, of the most successful recordings of the Ives 2nd is Kenneth Schermerhorn's account on Naxos:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/May01/ives2.gif)



I agree with this recommendation, Leo,  ;D

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 09, 2012, 11:00:54 AM
Normalcy compared to what? Or who?  ;D  the tempi may be more calm and the dynamics subdued compared to some other of Ives' music, but I find the level of complexity and musical inventiveness to be as equal as his other works, just with a different atmosphere.




I agree with this recommendation, Leo,  ;D

I listened again to 2-3 yesterday. Perhaps the weather? Perhaps the mood? No.2 hit me perfectly, and I could sense that an even more loving performance/recording (I have Bernstein DG) would make me like it even more. I find it very 'Southern Gothic', or just a touch creepy, and picture some kind of... perhaps Chickamunga? (is that right?) It's very big boned piece, for sure!

No.3 certainly has some exotic harmonic shifting in the first movement.

Yes, I just had to be in the mood. :-[ ::) ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 09, 2012, 11:01:44 AM
Well, he was from Down South (Connecticut).
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 09, 2012, 11:02:32 AM
Well, he was from Down South (Connecticut).

 :D :D :D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 09, 2012, 11:09:18 AM
No.2 hit me perfectly, and I could sense that an even more loving performance/recording (I have Bernstein DG) would make me like it even more.


Kenneth Schermerhorn's on Naxos might do the trick. I also have the Bernstein/DG and it's bombastic, NYPhil brass is a beast, exciting for sure though.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2012, 11:17:20 AM
All of this talk of Ives is getting me in the mood yet again...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 09, 2012, 11:18:20 AM
All of this talk of Ives is getting me in the mood yet again...


Do it, John!  ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2012, 11:43:19 AM

Do it, John!  ;D

I probably will later, Greg. Right now, I'm engaged in some lovely tango music from Piazzolla. 8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 09, 2012, 12:22:29 PM
I probably will later, Greg. Right now, I'm engaged in some lovely tango music from Piazzolla. 8)

Oh my, won't argue with that.  ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2012, 12:23:29 PM
Oh my, won't argue with that.  ;D

Well now I'm engaged in some Stravinsky. :)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 09, 2012, 01:59:22 PM
Three Places in New England (MTT DG)

Dud ::), why did it take me so long to pull these out? Sounds like Xenakis to me in places. This stuff is just the most startlingly explosive music ever! And then, the typical Ivesian mystery (always twinkling stars on the piano) and those Gothic, brooding and ominous bass motifs. It was perfect driving music! 8)

I hear some of Roy Harris in the brooding dissonances, and there's Ruggles,... these Americans seemed to take the received Brahmsian tradition and drench it in the decomposing creepiness of the American Victorian decomposition, no?

These pieces ARE Avant-Garde!!!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 10, 2012, 04:45:01 AM
And the nostalgia is most effective and most heartfelt when its dressed in the quasi mystical tone of these late works

The nostalgic aspects of Ives' music work equally well for me in both the late and early works. I agree with you about Three Places in New England (the quasi mystical). But the Second Symphony (based on the popular tunes, patriotic songs and hymns of Ives's youth) is, if more blatant in its nostalgia, no less effective...for me, anyway. I wonder, though, if a non-American listener like yourself gets the extramusical associations of the music? One of the most heartfelt moments in the Second occurs shortly before the Finale's ultimate explosion: a solo cello plays a theme based on "Old Black Joe" and "Massa's in de Cold Ground" while the flute plays a countermelody based on "Long Long Ago" and "Turkey in the Straw" (I hear "Bringing in the Sheaves" too). This bit is heard earlier in the movement also with the horn taking the lead. Recalling the lyrics of those songs, and the association of those songs with my own youth, certainly intensifies the nostalgic experience.

Sarge
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 10, 2012, 06:26:35 AM
THE IVES OF MARCH


Although we are ten days into March already, I am announcing that this will be the month of Ives.
There seems to be many GMGrs who appreciate the beauty and importance of Ives' insurance music.
I figure we can all share our favorite Ives performances and recordings and possibly even create a definitive(I hate that word) list of recordings for each piece and help those who are in search of new recordings.

Let's start with the Symphony No. 1 (1898-1902) Written while attending Yale University, Ives symphony No.1 displays musical qualities and influence of late-romantic composers. Not as inventive compared to later pieces, although you can hear the young, foreshadowing Ives fighting with conventional sonata-form at times, his first symphony is an important key to understanding the development and metamorphoses of Ives' compositional style.
I am recommending this Naxos disc with James Sinclair, who has recorded many great Ives discs, Sinclair convinces his listeners that is not just a student piece, it carries weight and it's reminiscent of composers from that era.



Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 10, 2012, 07:59:21 AM
THE IVES OF MARCH


Although we are ten days into March already, I am announcing that this will be the month of Ives.
There seems to be many GMGrs who appreciate the beauty and importance of Ives' insurance music.
I figure we can all share our favorite Ives performances and recordings and possibly even create a definitive(I hate that word) list of recordings for each piece and help those who are in search of new recordings.

Let's start with the Symphony No. 1 (1898-1902) Written while attending Yale University, Ives symphony No.1 displays musical qualities and influence of late-romantic composers. Not has inventive compared to later pieces, although you can hear young and foreshadowing Ives fighting with conventional sonata-form at times, his first symphony is an important key to understanding the development and metamorphoses of Ives' compositional style.
I am recommending this Naxos disc with James Sinclair, who has recorded many great Ives discs, Sinclair convinces his listeners that is not just a student piece, it carries weight and it's reminiscent of composers from that era.




Great idea to have the Ives of March! I'll be here.

I agree with your choice on Sinclair's account of the 1st symphony. For me, this disk is a special recording, as I also found the Emerson Concerto a complete revelation, thanks to the good efforts of the reconstruction by David Porter.

Well, the 1st symphony on this recording is uncut, which alone makes this recording essential for the Ives fan. the work itself sounds innocent, carefree, beautiful, a hope of the future and an ache for the past. It is a stunning romantic symphony, amazing work for a student! This is the work that started me on a journey to listen to other obscure late romantic symphonies, as I fell in love with the sound of late romanticism like never before. Hearing the Ives 1st symphony in this recording was an epiphany-experience when I first heard it.



Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2012, 08:05:06 AM
THE IVES OF MARCH


Although we are ten days into March already, I am announcing that this will be the month of Ives.
There seems to be many GMGrs who appreciate the beauty and importance of Ives' insurance music.
I figure we can all share our favorite Ives performances and recordings and possibly even create a definitive(I hate that word) list of recordings for each piece and help those who are in search of new recordings.

Let's start with the Symphony No. 1 (1898-1902) Written while attending Yale University, Ives symphony No.1 displays musical qualities and influence of late-romantic composers. Not has inventive compared to later pieces, although you can hear young and foreshadowing Ives fighting with conventional sonata-form at times, his first symphony is an important key to understanding the development and metamorphoses of Ives' compositional style.
I am recommending this Naxos disc with James Sinclair, who has recorded many great Ives discs, Sinclair convinces his listeners that is not just a student piece, it carries weight and it's reminiscent of composers from that era.




Well I certainly share your enthusiasm for Ives, Greg, because he was one of the first composers I ever heard and connected to almost right away. The first work I ever heard of Ives was Symphony No. 2 with Bernstein/NY Phil. on DG. What a wonderful recording even to this day. That Naxos series is indispensable IMHO. Sinclair is a noted Ives scholar and the recording with Schermerhorn couldn't be any better. I think it's one of the greatest achievements of Naxos' American Classics series. I think I'll put on some Ives from this series right now...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2012, 08:27:39 AM
Greg, do you own this:

(http://www.blu-raystats.com/img_cvr/KeepingScoreIvesHolidaysSymphony_821936002599_500.jpg)

Speaking of indispensable, this DVD/Bluray release of MTT's acclaimed Keeping Score series is one of the best of the entire series so far. It is educational, entertaining, and completely priceless for the Ives fan. It puts Ives into an even better light for me and the analysis of his Holidays Symphony was enthralling from beginning to end. There is also some great biographical information between various segments of the program. For those who love Ives, don't miss this DVD.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 10, 2012, 08:37:02 AM
Greg, do you own this:

(http://www.blu-raystats.com/img_cvr/KeepingScoreIvesHolidaysSymphony_821936002599_500.jpg)

Speaking of indispensable, this DVD/Bluray release of MTT's acclaimed Keeping Score series is one of the best of the entire series so far. It is educational, entertaining, and completely priceless for the Ives fan. It puts Ives into an even better light for me and the analysis of his Holidays Symphony was enthralling from beginning to end. There is also some great biographical information between various segments of the program. For those who love Ives, don't miss this DVD.

I have to see that!!!

Thanks for the heads up. Thats one of my favorite Ives works.

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2012, 08:42:28 AM
I have to see that!!!

Thanks for the heads up. Thats one of my favorite Ives works.

Leo K, you are in for quite a surprise. MTT takes the viewers to some important locations throughout Ives' live. He even stops by Ives' childhood home and plays on the piano that his father used to play. I think I'll watch this again tonight. I've already seen it twice already. 8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 10, 2012, 09:01:52 AM
Greg, do you own this:

(http://www.blu-raystats.com/img_cvr/KeepingScoreIvesHolidaysSymphony_821936002599_500.jpg)

Speaking of indispensable, this DVD/Bluray release of MTT's acclaimed Keeping Score series is one of the best of the entire series so far. It is educational, entertaining, and completely priceless for the Ives fan. It puts Ives into an even better light for me and the analysis of his Holidays Symphony was enthralling from beginning to end. There is also some great biographical information between various segments of the program. For those who love Ives, don't miss this DVD.


I'm ashamed to say I haven't seen it, John. But I will order it soon.


Anyone else with some thoughts or recommendations for Ives 1st Symphony?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 10, 2012, 09:07:00 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61NZMNSRQ1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I still enjoy MTT's account of the 1st, it's been awhile since I heard it, but it is a very worthy and worthwhile recording, with the wonderful sound of the CSO.


 8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2012, 09:45:45 AM

I'm ashamed to say I haven't seen it, John. But I will order it soon.


Anyone else with some thoughts or recommendations for Ives 1st Symphony?

Every Ives fan needs that MTT program IMHO. You'll love it, Greg. Anyway, thoughts on Symphony No. 1? It's a pleasant work for sure, but that's about all it is to me. I do love the slow movement though very beautiful. It's a student work, so we shouldn't expect too much out of it. It seems to show Ives's love for the Romantic past and it's very tightly structured as well. I don't think it's as fine as his 2nd symphony, which to me starts to show Ives's penchant for musical constrasts.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2012, 10:07:15 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61NZMNSRQ1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I still enjoy MTT's account of the 1st, it's been awhile since I heard it, but it is a very worthy and worthwhile recording, with the wonderful sound of the CSO.


 8)

I'm listening to the 4th from this recording right. Excellent performance.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 10, 2012, 08:47:50 PM
I guess we will move on from Symphony No.1, I urge all of those interested in Ives to give a good listen or two, still a very well written piece...


Symphony No.2 began in the early 1900s and went through years of orchestrations, even said to have been edits made to the symphony up to it's 1951 premiere. The piece displays an Ives signature compositional style of transforming noticeable quotes of American hymns/folk songs into the foreground essentially creating new themes. This time there is a 5-movement but with the fourth Lento maestoso acting as more of a prelude to the final whirlwind of a finale. The Adagio cantabile second movement is achingly beautiful, a climax towards to the end briefly quotes America the Beautiful that will just melt you with emotions, it's certainly alongside some of the finest adagios from the late-Romantic period. Symphony No.2 is mostly tonal throughout, with the exception of an occasional multiple-theme overlapping and the raspberry of an ending. About a minute away form the final bar, the trumpets blast Reveille preparing its listener for a fugue like blast of classic American melodies which is thrilling to say the least, and leading to either the most teeth-cringing, flinch-inducing or the most jarringly exciting final chord in music. I like to think it's both.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513PFa12cML._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61m99sU-HQL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)


I am doing a dual recommendation for #2, Schermerhorn on Naxos, and Bernstein on DG. Similar to Sinclair's 1st Symphony recording on Naxos, the Schermerhorn features a new critical edition for the 2nd symphony. The playing from the Nashville SO is so clean and precise it's as if they could play Ives with their eyes closed. Bernstein has recorded the piece twice, even conducted the premiere in 1951, but has come under some scrutiny for taking too many liberties with the score. I chose his second recording on DG, although the first on Columbia is excellent. First, his Adagio cantabile is one of the slowest on record giving it's Romantic roots more room to breath, and it's lovely. Second, it's a live performance, the playing is thrilling, powerful and mostly flawless, if you have a good stereo system, then when you hear Reveille near the end turn the volume up and enjoy the beautiful madness, because the NYPhil's brass can tear down walls.
If I had to pick one I would have to go with Schermerhorn, it's lyrical and chaotic without ever losing it's direction, whereas the Bernstein seems to be at one volume throughout.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2012, 09:29:18 PM
I listened to a good bit of Ives today so I had my monthly fix. 8) I'm now listening Bartok, which, for me, and I've used this analogy many times, is like coming home after a long journey. I'm comfortable in these kinds of rhythmic idioms, which would explain why Bartok, Shostakovich, Villa-Lobos, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, etc. are my favorite composers. :)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2012, 09:41:04 PM
I'll probably listen to some more Ives tomorrow. I think I'll listen to Central Park in the Dark and Holidays Symphony. Not sure what performance I'll listen to, but for the Central Park in the Dark probably Bernstein/NY Phil. on Sony (much better than his DG performance IMHO) and for Holidays I think I'll probably listen to MTT.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Guido on March 11, 2012, 03:29:04 AM
The nostalgic aspects of Ives' music work equally well for me in both the late and early works. I agree with you about Three Places in New England (the quasi mystical). But the Second Symphony (based on the popular tunes, patriotic songs and hymns of Ives's youth) is, if more blatant in its nostalgia, no less effective...for me, anyway. I wonder, though, if a non-American listener like yourself gets the extramusical associations of the music? One of the most heartfelt moments in the Second occurs shortly before the Finale's ultimate explosion: a solo cello plays a theme based on "Old Black Joe" and "Massa's in de Cold Ground" while the flute plays a countermelody based on "Long Long Ago" and "Turkey in the Straw" (I hear "Bringing in the Sheaves" too). This bit is heard earlier in the movement also with the horn taking the lead. Recalling the lyrics of those songs, and the association of those songs with my own youth, certainly intensifies the nostalgic experience.

Sarge

I love virtually everything in Ives oeuvre, so for me I find all of it very affecting! It's true that I didn't grow up with these tunes, but Ives treats them as a folk resource on which to draw - by analogy we don't need to have grown up in Hungary to really get Bartok, or be Czech to really get Dvorak and Janacek. Of course, Ives is more explicit in his quotations than any of these, but he renders his source material universal in his complete transformation of it, and it hits me in the solar plexus every time. It's obvious what it means to him, which is the main thing.

The words are the only thing I miss of course, though I do do my research!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 11, 2012, 06:56:24 AM
Ives's 1st string quartet is an excellant companion piece to the 2nd symphony, the performance on this disk is probably the only recording I've heard of it, but it is so good (and coupled with the 2nd quartet) I've felt no need to seek another:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/611qHK6fczL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Quote
The First Quartet was written in 1896 while Ives was finishing up his studies with Horatio Parker at Yale. The musical idiom is late German Romanticism, with strong influences of Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak. Yet the work is distinctive in a way that Ives' First Symphony is not. For one thing, Ives uses Protestant Revival hymns in this work, which he was careful to avoid in the Symphony, knowing it would incur the wrath of the Euro-centric Parker. This work also shows a greater sense of craft than the symphony, and a more individual sense of harmony, probably also derived from the homespun harmonies of the hymns. The work opens with a magnificent fugue based on the Missionary Hymn, which will eventually make up the third movement of his massive Fourth Symphony. Other movements are equally beautifully done. The over all impression left by this quartet is of a fresh and original Romantic voice, already outshining the more established American composers of his time. Had Ives continued in this style, he could well have been as beloved as Copland or other American composers of later generations.

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 11, 2012, 07:17:25 AM
I thought I'd requote (myself) from another thread about Ives's 2nd Symphony:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/Ives/CD_Sym_1_2_Farberman.jpg)
(Vanguard Classics 08 6153 71, coupled with Symphony No. 1, out of print)


My favorite recording of the 2nd is the Harold Farberman account, but after listening to this and the Schermerhorn (on Naxos) I have to admit that Schermerhorn is really excellant and is winning me over with each new listen. I'm finally getting used to the corrected tempos in the new criticial edition.

By the way, the Farberman account has the best sound quality on the Vangaard CD (pictured above), perhaps even better than the LP.

The 1st and 2nd Symphonies are works I can put on causually as well as listen seriously with full attention. The 3rd is almost like that as well, but the 4th demands my full attention, rightly so. What I really like about the 2nd is it's effortless dance with the themes...the tunes develop and progress very naturally, humorously and seriously as well. In any given listening situation, I can listen just to the surface, or listen at a deep level and find a profound discourse goin on, connected to Ives's own personal nostalgia, but also connected to a more universal "Americana" that I definitely feel in sympathy with.

The 2nd is so musically evocative of the soil and culture from which it arose in an apparently more "simple" manner than the mature works, and it also evokes nature as well...I often think of thunder-filled clouds in the distance during the 1st movement. Now when I say "simple" I don't mean to imply the 2nd is not sophisticated, rather, I mean to suggest "simple" from the viewpoint of my ears upon hearing the "surface" of the music. Every year I appreciate more what Ives accomplished as a youthful composer.  The 1st String Quartet is another great early work.

I recently bought the new critical edition score of the 2nd Symphony (edited by Jonathan Elkus), which is a real wonderful edition, beautifully put together with excellant commentary and an essay by the editor. The 2nd Symphony is fast becoming my favorite Ives symphonic work. I recently read the article "Quotation and Paraphrase in Ives's Second Symphony" by J. Peter Burkholder, and was taken aback with memories of my own grandfather playing many of these old tunes and hymns on his violin when I was young...we used to play Turkey In the Straw and Old Black Joe and etc. 
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 11, 2012, 10:35:05 AM
I thought I'd requote (myself) from another thread about Ives's 2nd Symphony:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/Ives/CD_Sym_1_2_Farberman.jpg)
(Vanguard Classics 08 6153 71, coupled with Symphony No. 1, out of print)


My favorite recording of the 2nd is the Harold Farberman account, but after listening to this and the Schermerhorn (on Naxos) I have to admit that Schermerhorn is really excellant and is winning me over with each new listen. I'm finally getting used to the corrected tempos in the new criticial edition.

By the way, the Farberman account has the best sound quality on the Vangaard CD (pictured above), perhaps even better than the LP. 

Thanks for sharing, Leo. I will have to become familiar with the Farberman recording.

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 12, 2012, 06:23:44 PM
The Ives of March

The Unanswered Question (1906; 1934)


http://www.youtube.com/v/2D5oVyPRiCYhttp://www.youtube.com/v/JgYSthpbV6whttp://www.youtube.com/v/Y7zo2gelqvo


Concert hall version with offstage strings by Tokyo Chamber Philharmonic....Isao Tomita's version....Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's recorded version.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 15, 2012, 04:02:21 PM
The Ives of March

I'll continue with some "Ives of March" posts later, but in the meantime I thought I would change my signature for this occasion.




