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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Guido on August 25, 2007, 05:45:40 PM

Title: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Guido on August 25, 2007, 05:45:40 PM
Have been listeing to a lot of Ives recently, and through this my attention has been turned to Ruggles too. For those who do not know he completed a tiny but perfectly formed oevre of nine completed and surviving works. His works are searingly intense, atonal, dramatic, very personal, moving. He worked painfully slowly, not having had any formal musical training, and worked at the piano, essentially by trial and error - playing a chord, listening, then correcting and trying again. He used to sit at the piano with Ives, play one of his soaring atonal melodies and shout "doesn't that twist yer guts!!"

Sun Treader (1926-31) is a truly astonishing work - at sixteen minutes long it is easily Ruggles' longest work, and it contains an intensity of expression and emotion that is of quite a rare order. Its not easy on the ear (deliberately so!), but it is utterly involving, and has a powerful beauty that is all its own. It's the apex of his achievement and for anyone even remotely interested in contemporary music it is surely a must.

Are there any good books on his life?

I've heard Evocations (4 chants for piano), Portals, Angels, Toys, some early songs, Sun-Treader and Organum on piano. I am yet to hear Men and Mountains, Vox clamans in deserto and Organum for orchestra and Exaltation... such a pity that Michael Tilson Thomas' complete works LPs have not been reissued.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Heather Harrison on August 25, 2007, 06:14:40 PM
Thanks for mentioning this.  I love Ives, but I have never encountered Ruggles.  I'll look for some recordings.

Heather
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Sean on August 26, 2007, 06:33:27 AM
Yes indeed, Sun treader has singular passion, a monolithic steamroller of a piece; the choral Exultation with organ and trumpet is another oddball. I might compare Ruggles to Revueltas and the likes of Sensemaya...
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Kullervo on August 26, 2007, 06:53:41 AM
This disc is excellent:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XB8K8TVGL._SS500_.jpg)

Inexplicably, the cover omitted Ruth Crawford-Seeger's Andante for Strings, which is just as great as the other two pieces.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: vandermolen on August 27, 2007, 10:50:38 PM
I have always liked Ruggles's Sun Treader with its Browning quotation "Life and light be thine forever", since I heard it on an old DGG LP with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Boston SO (coupled with the best performance I know of Ives's Three Places in New England.) DGG bought out a CD with Piston's fine Second Symphony (his best I think) included as well...a great CD.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Cato on August 28, 2007, 02:58:58 AM
Yes to everything by the rugged Ruggles!!!

And yes, the Cleveland Orchestra/Dohnanyi CD mentioned above is an all-around fave, and I do indeed recall the marvelous LP in the early 1970's with Tilson-Thomas conducting "Sun-Treader" and the cover art was really great, showing a humanoid figure striding the planets with the sun for a head!

The only lament is that there are not enough Ruggles works: too many other obligations, or a Liadovian pace of composition...or...?
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: karlhenning on August 28, 2007, 03:31:05 AM
Ah, Ruggles! Probably the only composer to have a 'T' stop name after him (http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/subway/lines/stations/default.asp?stopId=14166)  8)
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Kullervo on August 28, 2007, 04:12:45 AM
Ah, Ruggles! Probably the only composer to have a 'T' stop name after him (http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/subway/lines/stations/default.asp?stopId=14166)  8)

I didn't know that! Well, I almost never left the red line unless I was going to Chinatown. ;)
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Guido on August 28, 2007, 04:48:09 AM
Heather - Ruggles is far more dissonant than Ives - consistently atonal where Ives only visited that sound world occasionally in his wider pallete of sounds - the closest thing I think would be the Robert Browning Overture, which to me never sounded much like Ives anyway (surely his oddest and least successful large scale work). Even then its not that similar. I have just ordered Men and Mountains and Organum.

Can't seem to find a recording of Exultation - any clues Sean?
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Sean on August 28, 2007, 04:58:14 AM
Hi Guido, I'm afraid I'm not sure about the recordings situation- I've only tracked two of Ruggles pieces down and at least one was a broadcast.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 28, 2007, 06:22:42 PM
Yes to everything by the rugged Ruggles!!!