-Greg
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2012, 01:59:15 PM
Greg, if we're all still around, every March should be the Ives of March. It's interesting though I usually don't start getting into an Ives mood until the 4th of July. ;D I'm not a patriotic person but Ives makes me proud to be an American.
Title: Re: Charles Ives: Concord Sonata - What Say Ye?
Post by: Cato on April 04, 2012, 02:07:01 PM
Any performer preferences here on GMG ?

Is John Kirkpatrick's still the standard?

Speaking of whom, here is an article from almost 40 years ago (!) on hearing Kirkpatrick play the piece live...in Concord!

http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/1975/michaelsteinbergreview_kirkpatrick/ (http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/1975/michaelsteinbergreview_kirkpatrick/)
Title: Re: Charles Ives: Concord Sonata - What Say Ye?
Post by: Concord on August 20, 2012, 11:28:12 AM
Any performer preferences here on GMG ?

Is John Kirkpatrick's still the standard?

I'll try this again:

My two fave performances at the moment are by Nina Deutsch (on Vox) and Stephen Mayer (on Naxos) - and for oppostie reasons. Deutsch's reading is fast and propulsive, Mayers more magisterial, almost pastoral (there's a 10-15 minute difference in timings), but both work very well.

Denk has received ecstatic reviews, but I'm not a fan.
Title: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 20, 2012, 12:13:15 PM
(http://img.tapatalk.com/4c61fab9-a701-9797.jpg)(http://img.tapatalk.com/4c61fab9-a709-04dd.jpg)

These are the two I've had for a while now and they both catapulted this sonata to my favorite 20th Century piano piece. Mayer is wonderful, but I always tend to lean towards Aimard for a top choice, plus he adds in the optional flute and viola cameos.



(http://img.tapatalk.com/4c61fab9-a7f2-2a26.jpg)

Just acquired Hamelin's second account here a few months ago, only gave it a few spins, but it's also quite spectacular.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on January 20, 2013, 06:10:30 PM
Slatkin and Detroit SO performing all 4 Ives Symphonies in one night at Carnegie  :o


http://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2013/5/10/0730/PM/Spring-for-Music-Detroit-Symphony/
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 27, 2013, 10:02:16 AM
(http://img.tapatalk.com/4c61fab9-a701-9797.jpg)(http://img.tapatalk.com/4c61fab9-a709-04dd.jpg)

These are the two I've had for a while now and they both catapulted this sonata to my favorite 20th Century piano piece. Mayer is wonderful, but I always tend to lean towards Aimard for a top choice, plus he adds in the optional flute and viola cameos.

Sweet! I have that Mayer, but I am not sure I've listened to it, yet . . . .

Slatkin and Detroit SO performing all 4 Ives Symphonies in one night at Carnegie  :o

Sweet II!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 27, 2013, 10:11:57 AM
The Ives Of March - 2013

I attempted this last year, didn't have many participants, but I'm gonna do it again. I'll focus a good portion of my March listening to the works of Charles Ives. I'll explore the many facets and genres that Ives covered during his lifetime and compare and contrast performances and recordings. I will also include my own personal notes on the music, along with writings from others.

I'll create a listening log, hopefully within a day or two, and place certain genres into each week. For sure I'll give each Symphony its own week, and will separate each of the Holidays since there are four, and were initially composed individually.

I hope many will join me and chime in from time to time with thoughts and comments. This will be an exciting journey for me, Ives is a favorite of mine, and what I believe to be the finest American classical composer.



And no need to only discuss his music, we could span out to his pioneering of the Insurance business, and possibly improve the quality of life for us all.  ;D :) ;D :)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 11:48:18 AM
Sounds good, Greg. I'll be happy to participate since Ives in a favorite of mine as well. :) I'll be on vacation week after next, so I'll definitely set aside a day or two for Ives.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: some guy on February 27, 2013, 01:04:51 PM
How fleeting is fame.

Even when it's been digitized and reissued....

Aloys Kontarsky, Ives' Concord Sonata. With Theo Pluemacher, viola and Willy Schwegler, flute.

CD 2 in the three CD set of Volume 5 of the Wergo reissue of the Earle Brown Contemporary Sound Series.

(CD 1 is the wildly spectacular Sonic Arts Union: Electric Sound. CD 3 is some delightful flute and piano pieces from Evangelisti, Castiglioni, Berio, Messiaen, Matsudaira, and Maderna.)

All six volumes (18 CDs) are worth getting, though there's only the one Ives CD. :)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 27, 2013, 03:27:31 PM
Getting an early start, here is what I wrote last year about Ives Symphony No. 1


THE IVES OF MARCH


Let's start with the Symphony No. 1 (1898-1902) Written while attending Yale University, Ives symphony No.1 displays musical qualities and influence of late-romantic composers. Not as inventive compared to later pieces, although you can hear the young, foreshadowing Ives fighting with conventional sonata-form at times, his first symphony is an important key to understanding the development and metamorphoses of Ives' compositional style.
I am recommending this Naxos disc with James Sinclair, who has recorded many great Ives discs, Sinclair convinces his listeners that is not just a student piece, it carries weight and it's reminiscent of composers from that era.



In addition to this Sinclair, another good version can be found from Litton with the Dallas SO...


Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 27, 2013, 03:32:45 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XstdcyvuL._SY300_.jpg)

Ives: Symphony No. 1
1st movement Allegro (con moto)

http://www.youtube.com/v/xhS2M-gpHIM


2nd movement Adagio Molto

 http://www.youtube.com/v/7cFM0xmu2Pk

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 06, 2013, 08:10:21 AM
Songs

Charles Ives composed well over 100 songs, widely ranging in style and emotion. Scott Mortensen wrote a well-written piece that describes Ives' comprehensive output.

"Charles Ives' song legacy presents a unique set of challenges to its interpreters. Ives' songs derive from an enormously wide variety of musical traditions, from the German lied tradition (and European art song in general), to American parlor songs, hymns, and folk tunes. In addition, Ives' own relentless experimentation, which often bore little resemblance to anything that preceded him, led to a body of works that still presents formidable obstacles to any performer, regardless of their background. In short, how many singers are capable of singing like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau one moment and an authentic Texas cowboy the next? What's even more difficult: Ives' greatest songs typically don't come from any clearly defined performance tradition, so the performer must internalize them and come up with something new, a kind of Ivesian cultural synthesis encompassing almost everything: high and low, new and old, secular and sacred, comical and serious, American and Universal.

Aside from stylistic variety, Ives' songs also call for an enormous range of emotional responses: from mystical meditations on God and Nature to sentimental recollections of days gone by; from sarcastic, bombastic political commentary to the innocent, wide-eyed wonder of a child. The songs' broad emotional spectrum presents yet another challenge to any artist who chooses to perform them."


You can find this write-up along with recommendations here (http://www.musicweb-international.com/Ives/RR_Songs.htm)

I've selected a few songs from Ives that display this wide range of style.

http://www.youtube.com/v/c3gU5hAXZ08&playnext=1&list=PL3B12BBAD996FC173&feature=results_video

Memories: Gerald Finley, Julius Drake (piano)


http://www.youtube.com/v/gJFKLTA0vq0

Like A Sick Eagle: Susan Narucki, Alan Feinberg (piano)


http://www.youtube.com/v/cgGA1eEjhLA

Feldeinsamkeit: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau


http://www.youtube.com/v/SnbGruNIV1o

General William Booth Enters Into Heaven: William Sharp, Stephen Blier (piano)



Elegie, Romanzo, Sunrise and The Circus Band are a few more of my favorites that I could not find samples of.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on March 06, 2013, 08:14:35 AM
Sweet! I have that Mayer, but I am not sure I've listened to it, yet . . . .

Sweet II!

LOLZ!! Karl, the little engine that... might!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 06, 2013, 08:15:50 AM
(* chortle *)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 06, 2013, 08:40:39 PM
Continuing with vocal music...

Ives composed Psalm 90 for chorus, soprano and tenor soloist, organ and percussion in 1923-24. This is one of Ives most challenging and rewarding works, mostly because of its large spectrum of musical offering. The first five to six minutes are filled with unyielding progressions and dissonance in the chorus, followed in the final 4-5 minutes of a calmly tranquil major-key flow. It's truly amazing how Ives can transition from two different sound-worlds without distracting the overall direction of the music. I was lucky enough to find a good performance of Psalm 90 to post. I hope you all get a chance to listen.  $:)

http://www.youtube.com/v/ZPlCWI8RImA

Ives: Psalm 90

Pamela Pristley-Smith, soprano
David Roy, tenore
Christopher Hughes, organo
solisti della The New London Orchestra
BBC Singers diretti da Stephen Cleobury.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: North Star on March 07, 2013, 07:16:02 AM
Continuing with vocal music...

Ives composed Psalm 90 for chorus, soprano and tenor soloist, organ and percussion in 1923-24. This is one of Ives most challenging and rewarding works, mostly because of its large spectrum of musical offering. The first five to six minutes are filled with unyielding progressions and dissonance in the chorus, followed in the final 4-5 minutes of a calmly tranquil major-key flow. It's truly amazing how Ives can transition from two different sound-worlds without distracting the overall direction of the music. I was lucky enough to find a good performance of Psalm 90 to post. I hope you all get a chance to listen.  $:)
Amazing piece! Thanks for posting, and writing of it, Greg!
Do you know this (or any other) recording?

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 07, 2013, 03:42:36 PM
Amazing piece! Thanks for posting, and writing of it, Greg!
Do you know this (or any other) recording?



I do not have this album, but have been wanting it for some time. The samples sound lovely, might be the best recorded versions of his Psalms.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 07, 2013, 03:46:45 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XstdcyvuL._SY300_.jpg)

Ives: Symphony No. 1
1st movement Allegro (con moto)

http://www.youtube.com/v/xhS2M-gpHIM


2nd movement Adagio Molto

 http://www.youtube.com/v/7cFM0xmu2Pk


Just realized I forgot to post movements 3 and 4. Such a romantic piece, so many influences can heard throughout the third mvt. Scherzo. What might sound like some European-influence from the 3rd, is followed by strong hints of the All-American Ives that is so prominent in his following symphony No.2.


http://www.youtube.com/v/QHxMTKexuGo

http://www.youtube.com/v/1hNGBIZDbYM
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 07, 2013, 03:58:45 PM
We are fortunate to have a little of Charles Ives own performances on record. One of the most spectacular is his performance of his song "They Are There". It's a very patriotic piece but underlined with a hodgepodge of Ives own style. There even seems to be a little improv by Mr. Ives  ;)


http://www.youtube.com/v/10pqluMwgXQ


There's a time in many a life,
when it's do though facing death
and our soldier boys will do their part
that people can live in a world where all will have a say.
They're conscious always of their country's aim,
which is Liberty for all.
Hip hip hooray you'll hear them say
as they go to the fighting front.

Brave boys are now in action
They are there, they will help to free the world
They are fighting for the right
But when it comes to might,
They are there, they are there, they are there,
As the Allies beat up all the warhogs,
The boys'll be there fighting hard
a-a-and then the world will shout
the battle cry of Freedom.
Tenting on a new camp ground.

When we're through this cursed war,
All started by a sneaking gouger,
making slaves of men
Then let all the people rise,
and stand together in brave, kind Humanity.
Most wars are made by small stupid
selfish bossing groups
while the people have no say.
But there'll come a day
Hip hip Hooray
when they'll smash all dictators to the wall.

Then it's build a people's world nation Hooray
Ev'ry honest country free to live its own native life.
They will stand for the right,
but if it comes to might,
They are there, they are there, they are there.
Then the people, not just politicians
will rule their own lands and lives.
Then you'll hear the whole universe
shouting the battle cry of Freedom.
Tenting on a new camp ground.
Tenting on a new camp ground
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Concord on May 11, 2013, 03:49:14 PM
Ivan Hewett has posted an introduction to Ives's music over at his blog (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classical-music-guide/10044747/Ivan-Hewetts-Classic-50-No-21-Ives-The-Housatonic-at-Stockbridge.html) at The Telegraph. Here is the first paragraph:

“Stand up and use your ears like a man!” That was Charles Ives’s furious response to some hecklers at a performance of music by another great American radical, Henry Cowell. Ives was very hot on manliness — there’s a well-known photo of him in the garb of an American footballer, taken in his Harvard days. One detects an undercurrent of anxiety that his chosen profession was a touch “sissy”, which was reasonable enough given that classical music in the US was almost entirely run by blue-rinsed ladies of a certain age.

How many errors can you spot?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 11, 2013, 04:41:38 PM
Ivan Hewett has posted an introduction to Ives's music over at his blog (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classical-music-guide/10044747/Ivan-Hewetts-Classic-50-No-21-Ives-The-Housatonic-at-Stockbridge.html) at The Telegraph. Here is the first paragraph:

“Stand up and use your ears like a man!” That was Charles Ives’s furious response to some hecklers at a performance of music by another great American radical, Henry Cowell. Ives was very hot on manliness — there’s a well-known photo of him in the garb of an American footballer, taken in his Harvard days. One detects an undercurrent of anxiety that his chosen profession was a touch “sissy”, which was reasonable enough given that classical music in the US was almost entirely run by blue-rinsed ladies of a certain age.

How many errors can you spot?

His profession was Insurance. He went to Yale.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Concord on May 11, 2013, 05:22:05 PM
His profession was Insurance. He went to Yale.

That's two. There are others.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 11, 2013, 05:27:46 PM
That's two. There are others.

I feel like the sport is wrong.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Concord on May 11, 2013, 05:39:10 PM
I feel like the sport is wrong.

The sport is right - to a degree. Ives did play football, but in high school, not college.

There are more.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Dax on May 12, 2013, 01:17:42 AM
Ruggles not Cowell.

One heckler.

Why can't you stand up before fine strong music like this and use your ears like a man!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 12, 2013, 08:02:47 AM
And the other piece in this morning's service (in addition to the Stravinsky Bogoroditse Devo) was the Ives song, "Songs My Mother Taught Me." (I really was not expecting Ives this week, after the Linda Ronstadt jokes last week . . . .)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Concord on May 12, 2013, 12:23:30 PM
Ruggles not Cowell.

One heckler.

Why can't you stand up before fine strong music like this and use your ears like a man!

Ruggles is correct, for 25 points. The piece was Men and Mountains.

And finally, the celebrated outburst probably never happened. In his biogaphy of Ives, Swafford reports that Ives later wrote it was something he wished he had said. I think we all have moments like that.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 12, 2013, 04:09:59 PM
And the other piece in this morning's service (in addition to the Stravinsky Bogoroditse Devo) was the Ives song, "Songs My Mother Taught Me." (I really was not expecting Ives this week, after the Linda Ronstadt jokes last week . . . .)

A great song from the Ives collection.

http://www.youtube.com/v/oANpTJMDewY
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: sound67 on July 15, 2013, 01:24:31 AM
Any update on the future of Charles Ives's home in Redding CT after it was sold to developers in September 2012?

(http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/charlesives1-550x412.jpg)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on December 09, 2013, 09:53:43 PM
Seeking to expand my Ives collection, I've seen this 100th Anniversary commemorative box set (5 LPs), issued by Columbia in 1974, for sale in a few places. I don't know how much of this has been re-issued on CD. Does anyone have this?

(http://www.dustygroove.com/images/products/i/ives~~~~~~~_charlesiv_101b.jpg)

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on January 06, 2014, 02:02:36 PM
Seeking to expand my Ives collection, I've seen this 100th Anniversary commemorative box set (5 LPs), issued by Columbia in 1974, for sale in a few places. I don't know how much of this has been re-issued on CD. Does anyone have this?

(http://www.dustygroove.com/images/products/i/ives~~~~~~~_charlesiv_101b.jpg)

Yes, I have the LP set and it's a favorite. It's no longer an essential set but I have fond memories of this set since I first came across it at a library in 1989. The last disk has interview excerpts from Ives' family and colleagues, interviewed by Vivian Perlis for her book 'Charles Ives Remembered.' The large booklet is fun to have. The textual information is probably out of date in light of recent Ives scholarship.

I think most of the material has been released on CD. The Bernstein and Stokowski tracks are on CD. My favorite 'General Booth Enter's Heaven' is on this set and I haven't seen that on CD, but the whole set is not worth one track. I keep it for nostalgic reasons.

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on January 07, 2014, 02:45:21 PM
Yes, I have the LP set and it's a favorite. It's no longer an essential set [etc]

Thanks for the feedback. After some consideration, I've decided not to get it - too much duplication, and I'm not really interested in the bonus discs.

A fair amount of vocal Ives appears to be LP only, like the Gregg Smith Singers albums. I'll look out for single LP issues.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on January 08, 2014, 10:41:37 AM
Thanks for the feedback. After some consideration, I've decided not to get it - too much duplication, and I'm not really interested in the bonus discs.

A fair amount of vocal Ives appears to be LP only, like the Gregg Smith Singers albums. I'll look out for single LP issues.

I love the Gregg Smith Singers albums of Ives. I did the same thing, I sought out and bought those albums and they are incredible.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2014, 10:35:47 PM
THE IVES OF MARCH IS HERE!!!!

(http://pixdaus.com/files/items/pics/4/50/220450_3616218191e1e902479e5f243d54dc17_large.jpg)

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CIG69pIj4cg/UKHyVgkIFoI/AAAAAAAACuA/Z4-qXSJnwPk/s1600/Ives+1946.jpg)

Should we break out the champagne? Should we smoke some mary jane? Should we just listen to some Ives and enjoy? Sounds good to me! 8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 03, 2014, 09:18:29 AM
Perfect timing John! I've been spinning much of Ives the last two weeks. Re-falling in love with the Concord Sonata and the 4th Symphony in particular, having a blast aquiring more recordings for my Ives library. I've been collecting broadcast performances and long OOP LP recordings.

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2014, 09:21:50 AM
Perfect timing John! I've been spinning much of Ives the last two weeks. Re-falling in love with the Concord Sonata and the 4th Symphony in particular, having a blast aquiring more recordings for my Ives library. I've been collecting broadcast performances and long OOP LP recordings.

I just did that post for Monkey Greg since March is Ives month. :) But that's good to hear about you and your Ives collection, Leo. He's certainly one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I have so many other musical interests that are taking up a considerable amount of my time right now. But I'm hoping by mid-March, I'll swing back around to Ives at some point.

What are some of your favorite Ives works?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 03, 2014, 09:33:29 AM
I just did that post for Monkey Greg since March is Ives month. :) But that's good to hear about you and your Ives collection, Leo. He's certainly one of my favorites. Unfortunately, right now I have so many other musical interests that are taking up a considerable amount of my time right now. But I'm hoping by mid-March, I'll swing back around to Ives at some point.

What are some of your favorite Ives works?

Thanks John! I totally understand. I've also been balancing Bach, Bruckner and now Roger Sessions and it's a wonder I get time to listen to all this great stuff.

My favorite Ives works are the Concord Sonata, Three Places in New England, General Booth (the orch. arrangement) and the 2nd Symphony. Long ago I fell out of favor with the 4th Symphony, but that has changed recently! Thank god. What a work!

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2014, 09:36:44 AM
Thanks John! I totally understand. I've also been balancing Bach, Bruckner and now Roger Sessions and it's a wonder I get time to listen to all this great stuff.

My favorite Ives works are the Concord Sonata, Three Places in New England, General Booth (the orch. arrangement) and the 2nd Symphony. Long ago I fell out of favor with the 4th Symphony, but that has changed recently! Thank god. What a work!

Nice list! Speaking of Sessions, he's always been one of those composers that I've been meaning to check out but never have actually gotten around to yet.

Have you heard any of Ives' chamber works? This is an area of Ives I have the largest blind spot, but I'm hoping to pickup a recording of the SQs and Violin Sonatas today.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 03, 2014, 09:47:39 AM
and long OOP LP recordings.

Which for instance? A lot of good Ives seems to be stranded on vinyl.

My favorite Ives works are the Concord Sonata, Three Places in New England, General Booth (the orch. arrangement) and the 2nd Symphony.

I'm planning to hear the CSO play the 2nd Symphony next month, under Mark Elder.  :)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 03, 2014, 09:55:27 AM
Nice list! Speaking of Sessions, he's always been one of those composers that I've been meaning to check out but never have actually gotten around to yet.

Have you heard any of Ives' chamber works? This is an area of Ives I have the largest blind spot, but I'm hoping to pickup a recording of the SQs and Violin Sonatas today.

Thanks John. Years ago I listened to Ives' String Quartets often (the Emerson QT), his No.1 being my favorite. I really like the Piano Trio (w/ Yo Yo Ma on Sony). I didn't listen to the Violin Sonatas much at all and they are a blind spot for me, as well as Ives' First Piano Sonata. I just acquired two OOP LP recordings of the First Piano Sonata and bought Denk's Ives disk (the 1st and 2nd Piano Sonatas).

I also acquired three Violin Sonata sets, an OOP LP recording of the Violin Sonatas and two more recent Violin Sonata sets, one is Hilary Hahn. I do remember Anne Akiko's account of the 4th Violin Sonata and always loved it. I'll have to dig that one out too.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 03, 2014, 09:57:09 AM
Which for instance? A lot of good Ives seems to be stranded on vinyl.

I'm planning to hear the CSO play the 2nd Symphony next month, under Mark Elder.  :)

I'll get you a list of what I found.

You are SO LUCKY! I'm jealous!!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: DavidW on March 03, 2014, 10:28:44 AM
That is a cute enough pun that I think I will listen to some Ives this month... and I haven't listened to any Ives in the past ten years or so!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 03, 2014, 10:40:20 AM
Which for instance? A lot of good Ives seems to be stranded on vinyl.

I'm planning to hear the CSO play the 2nd Symphony next month, under Mark Elder.  :)

Here is what I have in vinyl.

OOP LPs

John Kirkpatrick's 1945 recording of Ives's Concord Sonata, issued on
Columbia 78s.

Concord Quartet from a 1975 Nonesuch LP performing both
the first and second quartets.

William Masselos - Ives Piano Sonata No.1 (Columbia ML 4490)

Time-Life LP, Aloys Kontarsky plays Ives' "Concord" Sonata..

Noël Lee performs the Ives Piano Sonata No.1 (Nonesuch H 71169)

Pappa-stavrou plays Ives Concord Sonata (studio recording - CRI)

Violin Sonatas - Druian/Simms on Mercury
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 03, 2014, 10:45:43 AM
Also, I've heard some GREAT broadcasts, these are my favorites:


Ives Symphony No. 4 Rozhdestvensky & CSO (March 7, 1977)
Ives Symphony No. 4 Martyn Brabbins & the BRSO (July 11, 2003)
Ives Symphony No.4 Alan Gilbert, NYPO (date?)

James Sinclair's reconstruction of the original version, "for large orchestra" of Charles Ives's Three Places in New England, Neville Marriner, Minnesota Orchestra (early 80's I think)

Completed by Porter: Emerson Concerto (piano)Cleveland Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnanyi, cond. Alan Feinberg, piano
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on March 03, 2014, 11:15:29 AM
I really like the Piano Trio (w/ Yo Yo Ma on Sony).

I just bought that one. Excellent.


Concord Quartet from a 1975 Nonesuch LP performing both
the first and second quartets.

And I've got this one too. It's one of many, many Nonesuches that were never released on CD.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Dax on March 03, 2014, 11:52:02 AM
The Ives of March

http://www.sendspace.com/file/w9pj9o
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2014, 11:53:53 AM
Now only if Monkey Greg will show up! This is quite a turn out for The Ives of March this year. You should be proud Monkey Greg!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 25, 2014, 09:22:23 AM
Perhaps, hopefully, possibly of interest here (or in other threads that I didn't, however, find):

The following interview with Kent Nagano, exclusively on Charles Ives.

In English... (but also in German, for those who prefer it)

The Profound Existentialism of Charles Ives: Kent Nagano in Conversation

(http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Portals/0/blog_data/Magazine%202014/Kent_Nagano_(c)Felix-Broede_560_KonzerthausMagazin.png)


http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/343/The-Profound-Existentialism-of-Charles-Ives-Kent-Nagano-in-Conversation.aspx (http://"http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/343/The-Profound-Existentialism-of-Charles-Ives-Kent-Nagano-in-Conversation.aspx")

Kent Nagano über Charles Ives

(http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Portals/0/blog_data/Magazine%202014/Charles_Ives_1893_Baseball_560.jpg)


http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/344/Kent-Nagano-uber-Charles-Ives.aspx (http://"http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/344/Kent-Nagano-uber-Charles-Ives.aspx")

Thanks for this!

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: jlaurson on March 25, 2014, 09:27:02 AM
Quote
Links aren't working, Jens.
Thanks! Fixed.

Oh, and also many thanks to North Star, for also fixing it!!!!!

Looking forward to the "Concord Symphony" tonight, with MTT & SFS at the WKH.

apropos:

The following interview with Kent Nagano, exclusively on Charles Ives.

In English... (but also in German, for those who prefer it)

The Profound Existentialism of Charles Ives: Kent Nagano in Conversation

(http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Portals/0/blog_data/Magazine%202014/Kent_Nagano_(c)Felix-Broede_560_KonzerthausMagazin.png)


http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/343/The-Profound-Existentialism-of-Charles-Ives-Kent-Nagano-in-Conversation.aspx (http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/343/The-Profound-Existentialism-of-Charles-Ives-Kent-Nagano-in-Conversation.aspx)

Kent Nagano über Charles Ives

(http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Portals/0/blog_data/Magazine%202014/Charles_Ives_1893_Baseball_560.jpg)


http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/344/Kent-Nagano-uber-Charles-Ives.aspx (http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/344/Kent-Nagano-uber-Charles-Ives.aspx)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: jlaurson on March 25, 2014, 11:36:46 AM
Krzysztof Chorzelski, violist of the Belcea Quartet, talks Anton Webern and Charles Ives while enjoying a cold one.

Anton Webern, Langsamer Satz, and the Belcea Quartet 

(http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Portals/0/blog_data/Magazine%202014/Ready-Set-Anton-Webern_560.png)


http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/345/Krzysztof-Chorzelski-violist-of-the-Belcea-Quartet-has-a-beer-and-talks-Anton-Webern-and-then-some.aspx (http://konzerthaus.at/magazin/Home/tabid/41/entryid/345/Krzysztof-Chorzelski-violist-of-the-Belcea-Quartet-has-a-beer-and-talks-Anton-Webern-and-then-some.aspx)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 06, 2014, 05:42:19 PM
Seattle S's new release featuring a live performance of Ives Symphony 2. Available on Spotify...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eT451fh6L._SS350_.jpg)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 27, 2014, 06:09:16 PM
I heard the CSO do the 2nd Symphony last night, under Mark Elder. A review here:

http://chicagoclassicalreview.com/2014/04/ives-raucous-and-subversive-second-symphony-highlights-elders-rewarding-cso-program/

Although I agree with some of the criticisms made, I think these were minor, and on the whole the performance felt tremendous and invigorating. A terrific piece to hear live. The audience seemed to agree with me; it got quite an ovation.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 28, 2014, 02:18:41 AM
A terrific piece to hear live. The audience seemed to agree with me; it got quite an ovation.

Wonderful to hear Ives appreciated.

Sarge
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on April 28, 2014, 02:32:05 PM
I heard the CSO do the 2nd Symphony last night, under Mark Elder. A review here:

http://chicagoclassicalreview.com/2014/04/ives-raucous-and-subversive-second-symphony-highlights-elders-rewarding-cso-program/

Although I agree with some of the criticisms made, I think these were minor, and on the whole the performance felt tremendous and invigorating. A terrific piece to hear live. The audience seemed to agree with me; it got quite an ovation.

Thanks for the report, sounds like a great time. Aces!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on January 07, 2016, 05:11:51 PM
(http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/08/13/charles-ives-96cbd71bb82f7b967c9cb75f3fc506d66e9d4b01.jpg)

Charles Ives: The Sound of America

Charles Ives was the son of George Ives, a Danbury, Connecticut bandmaster and a musical experimenter whose approach heavily influenced his son. Charles Ives' musical skills quickly developed; he was playing organ services at the local Presbyterian church from the age of 12 and began to compose at 13. Ives' rural, rough-and-tumble childhood was revisited vividly and repeatedly in the music he composed as an adult.

In 1894 Ives entered Yale to study music, and his father died at age 40 from a heart attack. Professor Horatio T. Parker was not at all interested in encouraging Ives' experimental style. Ives dutifully learned the basics, creating an interesting but conventional Symphony No. 1 as his graduation thesis in 1898. After barely managing to earn his diploma, Ives moved with a couple of his fraternity buddies to an apartment in New York City. He became organist at Central Presbyterian Church and composed his first large-scale attempt to reflect the spirit of America, the Symphony No. 2. In off hours Ives worked on his wild, highly dissonant and ragtime-influenced Piano Sonata No. 1, making a din that his roommates described as "resident disturbances."

In 1902 a friend introduced Ives to the insurance agent Julian Myrick. They co-founded the first Mutual Life Insurance office in Manhattan. Through his hard work and easy ability to communicate with customers, Ives would become a very wealthy insurance executive. In 1906 he married Harmony Twichell, a woman from a prominent New England family. Ives continued to compose his music on commuter trains, in the evening, and on weekends, writing what pleased him without worrying what the outside world might think of it. In order to check details of orchestration, Ives hired out theater orchestras to rehearse his scores. In 1910 Ives gave New York Philharmonic conductor Gustav Mahler a score and parts to his Symphony No. 3, "The Camp Meeting." Mahler tried it in rehearsal after returning to Vienna, but died before he could perform it.

In the 1910s, Ives would produce several of his most important masterworks, the Symphony No. 4, the Orchestral Set No. 1: "Three Places in New England," the String Quartet No. 2, and the massive Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord, Mass., 1840-1860," commonly referred to as the Concord Sonata. With the beginning of America's involvement in World War I, Ives raised funds for the war effort, supported an unsuccessful constitutional amendment prohibiting a declaration of war without the support of two-thirds of the populace, published a manual (Surveying the Prospect) that for years served as a bible for the insurance industry, and composed at an astounding pace. In October 1918 Ives suffered a severe heart attack that nearly killed him. In 1921 he published the Concord Sonata and in 1922 followed it with 114 Songs, containing songs dating from 1888 to the eve of publication. These editions were sent out free to anyone who wanted them, and many copies wound up in the wastebaskets of music conservatories.

In 1924 pianist and new music enthusiast E. Robert Schmitz made an appointment with Ives to buy insurance, but left instead with a copy of the Concord Sonata. He introduced the work to Edgard Varèse and to Henry Cowell, who became Ives' strongest advocate. Soon Ives' music began to appear on concert programs, and when Cowell launched his New Music Quarterly in 1927, Ives helped back the project financially. But that same year Ives confided to Harmony that he'd somehow lost the gift that compelled him to write music.

In 1930 Ives and Myrick both decided to retire, and from this time forward Ives concerned himself with revising existing works. Ives' eyesight was beginning to deteriorate, so he had huge Photostats made of his scores and also made recordings to work from. Composers Cowell, John J. Becker, and Lou Harrison helped Ives create legible scores of his music, instituting a scholarly tradition of Ives editing that continues to this day. In January 1939, pianist John Kirkpatrick performed the complete "Concord" in a recital so successful that even critics distrustful of modern music gave it rave reviews. In 1947 Ives was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his Symphony No. 3, completed nearly 40 years earlier. With Ives' death in May 1954 his musical legacy became top priority for a generation of biographers, researchers, and performers.

Ives' early works expertly channel European influences into totally fresh constructs; mature works make use of quotation, collage techniques, spatial redistribution of instrumental groups and soloists, metric modulation, homegrown forms of pitch organization and dense, massed blocks of clustered chords. The difficult idiom of many of his pieces has denied Ives the mass appeal of Copland and Gershwin, and he can be an acquired taste. Some critics and conductors, mainly European, discount the value of his innovations, concluding that Ives was an amateur who didn't know what he was doing. By the turn of the twenty-first century renewed researches into Ives' theoretical approach revealed that he certainly did know what he was doing, and he has much to teach us yet today in terms of fresh ideas and techniques.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm sure a lot you know Ives' history and for those who don't the above article will provide you with some quick information on the composer and his life. The reason I'm resurrecting this thread is to tell everyone how much Ives' music has meant to me through the years. I may not listen to his music much or I may go through phases where all I do is listen to his music, but there's one thing that's undeniable: no other composer sounds like him. The first time I heard Ives was about 12 years ago when I heard jazz guitarist Bill Frisell's album Have A Little Faith. This particular album was also notable for introducing me to the music Copland (another favorite American composer). The first piece I heard was The 'St. Gaudens' in Boston Common from Three Places in New England. My ears were absolutely glued to my headphones. I never heard music like this before and the fact that this was from an American classical composer --- a sense of pride suddenly overwhelmed me. I thought "I didn't know the US had a classical tradition of their own?" This exposure led me to my first Ives purchase: Bernstein's recording of Symphony No. 2 (and other misc. orchestral works) on Deutsche Grammophon. This was all it took as I was finally hearing full-blown orchestral Ives. This wasn't Romantic music, which I had a little previous exposure to through my grandfather, this was coming from another planet entirely. Anyway, where I'm getting at this changed my life and my view on music forever. This was my gateway into this music. I can only look back on these listening experiences with a smile as it was Ives who really taught me to appreciate this music and to 'use my ears like man.' :)

Sorry to ramble on like a buffoon, but I guess I'm feeling a bit nostalgic tonight. For those that love this composer, please share with me and everyone else, your own experiences with Ives' music and how you came to admire the music.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on January 08, 2016, 08:20:45 AM

Sorry to ramble on like a buffoon, but I guess I'm feeling a bit nostalgic tonight. For those that love this composer, please share with me and everyone else, your own experiences with Ives' music and how you came to admire the music.

I've only been listening to Ives in serious detail for the last couple of years. Before that, I only really knew him based on a few "greatest hits." At that time, I agreed with an assessment from I think Peter Schickele, that Ives' music "was more interesting than good."

I don't think that anymore; in fact after exploring his work in more depth, I think he is probably the greatest composer yet to arise in the USA, possibly by quite a large margin. Major works like the 4th Symphony, "Concord" Sonata, and 2nd String Quartet are the kind of masterpieces that really take a lot of deep exploration to get to the bottom of.

I also find it interesting how his oeuvre is split between the early "American Dvorak" period and the later experimentalism. I enjoy both; I certainly don't dismiss these early works as "apprentice pieces." They include some fully formed masterworks that are easy to overlook in view of the innovative radicalism of the later works.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on January 08, 2016, 08:42:05 AM
Thanks for sharing this, Apollo. What I find really remarkable is how ahead of his time he was and how he really predated a lot of these polystylists like Schnittke for example. People talk about how inventive Schnittke's Symphony No. 1 is but they fail to remember that Ives was already doing this in the early 20th Century --- possibly even before. I'm currently listening to his Orchestral Set No. 2 (Dohnanyi/Cleveland performance) and really amazed by it and how he stacked up all of these seemingly opposite genres into something that was cohesive and just as natural for him as breathing.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: 71 dB on January 08, 2016, 09:40:15 AM
As long as I have been listening to classical music (almost 20 years), I have been ignoring Ives totally. Only recently I decided to actually listen to some of his music on Spotify. To my surprise, Ives seems to be much more interesting composer than I had assumed. I bought some Ives on CD and I'm now waiting for the super slow postal service to deliver them to me.

What I find really remarkable is how ahead of his time he was and how he really predated a lot of these polystylists like Schnittke for example.

Yeah, I get the "ahead of his time" -vibes from Ives. Something in his music is similar to the contemporary American composers I have been exploring recently.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: lescamil on January 08, 2016, 03:16:45 PM
Thanks for sharing this, Apollo. What I find really remarkable is how ahead of his time he was and how he really predated a lot of these polystylists like Schnittke for example. People talk about how inventive Schnittke's Symphony No. 1 is but they fail to remember that Ives was already doing this in the early 20th Century --- possibly even before. I'm currently listening to his Orchestral Set No. 2 (Dohnanyi/Cleveland performance) and really amazed by it and how he stacked up all of these seemingly opposite genres into something that was cohesive and just as natural for him as breathing.

One must remember that it took a long time for much of Ives's music to be performed and gain exposure, especially worldwide, probably especially to Russia where Schnittke was, so chances are that Schnittke's music developed with little or no knowledge of Ives. Ives's 4th symphony did not receive a complete performance until 1965.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: 71 dB on January 09, 2016, 05:44:11 AM
One must remember that it took a long time for much of Ives's music to be performed and gain exposure, especially worldwide,..

Is Ives popular anywhere outside US? Is Ives popular even in US?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: BitPerfectRichard on January 09, 2016, 10:14:30 AM
I first came across Charles Ives as a teenager when my mother bought me a rather weird album called Classical Heads - various classical pieces arranged and re-interpreted by a retired French Horn player called Joseph Eger, on the UK Prog Rock label Charisma.  It included an arrangement of The Unanswered Question, and I found that this was the one piece from the album that stuck with me over time.  The track was ascribed to "Ives" and I had no idea who or what "Ives" was.  Back in 1971 there was no Internet.  This version included a voiceover reciting poetry that may or may not have been purpose-written for the piece.  In my mind, that poetry is forever conflated with the music.

It is still far and away my favourite piece by Charles Ives.  The best recording of it that I have is by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, on Sony Classical from 1990.

Kent Nagano has spoken at length on Charles Ives, and for the last 8 years or so he has been Music Director of my local Montreal Symphony Orchestra.  Nonetheless, I wait in vain for The Unanswered Question to appear on the programme....
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 09, 2016, 11:16:00 AM
....please share with me and everyone else, your own experiences with Ives' music and how you came to admire the music.

I discovered Ives through a Young People's Concert broadcast in 1967: Charles Ives: American Pioneer. It's on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/v/tsbaSwhtx9E

The only Ives recording I could afford then (I was still in high school) was the Sonata No.1 on the budget Columbia Odyssey label (played by William Masselos). I did hear Lenny's Ives 2, a borrowed LP from the library. Those two works cemented my lifelong love of Ives music.

Sarge
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Chronochromie on January 09, 2016, 12:15:02 PM
Sorry to ramble on like a buffoon, but I guess I'm feeling a bit nostalgic tonight. For those that love this composer, please share with me and everyone else, your own experiences with Ives' music and how you came to admire the music.

I first heard his 2nd symphony, like a year and a half ago, when I was a more inexperienced listener. I didn't get it.

Then not long after that, I heard The Unanswered Question. I loved it so tracked down every major work of his and as my taste in music had expanded since I had first heard the 2nd symphony, it was easy to get into the rest of his stuff. The Fourth Symphony sealed the deal, it was love at first hearing. Along with the Concord Sonata, my favorite Ives.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Monsieur Croche on January 09, 2016, 01:31:44 PM
Is Ives popular anywhere outside US? Is Ives popular even in US?