The only lament is that there are not enough Ruggles works: too many other obligations, or a Liadovian pace of composition...or...?

Ruggles worked very slowly and was very self-critical. He destroyed more of his pieces than he finished. In the liner notes of the first recording of Sun Treader (conductedby Zoltan Rozsnyai) it mentions a list of some of his other works, including one called "Polyphonic Composition for Four Pianos". Whatever became of that?

Some songs by Ruggles for voice and piano, dating to the 1890s, apparently also exist, but no one has paid them much attention.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Guido on August 28, 2007, 10:15:18 PM
They are however recorded in the very valuable CD played by Donald Berman entitled: the Uncovered Ruggles (he's also done two volumes of 'the Ukown Ives, which include previously unpublished pieces).
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mark G. Simon on August 29, 2007, 05:11:16 AM
They are however recorded in the very valuable CD played by Donald Berman entitled: the Uncovered Ruggles (he's also done two volumes of 'the Ukown Ives, which include previously unpublished pieces).

Cool.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Kullervo on August 29, 2007, 07:37:36 AM
I've uploaded the aforementioned disc containing works by Ruggles, Ives and Ruth Crawford-Seeger.

You can download it here (http://www.sendspace.com/file/aw0du2).  :)
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: BachQ on December 04, 2007, 11:26:16 AM
Inexplicably, the cover omitted Ruth Crawford-Seeger's Andante for Strings, which is just as great as the other two pieces.

Even if it were "less great," would that validate its omission?

Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: gomro on December 04, 2007, 03:48:06 PM
Yes indeed, Sun treader has singular passion, a monolithic steamroller of a piece; the choral Exultation with organ and trumpet is another oddball. I might compare Ruggles to Revueltas and the likes of Sensemaya...

If Revueltas pastiched Varese, then the result would be Ruggles. There are few works in my experience with the sort of insane power in Sun-Treader's heavenstorming.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: paulb on January 10, 2008, 05:56:03 PM
Have been listeing to a lot of Ives recently, and through this my attention has been turned to Ruggles too. For those who do not know he completed a tiny but perfectly formed oevre of nine completed and surviving works. His works are searingly intense, atonal, dramatic, very personal, moving. He worked painfully slowly, not having had any formal musical training, and worked at the piano, essentially by trial and error - playing a chord, listening, then correcting and trying again. He used to sit at the piano with Ives, play one of his soaring atonal melodies and shout "doesn't that twist yer guts!!"

Sun Treader (1926-31) is a truly astonishing work - at sixteen minutes long it is easily Ruggles' longest work, and it contains an intensity of expression and emotion that is of quite a rare order. Its not easy on the ear (deliberately so!), but it is utterly involving, and has a powerful beauty that is all its own. It's the apex of his achievement and for anyone even remotely interested in contemporary music it is surely a must.

Are there any good books on his life?

I've heard Evocations (4 chants for piano), Portals, Angels, Toys, some early songs, Sun-Treader and Organum on piano. I am yet to hear Men and Mountains, Vox clamans in deserto and Organum for orchestra and Exaltation... such a pity that Michael Tilson Thomas' complete works LPs have not been reissued.

I agree, Ruggles, Sun Treader, and his nearly as fine Men and Mountains, are masterpieces of Classical Music. Outside of Elliott Carter, I really only recognize some of Ives, and these 2 works from Ruggles that fall within the Classical Music genre.
IOW Copland is american folk orch, Bernie is braodway orch. and so on. Neither are CM composers. as neither are most all others. CM is a  genre began with Bach and his generation.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: longears on January 10, 2008, 06:03:46 PM
Welcome back, Paul!  Where've you been keeping yourself? 
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 08:56:58 AM
Welcome back, Paul!  Where've you been keeping yourself? 