Those with the interest and wherewithal could access data bases and come up with the stats of how often Ives is performed, and where.

Like much modern-contemporary, it is programmed not so frequently, but I recall while living abroad for about a decade at least several times it was programmed and played -- by major ensembles.

I can not say the same about all the years I've lived in major metropolitan centers in the U.S. [While a music student, I can recall one Ives song recital program, but that is all.]

Maybe, like Jazz, the market for Ives is greater in Europe than in its country of origin?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 09, 2016, 01:49:48 PM
Is Ives popular anywhere outside US? Is Ives popular even in US?

Those with the interest and wherewithal could access data bases and come up with the stats of how often Ives is performed, and where.

Very difficult to answer dB's question. I can tell you that between 1956 and 2010 Ives was programmed 53 times by the Cleveland Orchestra (conductors included Louis Lane, Dohnanyi, Chailly, Copland, Metzmacher, Michael Charry, Maazel). More times than I would have thought before doing the research.

Sarge
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Monsieur Croche on January 09, 2016, 02:01:51 PM
The Fourth Symphony sealed the deal.... it was love at first hearing.

Ives' Fourth is a masterpiece I think worthy being a part of the canon of classical music, its merits place it right alongside many of those other masterworks of the canon, imho.

It will get played less often, the number of players, with chorus -- and two conductors -- having it more costly to program.

It is a masterpiece, and gorgeous, those two not always mutually inclusive.  :)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Cato on January 09, 2016, 02:40:52 PM
Charles Ives also entered my world in high school, and I believe I came across him thanks to an article about Arnold Schoenberg, which mentioned his cryptic reference to Ives, i.e.  "There is a great man living in this country.  His name is Ives."

And so I went to the library and found the symphonies and, I believe, John Kirkpatrick's famous recording of the Concord Sonata.

I was thrilled by both the early works and the later experimental ones.

Ives is a composer of memories, a chronicler of aural images from the past, a forager (not forger  ;)  ) among certain 19th-century American cultural aspects which he may have feared were fading in the increasingly chaotic and burgeoning cities of the 20th.  I believe there is also an impulse to continue the puckishness of his father...and to redeem him:

Quote
...However, the public did not continue to accept George as a musician. Wallach reports that in the 1870's there was a "rise in gentility" in Danbury, and with it George's status may have begun to decline (9). George faced the ridicule of a society that expected men to be in business; music was for "the ladies" (10). Feder notes that of the male musicians in Danbury, none was from Danbury, all had many jobs unrelated to music, and most did not last long in Danbury, presumably because of the uncomfortable position that they, as male musicians, were in. George himself finally had to revert to working under his nephew in the bank originally owned by his own father (11). Here he worked for the last part of his life, with his music having to take the role of an avocation...

...Charles achieved what his father failed to accomplish not only in business, but in music as well. Rossiter sums up what Charles Ives did for his father's music reputation:

George Ives lived an obscure life in Danbury, and its people treated him badly, both socially and musically. When his son acquired a reputation as a composer, he felt justified in using that reputation to secure for his father some small posthumous recognition (16).

Charles's business was selling life insurance; his music insured that his father's life was not without value....

See:

http://www.ryangarber.com/ives.html (http://www.ryangarber.com/ives.html)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on January 09, 2016, 09:16:40 PM
I appreciate everyone's feedback thus far. Most interesting!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: zamyrabyrd on January 10, 2016, 09:55:10 AM
I discovered Ives through a Young People's Concert broadcast in 1967: Charles Ives: American Pioneer.
Sarge

Wow, this vid really made my day, and Lenny so youngish back then! Thanks!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 07, 2016, 07:55:12 AM
The Ives Of March Is Here!!!

(http://www.artfixdaily.com/images/pr/tryon_earlyspringmorn_ad972x625.jpg)

(http://www.michaelmichail.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Ives.jpg)

Since our friend, Greg Moeller, is absent from the forum for an underdetermined amount of time, I thought I would start this fun tradition of his (since he and I both share a mutual admiration of this New England maverick).

I'll probably start some Ives listening tonight and will begin with The Pond (Remembrance). A haunting work that shows an enigmatic side of the composer. Please everyone join me in celebrating Ives!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 07, 2016, 09:25:15 AM
Somehow I missed the recent discussion here on the Ives thread! Thanks John for continuing to hold the torch for Ives here!

It's time to celebrate Ives again this month!

I remember discovering Ives during my senior year in High School (1989). I checked out a Leonard Bernstein record that featured four different lectures on composers, Ives being the last one. I'll never forget the sound of the Fourth of July (from the Holiday's Symphony) blaring from my turntable in the middle of the night as I lay in bed, eyes wide open. Thus began an obsession that last lasted for years (and is still with me, forever and into the next life!).

Over the years I have come to appreciate and love Ives's early Symphonies and 1st String Quartet.  According to Ives he wasn't yet 'free' in his early work -  he was self-conscious what he presented to the public.  This may be true, yet that doesn't diminish the truthful beauty of his early work.  The early symphonies (1-3) project a reverent pastoral mood from the viewpoint of a romantic 19th century individualist, with one foot still rooted in reality that ultimately sounds more rich and satisfying than a sentimental or romantic view.  In the past I've put together a discussion on Ives' 3rd Symphony that I'll repost here :)

Third Symphony "The Camp Meeting" (1904)

I. Old Folks Gatherin'
II.Children's Day
III.Communion


[Charles Ives:]
I seemed to have worked with more natural freedom, when I knew the music was not going to be inflicted on others. And this is probably one of the reasons that, not until I got to work on the Fourth Symphony, did I feel justified in writing quite as I wanted to, when the subject matter was religious. So many of the movements in things used later were started as organ preludes and postludes etc. for church services, [and] I knew that they might be played. One has a different feeling in forcing your “home-made” on a public that can’t help itself, than on a friend who comes to your house and asks you to play. (You have to finish at a public hymn, but a friend can walk out!) In other words, a congregation has some rights which an intimate or personal friend hasn’t in full…Anyway, in considering my music, the secular things—that is, those whose subject matter has to do with the activities of general life around one—seem to be freer and more experimental in technical ways.

On looking at a page from the score of the Third Symphony I am reminded of the Alcotts score from the Concord Sonata.  Like the Alcotts, the score of the symphony looks serene and very much like a hymn.  In fact the Symphony is primarily based on various hymns that Ives remembered from his childhood.  This 3rd symphony is a relatively early work, very tonal compared to his later work, and can be grouped with the 1st and 2nd Symphonies, the 1st String Quartet and the Violin Sonatas. 

The work's subtitle "The Camp Meeting" gives us the context of this nostalgic music.  Ives's childhood memories of outdoor camp meeting revivals were very meaningful for him, and probably connected him to his father on a deep spiritual level.

[from an online encyclopedia]
Camp meeting, outdoor religious meeting, usually held in the summer and lasting for several days. The camp meeting was a prominent institution of the American frontier. It originated under the preaching of James McGready in Kentucky early in the course of a religious revival (c.1800) and spread throughout the United States. Immense crowds flocked to hear the noted revivalist preachers, bringing bedding and provisions in order to camp on the grounds. The meetings were directed by a number of preachers who relieved each other in carrying on the services, sometimes preaching simultaneously in different parts of the camp grounds. Shouting, shaking, and rolling on the ground often accompanied the tremendous emotional release that followed upon “conversion,” although these extravagances were opposed and discouraged by conservative ministers. Camp meetings were usually held by evangelical sects, such as the Methodists and Baptists, and by the Cumberland Presbyterians and other newer denominations that developed out of the religious revival. In modified form they continued to be a feature of social and religious life in the region between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi River until comparatively recent times. In a sense, they survive in summer conferences and assemblies, such as the Chautauqua Institution, in revivals, and their spirit is captured by some televangelists.

Ives scholar Mark Alan Zobel writes:

Of course, by Ives’s time camp meetings had ceased to be conducted out of necessity and had become more of an elective form of worship. Moreover, getting to the meeting place was much less of an ordeal. The roads were better and the rail systems were well established. Travel in Connecticut during the late nineteenth century was hardly the same as, for example, Kentucky in the early nineteenth century. Nevertheless, extra effort was required. Families still had to bring substantial provisions and cumbersome camping gear. The roads, though better, were generally flat dirt rather than paved or stone. Washed-out roads and wagon-wheel ruts hampered the camp meeting folk of Ives’s time just as they did the frontier families of the early 1800s. Only those willing to endure the struggle and discomfort made it to these outdoor encampments.

This idea of enduring adversity and gathering together is a theme that seems to have captured Ives’s imagination. In Memos, he recalls images of farmers and their families traversing the countryside on foot or in wagons, all making their way to the meeting place. One imagines Ives (then age four) witnessing the scene—perhaps from his family’s buggy while en route, or perhaps from within a tent erected on the campsite. The memory is of ordinary people coming from all around to take place in some strange, adult ritual that young Charlie could barely have understood. It must have looked unlike anything he was used to. Surely he had seen gatherings before: people going to church in Danbury, family celebrations at home, and holiday parades in town. Nevertheless, the experience of seeing so many travel so far to a seemingly remote place must have excited him—if for no other reason but that it was something out of the ordinary.


The 3rd Symphony takes us through a whole day at one of these Camp Meetings.  The first two movements give us a different point of view (old folks and children), and finally, in the last movement, all come together and share communion with the Divine.


I.Old Folks Gatherin'

The 3rd Symphony is the climax of Ives's early style, and a kind of bridge between his past and his experimental future. Each movement of this symphony is based on an organ prelude Ives wrote for the Central Presbyterian Church in New York City (these early organ works are now lost). By 1902 Ives was working three of these preludes into a symphony, and in 1903 he worked on the short score (with most of the orchestration indicated).  The pencil sketch of the final version was finished in 1904.  He would continue to revise it over the coming years (it was probably fully completed in 1911). Personally, what I love most about the 3rd symphony is Ives's writing for the trombones (and horns for that matter), especially in the first movement.  The trombones appear after the curtain opening-like gesture of the strings, and all of a sudden...we are witness to a kind of wide open space of memory, green hills and camp meetings over a wind of New England sun and air.  I feel this way over the course of the whole symphony.

The first movement features these hymn tunes: Carl Gläser’s Azmon (1829), Charles Converse’s Erie (1868), and William Bradbury’s Woodworth (1849). Mark Zobel notes that "Azmon is most commonly paired with Charles Wesley’s hymn O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing (1739)".

(When I was a kid, I sang O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing in Church so many times I memorized the tune, so when I first heard this work I was surprised to recognize this tune and a couple of others.  My grandfather played hymns in church so this is one of the main reasons I love Ives's hymn derived works.  Most who were brought up in church would know much of this symphony from the get go.)

[Mark Zobel writes]
Several aspects of the musical context illustrate the idea of gathering. For example, the main theme is not heard at the beginning. Rather, it emerges from fragments of hymn tunes presented at the outset, which then coalesce into a complete thematic idea—a technique J. Peter Burkholder has called cumulative setting. Just as the camp meeting worshippers came from all around the countryside, these fragments appear from throughout the orchestra, and occur in such variety as to suggest the diverse individuals that Ives saw coming over the hills. Just as there was struggle in getting to the camp meeting, there is a “struggle” among these fragments to be heard as coherent units. At the end, they coalesce as though having been gathered together for the greater purpose of sounding out a complete tune—just as the camp meeting folk gathered together in song for the greater purpose of worship.

Regarding the use of these tunes, musicologist J. Peter Burkholder writes:
We have seen that most of Ives’s works based on existing music use borrowed material within a formal and thematic structure that is coherent even if the listener does not recognize the borrowed tunes. Programmaticism plays a role in a relatively small number of works, and in only a few are the borrowings to be understood primarily as fulfilling a program or illustrating a text. Yet in addition to the works whose borrowings can be explained in terms of a musical procedure or extramusical program, there are several in which the process seems entirely arbitrary, like a joke or compositional tour de force. These are the works in the tradition of quodlibet, a small group in Ives’s output but a significant influence on some of his greatest compositions. There are two basic techniques of linking existing tunes in a quodlibet: contrapuntal combination, in which tunes are piled on top of one another, and successive combination, in which fragments of various tunes appear in quick succession, whether in the same or a different instrument.

Ives was big on adding 'extramusical' associations in his works by using these hymns.  The hymn tunes in this symphony create a context, or setting that:

[musicologist Peter Burkholder]
served more than purely musical functions for Ives. Because the themes were drawn from American hymn tunes, they carried extramusical associations, from the specific words and images of the hymn texts, to the feelings evoked by hymn singing or the flavor of American song. Together with the form itself, which embodies a progression from fragments to wholeness and from vagueness to clarity, these associations give Ives’s cumulative settings three kinds of extramusical significance: a celebration of American melodies; a sense of the spirit in which these hymns were sung; and…a perfect musical parallel to the experience described in the text or program.

I should mention the numerous "shadow lines" heard throughout the music. They are usually played on a solo instrument, such as a clarinet or violin, and they are generally dissonant in contrast to the general tonal discourse of the music.  Certain recordings feature these "shadow lines" more than others, depending on the conductor's choice between various editions of the score.  Ives wrote these shadowlines in the 1904 pencil score, but in the end, he was quite ambivalent about their use and crossed them out.  However, he later requested that they be reinstated in later editions of the score.  He basically didn't want these shadow-like melodies to intrude onto the main discourse of the music, so he generally left it up to the conductor to decide.  Ives never explained why he wanted them there in the first place.     

This movement (in most editions used) ends with a shadow line...a solo violin playing What a Friend We Have in Jesus .  Zobel writes:

As Ives recalled, his father sometimes led the singing with a violin. Could this line be representative of Ives’s father? For that matter, might all the shadow lines be representative of his father’s influence? George Ives was skilled with a number of instruments, and the diversity of instruments in which the shadow lines appear could signify his presence in Ives’s memory. Whatever their meaning for Ives, their presence leaves much to the imagination which, in the end, may be what Ives most wanted.


Next: Children's Day
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 07, 2016, 09:58:32 AM
...continued from above...

II. A Children’s Day

Harmony Ives became pregnant within the first weeks of her marriage to Charles.  Both were excited and anxious to start a family, but during the month of April of 1909, a pregnant Harmony was taken to the hospital due to a problem with the pregnancy.  Tragically, she had a miscarriage and was given an emergency hysterectomy in the process.  She was in the hospital for a month.  She would never be able to have children again.

A devastated Ives worked on the song based on a poem by Keats, called “Like A Sick Eagle”:

The spirit is too weak;
mortality weighs heavily on me
like unwilling sleep,
and each imagined pinnacle and steep
of Godlike hardship
tells me I must die,
like a sick eagle looking towards the sky.



As the 1909 summer came to a close, Charles and Harmony went vacationing with her family at Pell Jone’s lodge on Elk Lake in the Adirondacks. Harmony recovered from her operation here, writing in her diary, “A perfect vacation.  Charlie working on the Symphony.”

Who knows what kind of thoughts or emotions went through his mind while orchestrating the second movement A Children’s Day, but whatever he was going through, his work was progressing with a strong maturity and confidence.  The playing children in his Symphony would continue to play for eternity, like a film tucked in a dreamy corner of the mind, easily recalled.

Charles Ives:
At the summer Camp Meetings in the Brookside Park the children, (more so the boys) would get marching and shouting the hymns…and the slow movement [Children’s Day recalls] a serious time for children, Yes, Jesus Loves Me—except when old Stone Mason Bell and Farmer John would get up and sing—and some of the boys would rush out and throw stones down on the river.

Mark Zobel writes:
Another key aspect of Ives’s childhood was play—imaginative, inventive play. Ives grew up during the golden age of childhood in which play of this kind was central. In a time before television, video games, and computers, play was a highly social and creative venture. Creative play and playing music often went hand in hand in the Ives household. Ives recalled once that, where practice and music making were concerned, George was not against a reasonable amount of “boys fooling.” Such fooling included playing a fugue in four keys at once, singing a song in one key and accompanying in another, performing more than one song at a time, and performing off-beat, wrong-key accompaniments to familiar tunes. Far from frivolous wastes of time, these musical experiments stimulated Ives’s creativity, ventures that would pay off later during his compositional years. As Ives later recalled, “what started as boy’s play and in fun, gradually worked into something that had a serious side to it that opened up possibilities.”

Ives chose hymns that would complement the playful, happy atmosphere of this movement.  The main tunes used are The Happy Land , Naomi (arr. Lowell Mason), and Fountain (arr. Lowell Mason).

The lyrics to The Happy Land could be Ives’s testimonial to his sacred memory of childhood, his muse, a tangible promised land where he can still hold his father’s hand and feel protected, and watch his father take up the violin and lead a chorus of farmers and townspeople to sing:

There is a happy land, far, far away,
Where saints in glory stand, bright, bright as day;
Oh, how they sweetly sing, worthy is our Savior King,
Loud let His praises ring, praise, praise for aye.

Come to that happy land, come, come away;
Why will you doubting stand, why still delay?
Oh, we shall happy be, when from sin and sorrow free,
Lord, we shall live with Thee, blest, blest for aye.

Bright, in that happy land, beams every eye;
Kept by a Father’s hand, love cannot die;
Oh, then to glory run; be a crown and kingdom won;
And, bright, above the sun, we reign for aye.


Though Ives worked the Naomi hymn into his Symphony years before the loss of their child, Mark Zobel noticed a “striking parallel” between this hymn and “certain events in Ives’s life” that are worth mentioning here, which I’ll briefly describe: 

In the Book of Ruth, Ruth allows the aging and childless Naomi to adopt her [Ruth’s] own son.  This enables Naomi and her new husband to have an heir, and also saves Naomi and her husband from being social outcasts. The lyrics of the Hymn are a prayer of thanks and gratitude for God’s intervention:

Father, whate'er of earthly bliss
thy sovereign will denies,
accepted at thy throne, let this
my humble prayer, arise:

Give me a calm and thankful heart,
from every murmur free;
the blessing of thy grace impart,
and make me live to thee.

Let the sweet hope that thou art mine
my life and death attend,
thy presence through my journey shine,
and crown my journey's end.


In 1916, Charles and Harmony adopt a young girl named Edith, which in turn gives Charles and Harmony a new found peace and Joy during a particularly difficult and stressful time in their lives and marriage. Zobel observes:

Just as Naomi’s adoption of Ruth’s child eased a complicated social and economic situation, the Ives’ adoption of Edith eased the complications of the preceding years by bringing new happiness into their lives.

It is not known whether Ives was conscious of this parallel or not, but Zobel states:

Ives’s choice to retain the tune in later versions (particularly in the 1909 revision which, interestingly, was scored during their vacation at Elk Lake in August while Harmony was recuperating from the surgery) suggests that the tune might have taken on a special significance for him given the events of the preceding four months.


Next: Communion
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 07, 2016, 10:09:19 AM
...continued from above...

III.Communion

In May 1896, Ives handed in the one major work assigned for his sophomore year at Yale.  His First String Quartet (subtitled “From the Salvation Army”) is a seed that would later blossom into the Third Symphony.

Like the later work, this Quartet was put together from various pieces he wrote for organ and strings at church.  The Quartet is an experimental piece, mostly made up of gospel hymns.  The first movement is a fugue based on the hymn Missionary Chant (“From Greenland’s Icy Mountains”) and Ives would later orchestrate it and place it in his Fourth Symphony. 

This Quartet is a rather loose and rambling student work but it is one of my favorite moments of Ives’s hymn reflection-music (a fantasia-communion of hymns) and very much a blueprint for his later larger works.  The use of hymn quotations are very much like the Third Symphony, except at this stage the writing is not as conceptually or formally strong as the Symphony. Ives would later despise his music professor Horatio Parker but Ives learned about abstract musical form from his teacher.  Ives remembered how Parker went off the rails when it came to revival hymns or popular music of any kind…Parker would shout, “In music they should have no place.  Imagine, in a Symphony, hearing suggestions of street tunes like ‘Marching through Georgia’ or a moody and Sanky Hymn!”

Biographer Jan Swafford mentions how in 1900 Parker would lecture his students that 'revival music' was, “Vulgar with the vulgarity of the streets and the music hall.  If sentimentality is evil…what shall we say of vulgarity?...Let the stuff be confined to the mission where it may do some good.  Among people of any appreciable degree of refinement and culture it can only do harm.”

Jan Swafford:
What could Parker do then, then, with his student who seemed incurably infested with crude hymnody and program music, who without shame could title a string quartet, that purest of genres, “From the Salvation Army?”

In New York, early on in 1911, Gustav Mahler walked into the Tams Music Copying Service (along Tin Pan Alley).  While browsing around inside, he noticed the score to a Third Symphony by some unknown American composer named Charles Ives.  After looking the score over closely, Mahler decided to take it with him back to his home in Austria, possibly intending to have this work performed in the future.  Mahler was almost finished with his tenure with the New York Philharmonic (as Director), but his time in New York had reportedly been an unhappy one. Mahler returned to Vienna, but his heart disease was very advanced and he died in May.

Jan Swafford writes:
Mahler had glanced at a Symphony by an unknown and apparently amateurish American and recognized a kindred spirit.  He saw a composer placing, as he did, the commonplace, the humble, the shopworn in a symphonic context, and in the process renewing both the material and the symphonic genre.  Mahler also saw a deliberate and touching musical naïveté close, in its Yankee voice, to his own way of evoking Austrian folk songs and landlers. 

The finale of Mahler’s own Third Symphony is very similar to Ives’s Third.  Both finales are slow and rather meditative and mystical.  Even the programmatic content is similar; in Mahler the theme is love, and in Ives the theme is communion.  The differences lie in the length and the dynamics.  Mahler uses around 25 minutes and ends with a glorious crescendo, while Ives takes about 7 minutes and remains relatively quiet throughout.  Different strokes for different folks…yet both are great.

Henry Cowell:
He [Ives] feels that music, like other truths, should never be immediately understood; there must always remain some further element yet to be disclosed. A complete musical statement, in all its clarity and simplicity, like any absolute truth is an ultimate, not a beginning. Ives reserves it, therefore, for the culmination of a work.

The finale to Ives’s Third has eluded me for many years.  It is almost like water.  When I try to remember the music, I have a difficult time remembering its sound.  I vaguely remember a kind of kaleidoscope mish- mash of strings and woodwinds that meander through a forest, with no direction.  When I was first getting to know this work I often would stop listening after the 2nd movement, or would fall asleep if I decided to stick it out.  The movement feels formless.  This effect may have been what Ives intended.  Unlike the other movements, he doesn’t quote from as many hymns. 

This may be because of the title…Communion…resolving from separation into an enjoining energy…individual-less. 

Mark Zobel:
The title [Communion] was never used when the organ piece on which it was based was played in church. Only when the music was recast in the form of a symphony (a decidedly secular genre) was the term invoked in a programmatic way. It seems clear that Ives, though perhaps not in the role of preacher, was trying to suggest something of the inner life to the listener as well as emulate the decidedly non-sectarian spiritual tone of his hero Beethoven, whose Ninth Symphony has achieved a state as close to universal as any symphonic work of the modern tradition. Just as the hymn tunes Ives borrowed would undoubtedly have suggested something devotional to postwar listeners, the use of the term communion was perhaps calculated to suggest something deeper than an outdoor encampment.

In the past I haven’t listened to this symphony with a story in mind.  As I mentioned earlier I love Ives’s writing for the trombones, but his overall orchestration of this work is glorious. More than any other work by Ives I usually listen at the sonority of the instruments rather than a ‘story.’   Yet I really like the ideas Mark Zobel puts forth in his dissertation on this Symphony. He has given me a new appreciation for this work.  Now I realize the great concept behind this Symphony:   

Mark Zobel:
How interesting that Ives chose communion, a theologically loaded term, as the theme for this final movement, especially since the symphony depicts a Christian journey of sorts…we have seen how Ives’s tune-usage illustrates the idea of a journey. In Old Folks Gatherin’, Ives gives the listener his impressions of people coming from all around the countryside to take part in the camp meeting. Musically, he represents this in the form of a cumulative setting wherein tune fragments are gathered together from around the orchestra to coalesce at the end into a unified thematic statement. In Children’s Day, Ives gives the listener impressions of childhood playfulness. Here, he uses devices such as quodlibet and wrong-note accompaniments to familiar tunes in order to represent (1) children at play on the campground and (2) the kind of “boys fooling” that often characterized music making in his childhood home. On one level, the ideas expressed in Old Folks Gatherin’ and Children’s Day suggest a program for the symphony wherein people arrive as “old folks” and are then transformed spiritually into a child-like state of innocence which then prepares them to receive communion. Intended by Ives or not, the pattern of events depicted in this symphony bears a striking resemblance to Jesus’ scriptural admonishment about first becoming like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. This does not indicate that Ives is deliberately making a theological argument, only that there is a striking parallel between this aspect of the Biblical narrative and the musical context thus far.

Moreover, the final movement lends further support to that parallel. Perhaps realizing that the communion ritual is rather mystical and abstract, and that it embodies properties that are not of the familiar world, Ives used fewer familiar tunes here than in the previous two movements. In Old Folks Gatherin’ and Children’s Day, borrowed materials appear in almost every measure. Here, however, the borrowings are relatively rare. Just as there is little of the familiar world in the theology of the communion ritual, there is little of the familiar musical world in this final movement.

The subtleties of this finale are deep and lasting.  There is a quality in the quiet strings that hints of a plane beyond quietness.  Now that I’ve learned to listen closer I now recall the little bits I like.  The work no longer feels claustrophobic - it feels transparent like a secret everyone knows that doesn’t need to be said.  The finale to the Third is a kind of prototype for many similar endings in Ives’s future works: the Piano Trio, the 2nd String quartet, the Concord Sonata, and the 4th Symphony among others.

The Third Symphony had its premiere on April 5, 1946 under Lou Harrison’s direction with the New York Little Symphony.  Much critical acclaim followed this performance, leading to the Pulitzer Prize awarded to Ives on May 5, 1947 for music. 

Characteristically, Ives called the award “a badge of mediocrity” and also quipped, “Prizes are for boys, I’m grown up.”  However, in private, Ives intimated in a letter to friend Lou Harrison that he was flattered by the award.

Mark Zobel:

As of this writing, one hundred years have passed since Ives completed principal composition of the Third Symphony in 1904. Questions as to its enduring significance may seem ill timed now, as grass roots America (the tunes of which Ives eagerly borrowed) scarcely knows the name of Charles Ives, much less any of his music. He is certainly beloved by pockets of music-lovers the world over, but to speak of this particular work as somehow preserving the essential spirit of the American camp meeting tradition with the same widespread and long-standing influence as the Epistles would be an overstatement. As music, the Third Symphony is an important part of America’s musical heritage. As a pastoral and mythic vision, however, it is awaiting discovery.
Currently, America’s musical attentions lie elsewhere—whether on the popular songs of our time, or masterworks more central to the canon. Just as the Great Depression, the spread of Fascism, and World War II primed postwar audiences for the Third Symphony’s tonal familiarity and tuneful reminiscences, one wonders if the declining economy, spread of terrorism, and war in Iraq might not prime the audiences of today. We owe it to ourselves to find out, because this symphony has things to teach us about the beauty of the inner life which, for Ives, was a most wonderful “place in the soul, all made of tunes, of tunes of long ago.”
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on March 07, 2016, 10:43:43 AM
A devastated Ives worked on the song based on a poem by Keats, called “Like A Sick Eagle”:

The spirit is too weak;
mortality weighs heavily on me
like unwilling sleep,
and each imagined pinnacle and steep
of Godlike hardship
tells me I must die,
like a sick eagle looking towards the sky.



Interesting Ives comments, thank you. Just as an aside, "Like a Sick Eagle" is one of my favorite of his songs, ever since hearing it by Jan DeGaetani and Gilbert Kalish. (For those who don't know the song, the singer is supposed to move from note to note through quarter-tones, which creates a sickly, exhausted feeling.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Dax on March 07, 2016, 11:01:55 AM
David Wooldridge, on pp 150-1 of his book From the Steeples and Mountains, reckons that Mahler took a score of the 3rd Symphony back to Europe and gave it at least a reading in Munich. Was any further evidence ever unearthed about this?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 07, 2016, 12:28:31 PM
Thanks for mentioning and opening a discussion on Ives' 3rd, Leo! Good to see you're still peaking in at GMG. I'll need to revisit The Camp Meeting for myself. I recall it's the shortest of Ives' symphonies. There's a loveliness and lyrical quality to it that is quite beautiful.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 13, 2016, 08:48:13 AM
Thanks John! I check in mostly on the weekends I don't work.

One of my favorite Ives works:

An Election (It Strikes Me That...)
For Male (in unison) Chorus and Orchestra

Also known as...

November 2, 1920
for Voice and Piano

Ives wrote this work in response to Harding's presidential victory (won by a landslide) in 1920.  In the score of the song, Ives writes, "sung as a soliloquy of an old man whose son lies in Flander's Fields."  We don't need to get into the details of the political arena at the time (Harding led a corrupt and incompetant administration), but on hearing the music it is obvious this is one of Ives's 'blowing off steam' pieces.  I never think too much on the political anger when I hear this work...I really love the unison voices and the ending, which is my favorite Ives ending ever.  He wrote his own lyric, which reads more like a rant: 

It strikes me that
some men and women got tired of a big job; but, over there our men did not quit.
They fought and died that better things might be!
Perhaps some who stayed at home are beginning to forget and to quit.
The pocketbook and certain little things talked loud and noble, and got in the way;
too many readers go by the headlines, party men will muddle up the facts,
so a good many citizens voted as grandpa always did,
or thought a change for the sake of change seemed natural enough.
“It’s raining, let’s throw out the weatherman, kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him!”
Prejudice and politics, and the stand-patters came in strong, and yelled, “slide back! Now you’re safe, that’s the easy way!”
Then the timid smiled and looked relieved, “We’ve got enough to eat, to hell with ideals!”
All the old women, male and female, had their day today,
and the hog-heart came out of his hole;but he won’t stay out long,
God always drives him back!
Oh Captain, my Captain!A heritage we’ve thrown away;
but we’ll find it again, my Captain, Captain, oh my Captain!


I discovered some a great commentary on this work, by Emily Graefe:

The song raises issues of the duty of each citizen to vote intelligently, and to uphold the founding fathers’ vision of democracy. It focuses on the dualities of the individual’s duty to action and passivity in relationship to the betterment of society. Although sung by one man, there is dialogue between him, who speaks of the duty the individual as to society, and the people who have forgotten this duty. They are shown as passive, while the singer is active. The song pities those who wanted to keep the status quo. They are presented in stark contrast to the soldiers who fought and died for change in World War I. The listener is reminded of this with the brief musical and lyrical quotation of the popular war song, “Over There” by George M. Cohan, in measure six. We are told that the soldiers “fought and died that better things might be!” whereas “the timid smiled and looked relieved, ‘We’ve got enough to eat, to hell with ideals’!” The Transcendentalists would see the timid as resigning their individuality to what society proscribes, instead of challenging ideas and finding something to believe in.

Ives presents his bias clearly and the listener does not doubt which set of people he believes are better individuals. The soldiers possessed individual honor and duty to serve their country and force a change for the better. The people at home, on the other hand, are easily satisfied and lose their desire to change the world for an ideal. They do not act on their own accord because they are part of a group mentality and possess a placidity that prohibits their own ideas from being fostered.

Musically the piece is varied. As is evidenced by the lyrics, a dialogue is set up between two different groups that represent action and inaction, which gives the song a unique character.  This is handled musically by the use of staccatos in the accompaniment when the group speaks. An ostinato figure beginning in measure four is said to be played in “an uneven and dragging way,” showing the sluggishness of the passive group and makes that inaction cohesive throughout the piece. The staccatos show how their mentality is detached from the larger understanding of what is good for society. Throws of passion are tempered by lines that are practically spoken, which help to express the duality present in the song. The music enhances the whirlwind of emotion shown in the lyrics.

The song incorporates unusual musical ideas to further Ives’ point. To begin with, the piece has no key signature or time signature. This is common in Ives’ music because of his chromaticism and polyrhythms, but also, those things would simplify the piece and break it down  into conventional language, just as politicians break things down for the public so they feel they have nothing worth voting for. Ives shows the contrast between “there” and “here” by the triplet rhythm groupings for the “there” section (m. 6, 7) in the beginning. It is found in both the melody and the accompaniment, either separately or together.

This unifying rhythm shows the unity in duty to the country and society. Also, the texture of thick chords shows unity because the notes are played together. This rhythm is not found again until the ending call to “my Captain.” Also not heard until the ending is a triple forte dynamic. It occurs in the beginning on the word “fought.” The soldiers’ duty was expressed through action, whereas society’s desire to  “quit,” is marked by a pianissimo. Underpinning the phrase “beginning to forget and to quit” are minor descending chords to show his melancholy over this fact.

The state of the majority’s inaction is shown musically. When Ives is describing the common attitude as being “to hell with ideals,” he has the singer descend on a chromatic scale.  This motion alone shows the exhaustion and release with which the individual can easily resign his role as an active citizen. Details like these descending chromatic figures show the general downtrodden nature of the country’s political situation. The five-note clusters in the left hand of the accompaniment for “to hell with ideals” are ascending and come together with the descending right hand line. The result is not harmony and agreement, but collapsing inwards and is another example of the inactive mood he tried to create. Both the chromaticism and tone clusters  do not serve a traditional purpose harmonically.

By associating these stagnant musical ideas with the inaction of society, Ives further links his  text to the music. The murkiness of the clusters of tones is ambiguous and unpleasant, especially for the audiences of his day. They represent the passive citizens in the song, and the unharmonious nature of the clusters marks the citizens’ grating effect on the country. The dark dissonances serve to echo the dark place that the American government is in: the alternative path of the individual, one in which he resigns his duty to society, leads to a dim world with little enlightenment.

The ending section with the call to “my Captain” is the climax of this emotional and bitter critique on society. One might expect this hopeful end full of major chords and clear harmony because of its hopeful ending that America will reclaim its past of involved government. Ives chose not to be so simple for this ending. The chords in the last five bars are the same, beginning with a loud proclamation (f) followed by a quiet one (p).

This is symbolic because the dynamics show the polarity that exists between individualism and the group. The first chord is anchored in the bass clef with a C-major chord. The vocal melody outlines a C-major chord before hovering around e, only to settle on c, giving the impression that C is the root. What is placed in the accompaniment on top of the C chord, though, is an A-minor chord.

This bitonality serves to demonstrate the two forces of individualism and group, with great tension resulting from the two. The second, quieter but more dissonant, is built out of a set of augmented fourths centered on C, D, and E (C to F-sharp, D to G-sharp, and E to A-sharp), which show that Ives chooses his intervals with some unifying element. The tonal ambiguity for the ending section proves that even though the past can be looked to for inspiration, it cannot be replicated. By evoking this past spirit, clarity is not reached because it has no place in the present. The diminuendo for the passage suggests that the memory will die away if it is not enhanced by a modern event to replace the ghost of the past.

The nation’s “heritage” is discredited because its citizens have neglected their duty of being informed about their government and living by high ideals. The song ends with a call to “my Captain,” Walt Whitman’s poetic reference to Abraham Lincoln.

Ives leaves the listener with an idealization of the past of Lincoln’s day when Ives believed that a strong individual led the country and when the people could be democratic about voicing their opinions. That age in history could not be repeated, though. The Transcendentalists felt the weight of the past pressuring them to live up to the ideals of their revolutionary forefathers, just as Ives fondly remembers an old way of American government. Ives recognizes that the past cannot be recreated, so he uses this memory to propel the country into action.

The Transcendentalists used a similar technique in regards to the Anthony Burns slave trial. They did this by emphasizing America’s formative identity as a bastion of freedom. When southerners threatened to bring the escaped slave Anthony Burns back to the south, northerners were rallied by the idea that they had to preserve their identity with freedom. By evoking images of the Revolutionary War, they moved the citizens of Boston to action to prevent the return of the slave. Ives believed that “the need of leaders in the old sense is fast going – but the need of freer access to greater truths and freer expression is with us.”

He used the memory of a leader to encourage citizens to become their own leaders empowered to make their own decisions.


I feel this is an great, if not essential work, in Ives's catalogue.  It has a comical and industrial air about it.  I keep imaging a cold winter sky every time I hear this.  It is very raw and brittle sounding...very cold, in a sense.  Yet the ending is such a blissful cry...the mood blooms into something else...MY CAPTAIN (Whitman's evocation of Lincoln after Lincoln's assassination). 
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 13, 2016, 08:54:10 AM
In a way, you can say this post is a continuation from the post above (Ives's piece on President Harding)...

Lincoln, The Great Commoner
For Unison Chorus and Full Orchestra

(http://www.library.yale.edu/musiclib/EAD/IvesIncipits/X184.GIF)

Lincoln..."Oh, Captain, my Captain."

(http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/chair.jpg)

This started as a song, written in 1921 and is included in Ives's 114 Songs.  The orchestra version here possibly dates from 1923.

This feels like a companion work to An Election (It Strikes Me That...).  The mention of "My Captain" in the Election, the unison chorus, and almost the same musical material (that awesome low bell) in both endings tie these two songs together.  The brass writing is stunning and scary in a sublime way.

More commentary from Emily Graefe:

Sometimes the individual needs a role model to be inspired by when he searches for ways to be active in his own transcendence. Looking to others for inspiration to be an individual, Ives chose to recognize Abraham Lincoln. While he has other songs named after people, such as “Walt Whitman” and “Emerson,” those songs deal with the ideology of those people rather than their actual lives. Initially Lincoln appears in “from ‘Lincoln, the Great Commoner’” (Song 11) with text by Edwin Markham and a poem by Ives placed under the title.

Ives returns to Lincoln later in the 114 Songs, as we have seen, by putting the former president in the crucial climax of “Nov. 2, 1920.” Conjuring up Lincoln brings up thoughts of individualism and the idealism and  duty that accompany individual action. Another admirable characteristic was Lincoln’s commonness, which helped make him accessible to those looking for transcendental guidance. This is shown more in the Markham text rather than in the Ives poem (see following), especially in the opening line: “and so he came from the prairie cabin.”

The Transcendentalists greatly admired the common man. Looking to Lincoln as a commoner helps to encourage the individual’s journey towards enlightenment. By aspiring towards the simple life, one could escape from superficial elements of society and achieve transcendence.

Ives’ poem is meant to heighten the individual duty Lincoln exhibited to his country and himself, and is a great insight to what he believed was the essential Lincoln. He lists the challenges Lincoln had to face, “The curse of war and strife!/The harsh vindictiveness of men,” but noted that “What needed to be borne_he bore!/What needed to be fought_he fought!/But in  his soul, he stood them up as_naught!”