Chillin out.
Last 3 months been posting over at the easy going amazon forum,.
Over there i get to say pretty much what i want ,and get nothing snidey nor vulgar in way of atttacks.
which was not the case last time i was here.
btw the disc Coey posted is sadly OOP, Dohnanyi/Cleveland.
The Thomas/Boston in Ruggles,  I think is not as good. I could be wrong, but my hunch says the Dohnanyi is much better.
later
Paul
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Brewski on January 11, 2008, 09:08:02 AM
Welcome back, Paul!   :D

About Ruggles, I actually heard a singer do "Toys" many years ago--unfortunately can't recall who it was at the moment--but it is wonderful.  The lyrics end with a description of a balloon floating off into the sky, and similarly, the melodic line goes up the scale, getting higher and higher until it seems to disappear.

Just did a search and found this interesting CD with of all people, Susan Narucki, singing it!  I may have to get this immediately. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Kullervo on January 11, 2008, 09:19:49 AM
Chillin out.
Last 3 months been posting over at the easy going amazon forum,.
Over there i get to say pretty much what i want ,and get nothing snidey nor vulgar in way of atttacks.
which was not the case last time i was here.
btw the disc Coey posted is sadly OOP, Dohnanyi/Cleveland.
The Thomas/Boston in Ruggles,  I think is not as good. I could be wrong, but my hunch says the Dohnanyi is much better.
later
Paul

I think the Ives recordings from that disc ended up as part of the two-fer with the four symphonies, but I'm not sure. The Ruggles and Crawford-Seeger, however, seem to have gone AWOL.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Kullervo on January 11, 2008, 09:36:01 AM
Here (http://www.sendspace.com/file/nrhzbp) is the Dohnanyi disc with the Ives, Ruggles and Crawford-Seeger again, for anyone who missed it the first time. (I know Wurstwasser asked me for it a long time ago, but it just slipped my mind  :-[.)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XB8K8TVGL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: paulb on January 11, 2008, 01:16:28 PM
I think the Ives recordings from that disc ended up as part of the two-fer with the four symphonies, but I'm not sure. The Ruggles and Crawford-Seeger, however, seem to have gone AWOL.

Yes I don't even think there are used copies of the Donanhyi/Ruggles on amazon, at least last time I cked. What a  shame, short 15 minute work, took Ruggles some yrs to complete, but worth its weight in gold. + The sym is quite too as a  bonus.

I'd bet any money the Thomas drags in places , thus rendering the work less synamic that it deserves.
I have Thomas/Boston in Ives, fair to adequate.

Cory I like your sig from Nietzsche. I'm reading some Jung on Nietzsche now. Quite a  man ahead of his time, speaks about critical  issues but expresses himself in   a  difficult to grasp proverbic style.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Guido on April 24, 2010, 03:48:18 PM
Get the complete Ruggles here: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,15764.msg390423.html#msg390423

I've listened to the set now and while it is obviously immensely valuable, the playing is not quite top notch - there's a feeling of laxness compared to other recordings I know. But no matter, it's a great boon, especially for those items not available elsewhere (most importantly Vox Clamans in Deserto which emerges as a stunning work).

But again I am struck by the incredible mastery of Suntreader - Whilst there are certainly hints and more than hints of greatness in the preceeding (and subsequent works), that the composer could manage something of the stature and unquestionable greatness of Suntreader (something you just feel from the first bar) is completely unexpected and just floors me every time. This is Great music.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 24, 2010, 04:34:23 PM
But again I am struck by the incredible mastery of Suntreader - Whilst there are certainly hints and more than hints of greatness in the preceeding (and subsequent works), that the composer could manage something of the stature and unquestionable greatness of Suntreader (something you just feel from the first bar) is completely unexpected and just floors me every time. This is Great music.

I agree. It made my list in Vandermolen's thread, Six greatest American orchestral works.

Sarge
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Dax on April 30, 2010, 01:25:10 AM
If Revueltas pastiched Varese, then the result would be Ruggles.