For Ives, Lincoln’s duty to carry out his ideas is what should be admired and remembered. Ives could list his anti-slavery efforts or action in the Civil War, but all of the problems Lincoln faced could be simplified by stating that he did what he believed was right.
 
The song itself “from ‘Lincoln, the Great Commoner’” opens immediately with a sense of action in the accompaniment. It is marked “firmly, but actively and with vigor” to show that when the individual becomes active he must do so with conviction.


And so he came from the prairie cabin to the Capitol,
One fair ideal led our chieftain on,
He built the rail pile as he built the State,
The conscience testing every stoke,
To make his deed the measure of the man.
So, came our Captain with the mighty heart;
and when the step of earthquake shook the house,
wrenching rafters from their ancient hold,
He held the ridgepole up and spiked again the rafter of the Home
He held his place he held the long purpose like a growing tree
Held on thro’ blame and faltered not at praise,
and when he fell in whirlwind, he went down as when a
Kingly cedar green with boughs goes down with a great down,
upon the hills!


The first half of the lyrics explains Lincoln’s convictions. The second half tells of the strength of those convictions. To show the stability one needs to stand as an individual, Ives used recurring musical ideas to strengthen this point about being an individual. The piece is unified by a rhythmic motif (dotted eighth/sixteenth note) in the first part of the song. Aside from this rhythmic motif, he uses the opposite of that rhythm (sixteenth/dotted eighth) three times in a row during “came our Captain.” This is an important link to be made because it involves the subject, Lincoln, and the verb, “came,” to show how he fulfilled his duty to his country through action.

Later in the song, Ives repeats the same accompanying chord four times underneath the phrase “held the long purpose.” The chord is based on perfect fifths stacked on top of one another beginning with e. As the fifth is a stable interval, Ives builds a chord on it to  express Lincoln’s purpose and reliability in performing his duty. In contrast to Lincoln’s stability are the forces that tried to wrench America apart, which led to the Civil War. The harmonies throughout are centered on an E pedal tone, but Ives changes this to heighten the mood shift, caused by playing note clusters with the fist, achieved with the phrase, “wrenching rafters from their ancient hold.” Although within a designated range, the randomness of the notes the player will hit in his performance fury shows the chaos and unpredictability that contrasts with the repetition Ives uses to emphasize key points in favor of Lincoln.


Oh my god...that ending.  Unforgettable.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on March 13, 2016, 09:09:32 AM
And thanks for posting these comments. I don't think I've ever heard either of these pieces, and An Election (especially) sounds essential in the current climate.

--Bruce
Title: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 16, 2016, 03:40:10 PM

And thanks for posting these comments. I don't think I've ever heard either of these pieces, and An Election (especially) sounds essential in the current climate.

--Bruce

Thanks Bruce, I appreciate that. I'll have to get those songs out, it's been awhile since I listened to them!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Brewski on March 16, 2016, 05:43:32 PM
Thanks Bruce, I appreciate that. I'll have to get those songs out, it's been awhile since I listened to them!

At one time, when I was younger and thought I had to have a "favorite composer," Ives was it. (Now I can't imagine choosing just one.) In any case, despite the symphonies, orchestral works, choral and chamber music - all invigorating - I think his reputation could rest solely on the 114 songs alone. It is a remarkably varied output, with many innovations and surprises. And many of them are just flat-out beautiful and moving.

Lately I've been revisiting Roberta Alexander's lovely recording, as well as Gerald Finley's very fine two discs.





--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: zamyrabyrd on March 17, 2016, 04:37:49 AM
Also, Leo K., thanks from me for your lengthy article on Ives' 3rd Symphony. Here is one link with a score:
https://www.youtube.com/v/xgOh4YJ0Ixk

A powerhouse of a song by Ives - "Majority":
https://www.youtube.com/v/5tc8UhNIfio
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 17, 2016, 04:51:28 AM
Cheers, zb!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: zamyrabyrd on March 17, 2016, 05:45:22 AM
Cheers, zb!

Gleaned from the comments section:
Charles Ives--"It is nearly impossible for a lone voice to hold against the score"
 :)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 31, 2016, 05:01:02 AM
Also, Leo K., thanks from me for your lengthy article on Ives' 3rd Symphony. Here is one link with a score:
https://www.youtube.com/v/xgOh4YJ0Ixk

A powerhouse of a song by Ives - "Majority":
https://www.youtube.com/v/5tc8UhNIfio

Thanks very much for sharing these links. Aces!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: jlaurson on March 31, 2016, 06:35:43 AM
Latest on Forbes.com:
Classical CD Of The Week: Charles Ives Down Under (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede)

Charles Ives, Orchestral Works v.2, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis (conductor), Chandos SACD

...This disc, nominally the second volume in the Melbourne Orchestra’s cycle of Charles Ives orchestral works, contains three of his major goodies (Central Park in the Dark, Three Places in New England, and The Unanswered Question) and one of his less performed, perhaps underappreciated works in the most phenomenal performance I have heard: The New England Holidays Symphony. This combination makes the release a perfect starting place for this series and indeed a perfect starting place for your Ives-adventure...

(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/03/Forbes_Classica-CD-of-the-Week_CHANDOS_IVES_AndrewDavis_Melbourne_Orchestral-Works1200-1200x469.jpg)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on April 09, 2016, 04:15:04 AM
Latest on Forbes.com:
Classical CD Of The Week: Charles Ives Down Under (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede)

Charles Ives, Orchestral Works v.2, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis (conductor), Chandos SACD

...This disc, nominally the second volume in the Melbourne Orchestra’s cycle of Charles Ives orchestral works, contains three of his major goodies (Central Park in the Dark, Three Places in New England, and The Unanswered Question) and one of his less performed, perhaps underappreciated works in the most phenomenal performance I have heard: The New England Holidays Symphony. This combination makes the release a perfect starting place for this series and indeed a perfect starting place for your Ives-adventure...

(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/03/Forbes_Classica-CD-of-the-Week_CHANDOS_IVES_AndrewDavis_Melbourne_Orchestral-Works1200-1200x469.jpg)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede)

Thanks for the heads up on this release!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Maestro267 on May 17, 2016, 09:13:31 AM
I received in the post today a recording of the 4 numbered symphonies of Charles Ives. Having just listened to the First, and read up about it, there are some things I need to clear up. Most significant is the huge difference in length between this recording and others I've seen the timings for. This recording I've got is 30 minutes, but I've seen others that are around 45 minutes. Surely that can't be down to interpretation! Am I hearing the complete symphony with this recording, the LA Phil conducted by Zubin Mehta?!

Another point: I saw a performance on YT of Ives 1, and the finale features extra percussion (bass drum and cymbals), which do not appear in this recording. Which is the definitive answer, percussion or no percussion?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on May 26, 2016, 03:34:22 AM
The difference between the 30 min. version and the 45 min. version is the new Critical Edition edited by James Sinclair.

[quoted from a review by Hurwitz]

"With additional percussion in the finale that Ives specifically indicated in a letter but that never made it into the previously published score...compared to the mature Ives it’s tame stuff, but with all of its repeats in place and lasting some 45 minutes, the work now has a bigness of vision and greatness of heart that identifies it, emotionally at least, as genuine Ives, indelibly stamped with his irrepressible personality even at this early stage."
 
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on August 28, 2016, 10:12:50 AM
Violin Sonata No. 2

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c4/Autumn_night_dwight_william_tryon.jpeg)

I. Autumn
II. In the Barn
III. The Revival

While the nostalgic references in Ives's first sonata for violin and piano remains, for the most part, unnamed, the composer applied telling titles to the three movements of his second violin sonata. The first movement, "Autumn," gets its title from Bathélémon's hymn of the same name. This hymn makes frequent appearances during the movement, as the disparate violin and carry on a lively dialogue before finally reconciling themselves. In the second movement, titled "The Barn," the violin becomes fiddle, sawing through a variety of stock hoe-down figures, and even making a snide hint at "Turkey in the Straw," before suddenly and comically switching character to sound out the "Battle Cry of Freedom." The final movement, "Revival," originally appeared as a fourth movement to the fourth sonata for violin and piano. It begins slowly and thoughtfully, perhaps reflecting a more introspective spirituality. As it gains momentum and intensity, that inner devotion becomes outward praise, with strains of "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing" ringing out above the din of an excited and evangelized crowd. As the din of the faithful dies out, faint strains of the hymn remain, turning thoughts inward once again.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just love this work so much. This work captures so many emotions and moods. What's more amazing is that with just violin and piano Ives is able to conjure up this wide-ranging emotional tapestry of sound. Without a doubt in my mind, the Fulkerson/Shannon performance on Bridge gets my vote for the definitive version of this sonata.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on August 28, 2016, 03:19:58 PM
Latest on Forbes.com:
Classical CD Of The Week: Charles Ives Down Under (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede)

Charles Ives, Orchestral Works v.2, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis (conductor), Chandos SACD

...This disc, nominally the second volume in the Melbourne Orchestra’s cycle of Charles Ives orchestral works, contains three of his major goodies (Central Park in the Dark, Three Places in New England, and The Unanswered Question) and one of his less performed, perhaps underappreciated works in the most phenomenal performance I have heard: The New England Holidays Symphony. This combination makes the release a perfect starting place for this series and indeed a perfect starting place for your Ives-adventure...

(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/03/Forbes_Classica-CD-of-the-Week_CHANDOS_IVES_AndrewDavis_Melbourne_Orchestral-Works1200-1200x469.jpg)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/#20229fe06ede)

Sigh...I still need to listen to this recording as it's lying here still in its' shrinkwrap. :(
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on August 28, 2016, 04:31:29 PM
I'd like to hold up Ingo Metz's EMI recital from the 90s
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on August 29, 2016, 05:06:35 AM
I'd like to hold up Ingo Metz's EMI recital from the 90s

Do you know the SQs and violin sonatas?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on August 30, 2016, 08:37:55 AM
Do you know the SQs and violin sonatas?

SQ2 = Flux Quartet, getting all the microtones...

I only know VS 'Camp Meeting'? Yea, I'm not too familiar. Which do you like...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on August 30, 2016, 05:40:30 PM
SQ2 = Flux Quartet, getting all the microtones...

I only know VS 'Camp Meeting'? Yea, I'm not too familiar. Which do you like...

I like them all. :) The Fulkerson/Shannon set on Bridge is the one to own for the violin sonatas IMHO. As for the SQs, I only know the Blair String Quartet's recording on Naxos, but it's nice enough that I don't really see myself seeking out alternatives at this juncture.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on September 03, 2016, 06:32:11 AM
PUBLIC LETTER OF URGENCY:


Dear Maestro James Sinclair,

Please for the love of God record ALL of Ives' Sets for chamber orchestra (incl. the Set for Theatre Orchestra). All nine of the sets must be recorded! Please! Call Naxos and make this happen!

Cordially,


An Ivesian fan

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on September 03, 2016, 06:49:00 AM
Now for the actual email I forwarded to James Sinclair :) -

Dear Mr. Sinclair,

Will it be possible in the future for you to record all nine of Ives' "Sets for Chamber Orchestra"? All of these works are in dire need of recording. There's a recording of several of them on the Decca label, but, alas, it's incomplete. Please consider recording these works. This could definitely be a part of your Ives series on Naxos. Your excellent musicianship and championship of Ives' music has long been admired by many (myself included). I have been talking with many fans of Ives' music about your own recordings and we all agree that this project would certainly be one (of many) crowning achievements of your career.

Thank you for your continued excellence in music and your dedication to this composer's music. I think I can speak for everyone and say we're extremely grateful for what you've done so far.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on October 21, 2016, 01:29:12 PM
Charles Ives, is one of the most addictive  composers I've ever heard (alongside Xenakis, Stravinsky, Bartok, Webern etc)
[...]
I truly believe that he was more than just an American innovator.   :D

Ain't it the truth. As I stated above, I only really skirted his oeuvre until a couple of years ago. Then I decided to explore in detail and really got hooked.

Funny thing too, I recently bought the 100th Anniversary LP box that I decided not to earlier in this thread:

(http://www.dustygroove.com/images/products/i/ives~~~~~~~_charlesiv_101b.jpg)

I haven't yet listened to it, but physically the thing is marvelous, a real luxury box. This is why we collect vinyl!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on October 23, 2016, 05:25:41 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.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on October 23, 2016, 05:28:07 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'm kind of curious about this myself. He's done the 2nd through the 4th as of now. I hope he does the 1st and Holidays and then a box set will hopefully follow.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 01, 2017, 04:15:47 PM
The 10 Best Classical Recordings Of 2016
#5 Ives: http://bit.ly/Forbes_Best_Classical_Recordings_2016_New (http://bit.ly/Forbes_Best_Classical_Recordings_2016_New)
Title: Re: Charles Ives IvesMania2017
Post by: snyprrr on January 01, 2017, 05:52:53 PM
Just happened to get caught up with Ives in the last few weeks, getting the three big Piano Works (S1, S2, 3 Microtonal Pieces + 3PageS). The 3-Page Sonata is mighty impressive. I haven't gotten the other two yet...

I am trending towards his Band Music...


Ives has such a hominess about him... soul food...
Title: Re: Charles Ives IvesMania2017
Post by: snyprrr on January 12, 2017, 04:47:22 PM
Just happened to get caught up with Ives in the last few weeks, getting the three big Piano Works (S1, S2, 3 Microtonal Pieces + 3PageS). The 3-Page Sonata is mighty impressive. I haven't gotten the other two yet...

I am trending towards his Band Music...


Ives has such a hominess about him... soul food...

Band Music

This disc of 'The President's Own' conducted by Foley called 'Charles Ives's America' is just the best thing ever... everrr/ I'm assuming it's the same recital as is on Naxos, so I'm sure you've heard it. Well, I love this stuff!!
\


Also, Piano Sonata No.1 (Lawson), wow, again so impressive, and then I did get Lubimov's 2nd, and that is the crowni ng achievement. he '3 Quarter Tone Pieces' hit me exactly as all other quarter tone music does, not much. Well, you have to plow all the fields to know...

I expected No.2 to be the greatest, but I hadn't anticipated No.1's intriguing structure, and length, and substance.


IVES IS JUST SOOOO TOWERINGLY DOMINATING... I was thinking of Ruggles, and then I heard something on that Band CD, and all of a sudden there was no need for Ruggles anymore... or Copland... or...

His America seems to be the correct one...






HOLIDAYS SYMPHONY

Any recommends?

MTT
Bernstein
Zinman
Ormandy
Dallas SO
Naxos?
one more?
Title: Re: Charles Ives IvesMania2017
Post by: snyprrr on January 12, 2017, 05:13:29 PM
I share this sentiment  :D

But I'm also struck by his Cosmic Modernity which pops in and out, so that when the music is playing a hymn melody, the things he does around makes it sound like a gyroscope on many different levels... and the absolute absorption of the "playing many songs at once" schtick, where he's writing like, Hey, It just came to me, now discarded and back to the tune, the endless "drunk" offbeats that make Revueltas seem like a repentant.

But Ives know how to build a diatonic climax of the most gorgeous, sun like God streaking through the clouds, rolling hills of green on a summer day.... Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!.....(like the opening of Symphony No.4)...




Listened recently to the Centaur version of the 'Universe Symphony', 37mins., starting off in silence, percussion for 15mins., then a slow building of literally cosmic sounding music, to a shuddering climax, and then descending back into space...

As a document, it is certainly very interesting. As a listening experience, it takes some time getting used to 15mins. of the most gradual percussion buildup you've ever heard, and then the Big Boom, and then back down. It seems a little longer than its running time...

This is the second time I've listened to it. I had the same reaction both times. n a way, it reminds me of Denisov, which, actually, could make sense (Karl!!!!)

I don't know what happened just there



anyhow-


Yea, I don't know how I feel about this document of the 'Universe'. I hear the Reinhardt is "loud throughout", which... scares me. I'm not locking for an hour of cacophony. The Centaur version seems to me to be "too" brilliant for its own good,... but... well, maybe I like thinking about it. One really doesn't need to hear it that much,... just get it IN you and then let it unfold inside you as you thi nk about it... maybe?


any thoughts?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: snyprrr on January 13, 2017, 07:46:07 AM
There is sure something almost ultra-modern that came out of his music (and innovations).

With the Universe Symphony, I've actually only heard the Larry Austin realization, so I can't comment as of yet.

The symphony (as I've heard it) is so cosmic and complex, it makes me wonder about Stockhausen's landmark (you know  ;) )
The idea of such independence between so many instruments, controlled very systematically and dynamically really ensures Ives place as a precursor to Darmstadt. I wonder if they ever heard Ives, I haven't read so  :-\

Just some...ah...thoughts  :D

Yea, I'm starting to wonder myself if Ives isn't being purposely ignored in favour of the European Hegemony... long live king Charles!!!!!


Larry Austin... that's the Centaur I believe...
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 13, 2017, 07:48:22 AM
http://www.youtube.com/v/krwdpmuMRzA
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 13, 2017, 11:55:29 AM
There is sure something almost ultra-modern that came out of his music (and innovations).

With the Universe Symphony, I've actually only heard the Larry Austin realization, so I can't comment as of yet.

The symphony (as I've heard it) is so cosmic and complex, it makes me wonder about Stockhausen's landmark (you know  ;) )
The idea of such independence between so many instruments, controlled very systematically and dynamically really ensures Ives place as a precursor to Darmstadt. I wonder if they ever heard Ives, I haven't read so  :-\

Just some...ah...thoughts  :D

I have to say that I think very little of the idea of Ives as a proto-Avantgardist... but there are, of course, some interesting similarities... at least superficial ones. But really, I think that Ives is much closer to being a genuine American Mahler than Stockhausen being a genuine European Ives.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: torut on January 13, 2017, 10:18:07 PM
Charles Ives's Concord: Essays after a Sonata by Kyle Gann (University of Illinois Press)



will be released on May 30, 2017
Title: Re: Charles Ives ORCHESTRAL SETS 1-2
Post by: snyprrr on January 16, 2017, 02:23:51 PM
Does Ives start EVERY piece with such a luscious fog drenched mystery? I love it all, lol!! :laugh:


This is more to shed light on the Set No.2 (Centaur). The first piece (?) had such a delicate balance of percussions, and did I hear a harpsichord and then piano- I love Ives's kitchen-sink approach to everything...

But I've been drenching in Ives's America for a week now and seems like such the Compleate Musician, so towering- THE UltraModern...


And so- HOLIDAYS SYMPHONY- Ormandy or MTT I suppose? I listened to the latter,- boy I really do love this music-


woo hoo!! 8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives IvesMania2017
Post by: Mirror Image on March 08, 2017, 07:07:57 AM
HOLIDAYS SYMPHONY

Any recommends?

MTT
Bernstein
Zinman
Ormandy
Dallas SO
Naxos?
one more?

I can heartily recommend Sinclair’s and MTT’s. Andrew Davis is also excellent and has really impressed me with his Ivesian credentials as of late. What performance are you referring to when you say Dallas SO? Also, Ormandy’s Holidays recording isn’t readily available --- I know it’s been reissued via RCA Japan, but the price is astronomically high. Nobody in their right mind would pay what they’re asking for that recording.
Title: Re: Charles Ives IvesMania2017
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 08, 2017, 09:25:15 AM
I can heartily recommend Sinclair’s and MTT’s. Andrew Davis is also excellent and has really impressed me with his Ivesian credentials as of late. What performance are you referring to when you say Dallas SO? Also, Ormandy’s Holidays recording isn’t readily available --- I know it’s been reissued via RCA Japan, but the price is astronomically high. Nobody in their right mind would pay what they’re asking for that recording.

Now I'm intrigued, though.
And is 17 Euros / 15 Pounds (http://a-fwd.to/1Mb8x26) really that crazy an asking price for a CD these days? I mean, yes, steep for the discount-spoiled... but not loonie. I know I'm trying to convince myself it ain't.  ;)
Title: Re: Charles Ives IvesMania2017
Post by: Mirror Image on March 08, 2017, 07:46:49 PM
Now I'm intrigued, though.
And is 17 Euros / 15 Pounds (http://a-fwd.to/1Mb8x26) really that crazy an asking price for a CD these days? I mean, yes, steep for the discount-spoiled... but not loonie. I know I'm trying to convince myself it ain't.  ;)

It’s a crazy price for a manufactured-on-demand CD, but that’s just my opinion.
Title: Re: Charles Ives IvesMania2017
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 09, 2017, 05:47:46 AM
It’s a crazy price for a manufactured-on-demand CD, but that’s just my opinion.

Oh, it's like an Arkiv-CD, not a regular re-pressing? Didn't notice that.
Title: Re: Charles Ives IvesMania2017
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2017, 06:14:22 AM
Oh, it's like an Arkiv-CD, not a regular re-pressing? Didn't notice that.

Yep, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 09, 2017, 08:08:58 AM
Ives of March? You know i'm in.

I thought i saw this recording mentioned somewhere, perhaps by John (M.I.), but I've recently purchased the Vinyl of Stokowski's 4th. Got a new record player for Christmas and need to start building up my collection of LP...

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/A1ovcfvchlL._SX425_.jpg)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2017, 08:29:43 AM
Ives of March? You know i'm in.

I thought i saw this recording mentioned somewhere, perhaps by John (M.I.), but I've recently purchased the Vinyl of Stokowski's 4th. Got a new record player for Christmas and need to start building up my collection of LP...

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/A1ovcfvchlL._SX425_.jpg)

Yep, I’m totally into the Ives of March as you know. ;) Yeah, it was me who mentioned that Stokowski recording. Truly a sonic marvel for sure. On the CD I own of it (a Japanese only release), it’s coupled with the Robert Browning Overture.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2017, 06:01:52 AM
The Ives Third Symphony, as well as any piece of his, illustrates my own private evolution in coming to terms with this seminal American composer.

The background

When I was in region bands (jr high and high school) I played in the Country Band March (which duplicates material in the “Comedy” of the Fourth Symphony – I now read in Wikipedia that that movement of the Fourth Symphony is an expansion of The Celestial Railroad (after Hawthorne) for piano solo, which invites curiosity about the relationship between The Celestial Railroad and the Country Band March), and I heard another group play the band transcription of Schuman’s orchestration of the “America” Variations.  I was not necessarily sure what I thought about either piece, apart from just finding them good fun.

So, I go to college, and of course I am predisposed to think well of an American experimental composer!  The Unanswered Question enchants me at Wooster;  the “Concord” Sonata wins me immediately at Buffalo.  In between, in the orchestra at UVa, I play IIRC second clarinet in the Second Symphony . . . the Symphony doesn’t ring my bell, in large part because I do not find Clarinet 2 at all a gratifying experience, most of it either just one strand in a mushy texture (these were my feelings at the time, you understand), or just doubling someone else.  This is the source of my feeling, a feeling which for a long period overshadowed my appreciation of the Ives symphonies, that he was an orchestral amateur, but that I could not much fault him because his symphonies were not performed at the time he was writing them, so that he did not draw the benefit of experience/feedback.

The Third Symphony

I don’t say I necessarily remember it (cf. my report on my first listen to the Lenny Les noces), but I had cassettes with the Ives symphonies, at a guess, the MTT versions.  So (call this lazy listening on my part) the first time I heard the Third, I just felt that my prejudice was confirmed.

Fast forward to GMG, and the encouragement to try the Litton/Dallas recordings of the symphonies.  I am not saying that Litton is better than MTT here (I have not done a comparison), but my ears were freer at that point, and I simply enjoyed the Third (as all of the four) for what it is.

And now, revisiting the piece as recorded by both Litton and Lenny, I do genuinely love the Third Symphony.

Will I love the Second?  Well, let me give it a try . . . .
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 10, 2017, 06:02:33 AM
Of course Webern and Varese where the model but Ives' ideas where like precursors to Darmstadt, for a majority of Ives' work I agree with you but he had quite a few really radical, 1950s sounding moments. It wasn't just Darmstadt either, Cage had some slightly more esoteric ideas that can be found in a more straight forward way in Ives' Symphony no 4.

Symphony no 4, in someways had Gruppen-isms but it also reminds me of Cage pieces like Apartment House 1776 for instance. Many of his chamber ensemble works remind me a lot of Ligeti, Nancarrow, Xenakis (to a smaller extent) and there is probably more I missed too :)

Hah, for a second I thought: I really agree with the guy you are responding to. Turns out that was me, after all.
Thing is, Darmstadt-composers didn't, to my knowledge, know a lot of Ives, if any. So his sounding like some of what they did would be more incidental than anything else. I also think it comes out of a very different motivation. I could see how Cage would have been very aware of Ives, though... and the smile in Cage, for all his modernism, suggests something that is perhaps closer to the naive (?) beauty of Ives than the more academic innovation that came from the Darmstadt-staples. (Actually, a lot of very much non-avantgarde composers also came out of Darmstadt, but just didn't get the traction.)

I don't, however, argue that his works doesn't seem to pre-shadow the works you mention. Only that there is no or much less a link than it could appear.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2017, 07:14:39 AM
The Ives Third Symphony, as well as any piece of his, illustrates my own private evolution in coming to terms with this seminal American composer.

The background

When I was in region bands (jr high and high school) I played in the Country Band March (which duplicates material in the “Comedy” of the Fourth Symphony – I now read in Wikipedia that that movement of the Fourth Symphony is an expansion of The Celestial Railroad (after Hawthorne) for piano solo, which invites curiosity about the relationship between The Celestial Railroad and the Country Band March), and I heard another group play the band transcription of Schuman’s orchestration of the “America” Variations.  I was not necessarily sure what I thought about either piece, apart from just finding them good fun.

So, I go to college, and of course I am predisposed to think well of an American experimental composer!  The Unanswered Question enchants me at Wooster;  the “Concord” Sonata wins me immediately at Buffalo.  In between, in the orchestra at UVa, I play IIRC second clarinet in the Second Symphony . . . the Symphony doesn’t ring my bell, in large part because I do not find Clarinet 2 at all a gratifying experience, most of it either just one strand in a mushy texture (these were my feelings at the time, you understand), or just doubling someone else.  This is the source of my feeling, a feeling which for a long period overshadowed my appreciation of the Ives symphonies, that he was an orchestral amateur, but that I could not much fault him because his symphonies were not performed at the time he was writing them, so that he did not draw the benefit of experience/feedback.

The Third Symphony

I don’t say I necessarily remember it (cf. my report on my first listen to the Lenny Les noces), but I had cassettes with the Ives symphonies, at a guess, the MTT versions.  So (call this lazy listening on my part) the first time I heard the Third, I just felt that my prejudice was confirmed.

Fast forward to GMG, and the encouragement to try the Litton/Dallas recordings of the symphonies.  I am not saying that Litton is better than MTT here (I have not done a comparison), but my ears were freer at that point, and I simply enjoyed the Third (as all of the four) for what it is.

And now, revisiting the piece as recorded by both Litton and Lenny, I do genuinely love the Third Symphony.

Will I love the Second?  Well, let me give it a try . . . .

Thanks for this stroll down memory lane, Karl. Most illuminating indeed. Ives was one of the first composers I got into (along with Bartók). The first work I heard by Ives was Lenny’s recording of Symphony No. 2 on DG. I was completely transfixed. I never heard anything like it before or since. Here was a composer that was standing in the doorway of the Romantic tradition’s past while clearly looking forward through modernistic lenses. Even when the music veers close to chaos, there’s always clarity in the ideas and everything just makes sense despite all of these disparate stylistic elements being out-of-sync. Ives found a way to make it work. Whenever I finally heard the rest of the symphonies, my admiration for his music had pretty much been solidified by that time. Symphony No. 3, “The Camp Meeting” is one of those works that gave us yet another glimpse of the composer. You could very well call this symphony his ‘pastoral’. Extremely lyrical, but there is some weirdness that lurks not too much below the surface. I really need to do a more careful listen of the 3rd, so I can refresh my memory, but, to be honest, Ives didn’t compose any symphonies that weren’t worth hearing. Call this good old fashioned bias, but I really do feel he’s the greatest American composer. Don’t get me wrong I love Copland, Barber, etc., but there’s something otherworldly yet completely down-to-earth about Ives’ music that sets him apart from other American composers.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2017, 07:35:04 AM
Thanks for this stroll down memory lane, Karl. Most illuminating indeed. Ives was one of the first composers I got into (along with Bartók). The first work I heard by Ives was Lenny’s recording of Symphony No. 2 on DG. I was completely transfixed. I never heard anything like it before or since. Here was a composer that was standing in the doorway of the Romantic tradition’s past while clearly looking forward through modernistic lenses. Even when the music veers close to chaos, there’s always clarity in the ideas and everything just makes sense despite all of these disparate stylistic elements being out-of-sync. Ives found a way to make it work.

I've just listened to the Second, and split my bagels if Lenny has not made me care about the piece more than ever I did before.  And it's that threshold between the two epochs, and Lenny's affinity for both sides of the threshold, which probably drives it all.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2017, 07:43:57 AM
I've just listened to the Second, and split my bagels if Lenny has not made me care about the piece more than ever I did before.  And it's that threshold between the two epochs, and Lenny's affinity for both sides of the threshold, which probably drives it all.

That’s great to hear, Karl. Ives’ first three symphonies can be seen as still having a door open to the Romantic tradition, but this adherence to that tradition does not in any way, shape, or form mean that this is old-fashioned music. Quite the contrary. Only perhaps with his first symphony do we hear a more conservative slant in the music, but I’ve always viewed Ives’ 1st as an homage to his teacher, Horatio Parker.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2017, 08:33:24 AM
Hah, for a second I thought: I really agree with the guy you are responding to. Turns out that was me, after all.
Thing is, Darmstadt-composers didn't, to my knowledge, know a lot of Ives, if any. So his sounding like some of what they did would be more incidental than anything else. I also think it comes out of a very different motivation. I could see how Cage would have been very aware of Ives, though... and the smile in Cage, for all his modernism, suggests something that is perhaps closer to the naive (?) beauty of Ives than the more academic innovation that came from the Darmstadt-staples. (Actually, a lot of very much non-avantgarde composers also came out of Darmstadt, but just didn't get the traction.)

I don't, however, argue that his works doesn't seem to pre-shadow the works you mention. Only that there is no or much less a link than it could appear.

I agree with much of this. I don’t think Ives was the precursor to the Darmstadt School. Unlike the Darmstadt School composers, Ives never fully left the notion of Romanticism behind. As I mentioned several times now, his foot was in both the Romantic and Modern doors. Those experimental works of his still are clearly the music of someone who hasn’t forgotten the past. Ives best works, IMHO, are both backward and forward-looking. I think many times people like thatfabulousalien are hearing things in the music that simply aren’t there no matter how they perceive them. I’m not going to argue this point to death, because it’s not worth it, but Ives is one of my favorite composers and I’ve spent many years absorbing, listening to his music, and trying my best to get some kind of historical perspective on his music, which can be difficult given that Ives didn’t date his works and even musicologists who have devoted time to studying his own compositional history are still as we speak trying to piece together this incredible, but enigmatic composer.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 10, 2017, 08:44:07 AM

Fast forward to GMG, and the encouragement to try the Litton/Dallas recordings of the symphonies.  I am not saying that Litton is better than MTT here (I have not done a comparison), but my ears were freer at that point, and I simply enjoyed the Third (as all of the four) for what it is.

And now, revisiting the piece as recorded by both Litton and Lenny, I do genuinely love the Third Symphony.

Will I love the Second?  Well, let me give it a try . . . .

Lenny and Litton are aces with the 3rd. But do check out Morlot/Seattle's recording, if only for the closing moments. Morlot lets the final bells ring and slowly diminish for about 40 seconds. Truly beautiful.


 https://www.amazon.com/Ives-Symphony-Unanswered-Question-Central/dp/B018UPMNHO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489164444&sr=8-1&keywords=ives+morlot

(sorry, forgot how to post a hyperlink within the text)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2017, 09:04:35 AM
Lenny and Litton are aces with the 3rd. But do check out Morlot/Seattle's recording, if only for the closing moments. Morlot lets the final bells ring and slowly diminish for about 40 seconds. Truly beautiful.


 https://www.amazon.com/Ives-Symphony-Unanswered-Question-Central/dp/B018UPMNHO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489164444&sr=8-1&keywords=ives+morlot

(sorry, forgot how to post a hyperlink within the text)

I’m wondering if I need yet another recording of these works, but I think you pretty much sold me on Morlot, Greg. Drats more money down the tubes! ;) ;D
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2017, 09:16:51 AM


So, I go to college, and of course I am predisposed to think well of an American experimental composer!  The Unanswered Question enchants me at Wooster;  the “Concord” Sonata wins me immediately at Buffalo.  In between, in the orchestra at UVa, I play IIRC second clarinet in the Second Symphony . . . the Symphony doesn’t ring my bell, in large part because I do not find Clarinet 2 at all a gratifying experience, most of it either just one strand in a mushy texture (these were my feelings at the time, you understand), or just doubling someone else.  This is the source of my feeling, a feeling which for a long period overshadowed my appreciation of the Ives symphonies, that he was an orchestral amateur, but that I could not much fault him because his symphonies were not performed at the time he was writing them, so that he did not draw the benefit of experience/feedback.


Although I wanted to report the fact (as I remember), I was wrong-headed. My "mismatch" with the Second was no fault of Ives'.  That was a time when I had a bucket of specific interests (arguably fairly wide, but not infinite), and I was your typical young man in a hurry, and if what was on the stand fell outside my "bucket," I could be dismissive. (I didn't care at all for the Vaughan Williams symphonies, the first I listened to most of them.) So, yes, I do love the Second now.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 10, 2017, 09:20:22 AM
I’m wondering if I need yet another recording of these works, but I think you pretty much sold me on Morlot, Greg. Drats more money down the tubes! ;) ;D

It's a solid disc, John. And a new critical edition of the 4th symphony, that I believe this to be the first recording of.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2017, 09:43:41 AM
It's a solid disc, John. And a new critical edition of the 4th symphony, that I believe this to be the first recording of.

Très cool. 8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on March 10, 2017, 04:48:06 PM
My introduction to Ives was 25 years ago with Kronos Quartet's release Black Angels. It featured Ives performing/signing his song They Are There! at the piano, and the Kronos Quartet joining along with a newly written string quartet part. I was fascinated by this music, and by Ives' own frantic vocal stylings. This shortly led me to The Unanswered Question and his 3rd Symphony, and from there I was hooked.
I wanted to share They Are There! for the Ives fans that haven't heard it before.

Also, the entire album Black Angels is phenomenal. One of Kronos Quartet's greatest concept album, with additional music of Crumb, Tallis, Istvan Marta(who's piece Doom - A Sigh is extremely difficult to sit through as its incredibly sad) and Shostakovich's 8th Quartet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRuK-3j0Qhc&index=5&list=PLIjeDq3yEiGeA33eaS0ljzwjRx1nXQoGG
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Monsieur Croche on March 10, 2017, 06:43:20 PM
Of course Webern and Varese where the model but Ives' ideas where like precursors to Darmstadt, for a majority of Ives' work I agree with you but he had quite a few really radical, 1950s sounding moments. It wasn't just Darmstadt either, Cage had some slightly more esoteric ideas that can be found in a more straight forward way in Ives' Symphony no 4.

Symphony no 4, in someways had Gruppen-isms but it also reminds me of Cage pieces like Apartment House 1776 for instance. Many of his chamber ensemble works remind me a lot of Ligeti, Nancarrow, Xenakis (to a smaller extent) and there is probably more I missed too :)

Transcendentalism

tran·scen·den·tal·ism
ˌtran(t)ˌsenˈden(t)lˌizəm/
noun: Transcendentalism; noun: transcendentalism
1. an idealistic philosophical and social movement that developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mr. Minnow on March 12, 2017, 05:15:21 AM
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum and also new to Ives. I posted this in the introductions section of the forum:

Quote
I've just started investigating Charles Ives, starting with his 1st symphony (the Hyperion recording). Very enjoyable, but I must confess to being baffled by the booklet notes stating that the finale closes with a parade of themes from the whole symphony. I have no formal musical training and therefore have only a very limited knowledge of music theory, but the booklet makes it sound as though themes from the three previous movements not only recur, but are clearly recognisable. If anyone can point out where the themes recur in the finale's closing stages I'd be really grateful! 

I found the notes to the Naxos recording online and that also mentions the finale ending with themes from the whole symphony, yet I'm not hearing them. Any help gratefully received!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 12, 2017, 09:22:29 PM
Mr. Minnow (and everyone else), have a look at this fantastic analysis of Ives’ The Unanswered Question:

https://www.youtube.com/v/IEAa_MH0iCw
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Monsieur Croche on March 12, 2017, 09:59:20 PM
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum and also new to Ives. I posted this in the introductions section of the forum:

I found the notes to the Naxos recording online and that also mentions the finale ending with themes from the whole symphony, yet I'm not hearing them. Any help gratefully received!

Yes.  Don't go at it hammer and tongs as if there is a deadline and a test!
Listen, repeatedly, without feeling the need to listen to it again and again, back to back.  Eventually, you will be familiar enough that you will recognize within the full texture the various themes or threads.  Your current 'situation' is analogous to rather too much wishing to immediately be able to pick out one color of thread in an entire tapestry; get familiar with the big picture, the more you do, details emerge and then become later to pick out and follow.

Patience, and periodic repeat listening, will give you the exposure and familiarity required.   It is to be hoped that at some point, without effort, those details you are hoping to recognize and follow will, then, just 'pop out at you,' after which, it will be next to impossible to unhear them, lol.


Best regards.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 13, 2017, 04:24:16 AM
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum and also new to Ives. I posted this in the introductions section of the forum:

I found -- and still very much find -- that the music of Ives does not lend itself to recording at all. Not, at least, when the initial appreciation hasn't taken place.
It's so dependent on space and subtle perception of musics intertwining, that I find most of this gets lost via a stereo. Perhaps, presumably high definition surround sound would do Ives really well, but lacking that, try to seek out any concert experience with Ives on the program that you can, if you want to have an easier time really digging his work.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 13, 2017, 04:25:59 AM
I found -- and still very much find -- that the music of Ives does not lend itself to recording at all. Not, at least, when the initial appreciation hasn't taken place.
It's so dependent on space and subtle perception of musics intertwining, that I find most of this gets lost via a stereo. Perhaps, presumably high definition surround sound would do Ives really well, but lacking that, try to seek out any concert experience with Ives on the program that you can, if you want to have an easier time really digging his work.

I can affirm this, from the BSO's performance of the Fourth Symphony a few seasons back; an entirely different order of experience!
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mr. Minnow on March 13, 2017, 07:22:39 AM
Thanks for these responses! I had assumed that as Ives' 1st symphony is written in a largely late-Romantic idiom, the recurrence of themes in the finale would be done in a fairly traditional way. Karl has explained in the thread in the introductions section of the forum that that's not the case, and that it's more a case of the themes being mashed up together in, as he put it, "glorious chaos". That would certainly make them a heck of a lot harder to spot!