Arguably Revueltas did pastiche Varese (up to a point): the result was Sensemaya.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mirror Image on August 12, 2011, 07:37:33 PM
I really wish Ruggles composed more! Man, Sun Treader is so wonderful. I've come to recognize good atonal music and bad atonal music. This is most definitely good atonal music. I haven't heard Men and Mountains as I don't have a recording of it. I know Dohnanyi is highly recommended. Too bad his works aren't recorded more.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: snyprrr on August 14, 2011, 05:37:58 PM
I really wish Ruggles composed more! Man, Sun Treader is so wonderful. I've come to recognize good atonal music and bad atonal music. This is most definitely good atonal music. I haven't heard Men and Mountains as I don't have a recording of it. I know Dohnanyi is highly recommended. Too bad his works aren't recorded more.

We really need someone brave to just do the do,... I mean, really!! Surely NewWorld will have to do it,... or maybe Mode!!
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mirror Image on August 14, 2011, 05:58:33 PM
We really need someone brave to just do the do,... I mean, really!! Surely NewWorld will have to do it,... or maybe Mode!!

I wish MTT would do more Ruggles. My understanding is he tries to squeeze in Ruggles when the program permits it. His BSO performance of Sun-treader was simply outstanding.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: snyprrr on August 15, 2011, 06:59:50 PM
I wish MTT would do more Ruggles. My understanding is he tries to squeeze in Ruggles when the program permits it. His BSO performance of Sun-treader was simply outstanding.

Technically, do we have one recording of everything? Am I thinking that one piece is missing? The CRI has Organum and Men & Mountains. M&M is also on a Vox cd. Then there's the 'rarities' cd on NewWorld, and the piano pieces on another NewWorld.

However, a new recording of at least the big tripdych(?) would certainly be appreciated. The MTT is just the thing, though.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mirror Image on August 15, 2011, 08:06:28 PM
Technically, do we have one recording of everything? Am I thinking that one piece is missing? The CRI has Organum and Men & Mountains. M&M is also on a Vox cd. Then there's the 'rarities' cd on NewWorld, and the piano pieces on another NewWorld.

However, a new recording of at least the big tripdych(?) would certainly be appreciated. The MTT is just the thing, though.

Yes, I would just like to hear a major conductor and orchestra like MTT with the SFSO tackle Ruggles. There was a series that MTT conducted called American Mavericks that featured Ruggles's music. I'm sure some of these concerts were recorded.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: The new erato on August 15, 2011, 08:25:39 PM
Seems strange Naxos hasn't done Ruggles in their American Classics series. Should think there would be more of a market than for some of the more obscure stuff they're currently doing.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mirror Image on August 15, 2011, 08:39:03 PM
Seems strange Naxos hasn't done Ruggles in their American Classics series. Should think there would be more of a market than for some of the more obscure stuff they're currently doing.

Good point. I wonder who they'd get to conduct the orchestral works? Schwarz?
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: The new erato on August 16, 2011, 02:33:32 AM
Perhaps Harry could force them to record Ruggles. I mean, if he threatened to dump his collection on the used market the market for new CDs would collapse instantly.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: snyprrr on August 16, 2011, 05:40:22 PM
Seems strange Naxos hasn't done Ruggles in their American Classics series. Should think there would be more of a market than for some of the more obscure stuff they're currently doing.

 :o But of course!! Now I see it!

That does seem likely.

Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: snyprrr on November 13, 2011, 06:18:43 PM
Someone change the Thread Title to Buggles for Ruggles? :-* ;D
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: snyprrr on November 13, 2011, 06:19:49 PM
Have been listeing to a lot of Ives recently, and through this my attention has been turned to Ruggles too. For those who do not know he completed a tiny but perfectly formed oevre of nine completed and surviving works. His works are searingly intense, atonal, dramatic, very personal, moving. He worked painfully slowly, not having had any formal musical training, and worked at the piano, essentially by trial and error - playing a chord, listening, then correcting and trying again. He used to sit at the piano with Ives, play one of his soaring atonal melodies and shout "doesn't that twist yer guts!!"

Sun Treader (1926-31) is a truly astonishing work - at sixteen minutes long it is easily Ruggles' longest work, and it contains an intensity of expression and emotion that is of quite a rare order. Its not easy on the ear (deliberately so!), but it is utterly involving, and has a powerful beauty that is all its own. It's the apex of his achievement and for anyone even remotely interested in contemporary music it is surely a must.

Are there any good books on his life?

I've heard Evocations (4 chants for piano), Portals, Angels, Toys, some early songs, Sun-Treader and Organum on piano. I am yet to hear Men and Mountains, Vox clamans in deserto and Organum for orchestra and Exaltation... such a pity that Michael Tilson Thomas' complete works LPs have not been reissued.

Someone change the Thread Title to Buggles for Ruggles? :-* ;D

 8)
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: The new erato on December 04, 2011, 03:12:42 PM
According to Alex Ross:

"Good news from Other Minds: early next year they're reissuing Michael Tilson Thomas's survey of the works of Carl Ruggles, a classic two-LP set that never appeared on CD.... "

http://www.otherminds.org/ (http://www.otherminds.org/)
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: snyprrr on December 04, 2011, 05:57:57 PM
According to Alex Ross:

"Good news from Other Minds: early next year they're reissuing Michael Tilson Thomas's survey of the works of Carl Ruggles, a classic two-LP set that never appeared on CD.... "

http://www.otherminds.org/ (http://www.otherminds.org/)

Grrrrrrreat!!! :D
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Drasko on April 18, 2012, 02:02:04 PM
Coming out soon, available for pre-order. 8)



Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: snyprrr on April 18, 2012, 06:12:05 PM
Coming out soon, available for pre-order. 8)



Wow, Sony wouldn't do it themselves? haha,... anyhow, this is grand news! DISC OF THE YEAR!!!
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mirror Image on April 18, 2012, 06:14:14 PM
Wow, Sony wouldn't do it themselves? haha,... anyhow, this is grand news! DISC OF THE YEAR!!!

Yes, I'm definitely going to buy it. I've been wanting to explore Ruggles' music beyond Sun-treader for so long and MTT will be just the conductor to do it.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader: Muggles for Ruggles
Post by: snyprrr on July 27, 2013, 09:48:27 AM
Has anyone got the reissue Complete Works?

What I'd really like is a 1 disc cd Ruggles's Orchestral Works Plus, maybe make a nice 70min. Ruggles recital by, hmm?, MTT?, Jarvi?, Dudamel? BOULEZ?? (gaaah ::))

All my favorite Composers seem to have been relegated to the 'dont expect one single more recording of anything good' category. >:( :( :'(
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader: Muggles for Ruggles
Post by: Mirror Image on October 06, 2013, 01:32:26 PM
Has anyone got the reissue Complete Works?

What I'd really like is a 1 disc cd Ruggles's Orchestral Works Plus, maybe make a nice 70min. Ruggles recital by, hmm?, MTT?, Jarvi?, Dudamel? BOULEZ?? (gaaah ::))

All my favorite Composers seem to have been relegated to the 'dont expect one single more recording of anything good' category. >:( :( :'(

You don't own this 2-CD MTT set yet, snyprrr? That's surprising. This is an essential acquisition for anyone interested in 20th Century music. Everything is played incredibly well and the sound quality is all you could ask for. A well-balanced set.

Ruggles isn't a composer I listen to that often, but a revisit of his music is always enjoyable for me. Such powerful music.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Daverz on October 06, 2013, 04:38:23 PM
Feh, empty, noisy stuff.  I do have the Lp set.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mirror Image on October 06, 2013, 04:54:57 PM
Feh, empty, noisy stuff.  I do have the Lp set.

Then send your LPs my way. :) I'd love to own the LPs of this set as well.
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Daverz on October 06, 2013, 05:16:03 PM
Then send your LPs my way. :) I'd love to own the LPs of this set as well.

What'll I do when I'm feeling masochistic?
Title: Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
Post by: Mirror Image on October 06, 2013, 05:21:21 PM
What'll I do when I'm feeling masochistic?

Listen to some Puccini?