I hadn't considered that a stereo recording could well struggle to accurately capture various themes/strands of music intertwining without losing a lot of the detail. Hyperion's sound on this CD sounds very good, as their releases usually are, but there must be limits to how much subtle detail can be captured and accurately reproduced.

The analysis of The Unanswered Question was very intriguing. Some of the more technical bits are beyond my limited knowledge of music theory, but I get the basic point regarding the lack of synthesis in Ives' music. I've just ordered a cheap second hand copy of a CD conducted by Tilson Thomas which includes the original and revised versions. Should be interesting! 

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2017, 10:53:46 AM
Thanks for these responses! I had assumed that as Ives' 1st symphony is written in a largely late-Romantic idiom, the recurrence of themes in the finale would be done in a fairly traditional way. Karl has explained in the thread in the introductions section of the forum that that's not the case, and that it's more a case of the themes being mashed up together in, as he put it, "glorious chaos". That would certainly make them a heck of a lot harder to spot!

I hadn't considered that a stereo recording could well struggle to accurately capture various themes/strands of music intertwining without losing a lot of the detail. Hyperion's sound on this CD sounds very good, as their releases usually are, but there must be limits to how much subtle detail can be captured and accurately reproduced.

The analysis of The Unanswered Question was very intriguing. Some of the more technical bits are beyond my limited knowledge of music theory, but I get the basic point regarding the lack of synthesis in Ives' music. I've just ordered a cheap second hand copy of a CD conducted by Tilson Thomas which includes the original and revised versions. Should be interesting!

Glad you enjoyed that analysis of The Unanswered Question. I felt it was expertly done. A big thumbs up for that MTT recording. This particular recording also contains the Holidays Symphony and Central Park in the Dark which are both bonafide masterpieces IMHO. A great choice.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 13, 2017, 12:38:01 PM

I hadn't considered that a stereo recording could well struggle to accurately capture various themes/strands of music intertwining without losing a lot of the detail. Hyperion's sound on this CD sounds very good, as their releases usually are, but there must be limits to how much subtle detail can be captured and accurately reproduced.


It's not even about good sound or not. It simply is no comparison, I find. Just take the unanswered question. The sound of "from behind and far away" simply doesn't happen on a stereo. Nor does the multiplicity of sounds going in seemingly all kinds of directions. Your ears can focus very differently in concert, also because they work in connection with your eyes. (You hear things you see that you wouldn't otherwise, for example [different composer, but Bruckner's double bass pizzicati in the 5th are an example; if they were recorded as they are played in concert, you'd never hear them.) And with Ives there's tons of that going on. I feel that to do Ives justice on recording, apart from using surround sound, one would almost have to make a radio-collage a la Glenn Gould out of it. In any case, you'd be surprised what a difference it makes in this composer (ditto Stockhausen, for many things; certainly Maurizio Kagel who doesn't really make sense on CD but will, in concert). Good sound, bad sound, live, CD, LP: In Beethoven it's more or less the same. Not really, but for all practical purposes, on most occasions, for most people. With Ives, I've learned the long, hard, eventually very sweet way how much of a game-changer it really is.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2017, 01:05:43 PM
While it’s true, recording engineers can’t capture all Ives’ music even in surround sound, this, however, doesn't take away from the experience of what a great pair of headphones and superb sounding recording can offer the listener. Hearing Ives’ music live has long been a dream of mine, but, unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to hear the music in concert, so I’m stuck with my limited means of listening to it.
Title: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on March 15, 2017, 07:15:57 AM
I've never heard Ives in concert and I'm not in a city that plays him. I'd have to live in New York probably. That said, I live by my recorded collection and don't miss concerts. For example, Mahler's 7 sounds better on recordings than live in concert. Don't know why!


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Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on March 15, 2017, 07:27:45 AM
I've never heard Ives in concert and I'm not in a city that plays him. I'd have to live in New York probably. That said, I live by my recorded collection and don't miss concerts. For example, Mahler's 7 sounds better on recordings than live in concert. Don't know why!

Regarding Mahler's 7th, the one time I heard it live the mandolin and guitar players were sitting behind the last stand of the first violin - not a really prominent place nor one sonically preferred I would think. That might have something to do with it.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 15, 2017, 07:28:18 AM
I've never heard Ives in concert and I'm not in a city that plays him. I'd have to live in New York probably. That said, I live by my recorded collection and don't miss concerts. For example, Mahler's 7 sounds better on recordings than live in concert. Don't know why!

Good to see you’re still kicking around, Leo. :) Yes, it’s certainly a luxury to have so many great recordings at our disposal.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 18, 2017, 08:33:19 PM
Orchestral Set No. 2

(http://www.oceansbridge.com/paintings/artists/recently-added/march-2006/Dwight-Tyron/big/Night,-New-England-1910-XX-Private-collection.jpg)

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]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image 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).
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2017, 07:28:02 AM
A Symphony: New England Holidays

(http://www.imagesbuddy.com/images/223/wish-a-very-happy-birthday-to-george-washington-graphic.jpg) (http://16s0tj3s5ozn3bf14lj8qra4.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/decoration-day.jpg) (https://images.fineartamerica.com/images/artworkimages/mediumlarge/1/the-fourth-of-july-childe-hassam.jpg) (http://www.ifitshipitshere.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Freedom_from_Want_ORIGINAL.jpg)

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]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 29, 2017, 07:45:08 AM
"the lily boys" . . . love it.  Best description of James yet  0:)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Monsieur Croche 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.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2017, 08:36:27 AM
A-yep"I don't write music for sissy ears." ~ Charles Ives.

 :P
Title: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on May 06, 2017, 09:43:41 AM
Ives is such a life inspiration I gave my newborn son the middle name Ives.


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Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 06, 2017, 10:08:44 AM
Ives is such a life inspiration I gave my newborn son the middle name Ives.


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Nice!  8)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: millionrainbows on May 06, 2017, 10:48:30 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."

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81PEt4oIPEL._SX425_.jpg)

Here is the original LP cover:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/913rNH5enwL._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on May 08, 2017, 03:11:02 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."

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81PEt4oIPEL._SX425_.jpg)

Here is the original LP cover:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/913rNH5enwL._SL1500_.jpg)

I definitely prefer the the LP cover art!


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Title: Charles Ives
Post by: Leo K. on May 08, 2017, 03:14:08 AM
(http://d2ydh70d4b5xgv.cloudfront.net/images/4/3/charles-ives-symphony-no-2-leonard-bernstein-new-york-philharmonic-3b835e2aea32c2b9fc5e8cf85a1f4ada.jpg)

This one is still one of my favorite LP covers.


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Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mirror Image on May 08, 2017, 04:28:45 PM
I definitely prefer the the LP cover art!


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+1
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: aukhawk on May 09, 2017, 01:29:07 AM
(http://d2ydh70d4b5xgv.cloudfront.net/images/4/3/charles-ives-symphony-no-2-leonard-bernstein-new-york-philharmonic-3b835e2aea32c2b9fc5e8cf85a1f4ada.jpg)
This one is still one of my favorite LP covers.

The first time I bought it, it looked like this:
(https://img.discogs.com/dQpTWloOuS7zbmO5bQ91e4q6_8E=/fit-in/600x596/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-5093890-1431153769-8392.jpeg.jpg)

Then, when I re-acquired it on CD, it rather bizarrely looked like this:
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/982/MI0000982833.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on July 14, 2017, 12:32:52 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:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61IsjbhXt7L._AC_US218_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty 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://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2017/11/Forbes_Classical-CD-of-the-Week_IVES-BERG-WEBERN_Alexei-Lubimov_Concord-Sonata_ZigZag_ALPHA_Laurson_960.jpg?width=960)
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/11/08/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:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61IsjbhXt7L._AC_US218_.jpg)

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:
(https://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2017/01/Forbes-Best-Classical-Recordings-of-2016-N05-Charles_Ives_Melbourne_Chandos_Andrew-Davis_laurson-1200x470.jpg?width=960)
http://bit.ly/Forbes_Best_Classical_Recordings_2016_New (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/01/01/the-10-best-classical-recordings-of-2016-new-releases/2/#7eabbc083415)

Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mahlerian on July 30, 2018, 08:38:31 AM
I just read an essay from the 1950s excoriating Charles Ives with this admittedly memorable line:

"For [American] musicians it is worse.  We had nothing to offer before Ives, and he smelled like Whitman's armpits." - Robert Evett

Like so many others, Evett (a composer who studied under Persichetti, apparently) sees himself as the lone voice of reason amidst the befuddled minds of contemporaries.  The basic idea of his essay is that the works of Ives that are performable are poor in quality, and those which are any better at all are unperformable.  Still, his thesis has been soundly disproven, given that those same works have been indeed performed, and the rest have worn far better than he expected.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on July 30, 2018, 12:19:41 PM
I just read an essay from the 1950s excoriating Charles Ives with this admittedly memorable line:

"For [American] musicians it is worse.  We had nothing to offer before Ives, and he smelled like Whitman's armpits." - Robert Evett

Like so many others, Evett (a composer who studied under Persichetti, apparently) sees himself as the lone voice of reason amidst the befuddled minds of contemporaries.  The basic idea of his essay is that the works of Ives that are performable are poor in quality, and those which are any better at all are unperformable.  Still, his thesis has been soundly disproven, given that those same works have been indeed performed, and the rest have worn far better than he expected.

I'm confident that Ives will soon surpass even the great Robert Evett in critical stature and number of performances.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Cato on July 30, 2018, 01:56:52 PM
If one wants to appeal to authority to verify that Charles Ives had found a path worth following, recall that Arnold Schoenberg (somehow) had heard of Ives and considered him a "great composer."

Of course, some would say that Schoenberg's recommendation proves that they should preserve their distaste. ;)

Consider, however, the many parallels in art, especially 20th century painting and sculpting, where pastiche - or a patchwork quilt, if you want to continue the analogy - are found quite often  Again, some find such works less than compelling.  Indeed, some collage artists are less than compelling.  When done properly, however, such artworks can contain symbols or a symbology difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in "ex nihilo" art.

And so Charles Ives wanted to conjure up New England quite often, and was seemingly haunted by the agrarian nature of small-town New England of the 19th century, a nature that  quickly started to come under assault with the development of American culture and its dependence on all the burgeoning technology of its day.  In his music, Ives often seems more parallel with Marc Chagall than with the American collage artists (e.g. Robert Rauschenberg ), i.e. Ives often wants (or seems to want) to evoke a definite sense of nostalgia for things faded and fading away.  I do not think he would say that he wanted to avoid any definite meaning.  e.g. Born in the shadow of the American Civil War, the New England Yankee seems to push patriotism in his music quite often, perhaps as a way to help the reconstructed country to continue its healing.  Or perhaps just to contribute to a feisty, independent atmosphere of invention and show that Yankee ingenuity was also alive in music, and specifically his music!

In the same way that Chagall's art creates a symbology or iconography to keep alive the memories of Eastern European Jewry, of the life in the shtetl, along with a strong sense of fantasy, the music of Charles Ives is steeped in memories of New England, of small-town bands in the square, of Protestant churches and their hymns, of folk songs sung while people worked or traveled, but also contains a strong, even strident, sense of fantasy (e.g. The Robert Browning Overture, which is practically devoid of the usual collage-layered references, evokes the powerful - and mysterious - psychology found in many of Browning's works (e.g. Ivan Ivanovitch ).
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2018, 03:36:52 PM
"For [American] musicians it is worse.  We had nothing to offer before Ives, and he smelled like Whitman's armpits." - Robert Evett

Reading between the lines, I wonder if Evett resented having to compete with Ives for attention. Here as a composer in 2018, my heart bleedeth for Evett.  Pity for him that he did not have the wit to distinguish between the difficulty of getting his work listened to, and the question of Ives's worth.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: Mahlerian on July 30, 2018, 04:04:59 PM
If one wants to appeal to authority to verify that Charles Ives had found a path worth following, recall that Arnold Schoenberg (somehow) had heard of Ives and considered him a "great composer."

Of course, some would say that Schoenberg's recommendation proves that they should preserve their distaste. ;)

Consider, however, the many parallels in art, especially 20th century painting and sculpting, where pastiche - or a patchwork quilt, if you want to continue the analogy - are found quite often  Again, some find such works less than compelling.  Indeed, some collage artists are less than compelling.  When done properly, however, such artworks can contain symbols or a symbology difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in "ex nihilo" art.

And so Charles Ives wanted to conjure up New England quite often, and was seemingly haunted by the agrarian nature of small-town New England of the 19th century, a nature that  quickly started to come under assault with the development of American culture and its dependence on all the burgeoning technology of its day.  In his music, Ives often seems more parallel with Marc Chagall than with the American collage artists (e.g. Robert Rauschenberg ), i.e. Ives often wants (or seems to want) to evoke a definite sense of nostalgia for things faded and fading away.  I do not think he would say that he wanted to avoid any definite meaning.  e.g. Born in the shadow of the American Civil War, the New England Yankee seems to push patriotism in his music quite often, perhaps as a way to help the reconstructed country to continue its healing.  Or perhaps just to contribute to a feisty, independent atmosphere of invention and show that Yankee ingenuity was also alive in music, and specifically his music!

In the same way that Chagall's art creates a symbology or iconography to keep alive the memories of Eastern European Jewry, of the life in the shtetl, along with a strong sense of fantasy, the music of Charles Ives is steeped in memories of New England, of small-town bands in the square, of Protestant churches and their hymns, of folk songs sung while people worked or traveled, but also contains a strong, even strident, sense of fantasy (e.g. The Robert Browning Overture, which is practically devoid of the usual collage-layered references, evokes the powerful - and mysterious - psychology found in many of Browning's works (e.g. Ivan Ivanovitch ).

Interesting.  I wouldn't have thought about connecting Ives to Chagall, but your reasoning seems quite sound.

I was listening to the Stokowski performance of the Robert Browning Overture earlier today, which prompted my brief look at the Ives literature.  A strong work in any event, very different as you said from the techniques used in the Fourth Symphony, eg.
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: vers la flamme on October 10, 2019, 02:47:11 AM
I think I'm finally beginning to get into Ives. His music is extremely unique, and quite diverse. I don't know how he went from writing things like the calm, pastoral, "normal" 2nd symphony to The Unanswered Question and Central Park in the Dark in a matter of years, but lo and behold. I am a fan of his small orchestral pieces, like Hymn, The Gong on the Hook and Ladder, Hallowe'en, and the aforementioned Central Park and Unanswered Question. I've been listening exclusively to the Bernstein/NYPO DG disc with all these and the 2nd symphony. I see many seem to enjoy the earlier Sony recording. Is it worth checking out? I think this one sounds great. It's a late recording of Bernstein's.

I am probably also about to get a CD with Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing the Concord sonata, along with a few songs. I have not enjoyed Ives' songs in the past, but I'm willing to give them another shot.

Anyone been listening to Ives lately?
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on October 10, 2019, 03:51:01 AM
Always do. Not often, but regularly. But I don't think I'd have ever gotten into Ives had I not heard him in concert on several occasions. It's SUCH effective music (esp. the orchestral music) for the live experience.


FYI A bit on Ives:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/11/08/classical-cd-of-the-week-alexei-lubimov-supreme-in-ives-webern-berg/
(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F11%2FForbes_Classical-CD-of-the-Week_IVES-BERG-WEBERN_Alexei-Lubimov_Concord-Sonata_ZigZag_ALPHA_Laurson_960.jpg) (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/11/08/classical-cd-of-the-week-alexei-lubimov-supreme-in-ives-webern-berg/)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/
(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F03%2FForbes_Classica-CD-of-the-Week_CHANDOS_IVES_AndrewDavis_Melbourne_Orchestral-Works1200-1200x469.jpg) (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/03/30/classical-cd-of-the-week-charles-ives-down-under/)

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-profound-existentialism-of-charles.html
(https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fxpQ0fGDZXA/VJQPGeskvNI/AAAAAAAAHzE/dcyJ0ZqKL8I/s1600/Kent_Nagano_(c)Felix-Broede_560_Ives_Interview_jens-f-laurson.png) (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-profound-existentialism-of-charles.html)

https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/08/notes-from-2013-salzburg-festival-7.html (https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/08/notes-from-2013-salzburg-festival-7.html) Notes from the 2013 Salzburg Festival ( 7 ) Ives Got Something to Remember
https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/01/schubert-schumann-ives-not-beautiful.html (https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/01/schubert-schumann-ives-not-beautiful.html) Schubert, Schumann, Ives: Not Beautiful, Courageous!
https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/02/musica-viva-munich-ives-american-mahler.html (https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/02/musica-viva-munich-ives-american-mahler.html) Ives, the American Mahler?
https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2011/08/notes-from-2011-salzburg-festival-15.html (https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2011/08/notes-from-2011-salzburg-festival-15.html) Notes from the 2011 Salzburg Festival ( 15 ) Chamber Concert • Beethoven, Ives
https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2011/08/notes-from-2011-salzburg-festival-12.html (https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2011/08/notes-from-2011-salzburg-festival-12.html) Notes from the 2011 Salzburg Festival ( 12 ) Camerata 1 • Mahler Scenes 8
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: aukhawk on October 11, 2019, 01:48:45 AM
... I've been listening exclusively to the Bernstein/NYPO DG disc with all these and the 2nd symphony. I see many seem to enjoy the earlier Sony recording. Is it worth checking out? I think this one sounds great. It's a late recording of Bernstein's.

The 2nd symphony is a favourite and I have both recordings, but since acquiring the later one (DG) I do always listen to that.  I don't think the performance has changed much but the plusher DG sound seems to emphasise a Brahmsian side to the symphony.  The earlier recording - which is a good one for its time - seems more, well, American.

Here are 3 discs to consider - although I don't have any time for the 3rd symphony - but the 4th is a storming work - Morlot a modern recording, Serebrier and Stokowski 'classic' ones (I seem to recall Serebrier also assisted on the Stokowski recording, which I think was the first 4th on record and roughly contemporary with Bernstein's first recording of the 2nd).

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81DpdzouiVL._SL1425_.jpg)

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81l8gDBme4L._SS500_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51dFkTpyoIL.jpg)
Title: Re: Charles Ives
Post by: VonStupp on June 13, 2021, 02:54:37 AM
Charles Ives
9 Church Anthems (1890-1901)
The Celestial Country
The Gregg Smith Singers
Gregg Smith


(https://ia601408.us.archive.org/24/items/mbid-a050fda0-4e26-49da-b559-b8230b04af6f/mbid-a050fda0-4e26-49da-b559-b8230b04af6f-29605172612.jpg)

Probably only for the Charles Ives completist, as none of his experimental or modernist voice is present. That said, his writing for church choir is assured in its part writing, yet with none of his peculiar character, and some of the organ parts sound like they were drawn from an operetta. Bread of the World is the moodiest of the anthems, and Let There Be Light is the only work where Ives is in full Ives-mode.

The Celestial Country is a sacred cantata well worth hearing, although it is still drawn from a grand 19th Century Romantic idiom. Ives' Romantic voice lets loose a little though, and the chamber orchestra is fun against the organ-only accompanied church anthems.

From 2003, the Gregg Smith Singers show their age, not nearly as athletic or cohesive as their younger selves. The Celestial Country is a 70's remaster though, and it shows the GSS at their peak. Nice music without a particularly personal stamp; I would seek out Ives' Psalms for that, although I still don't think the Gregg Smith performances have made it to CD.