Episode #11

January 10, 1931: The Debut of Charles Ives’s Three Places in New England

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This work is performed for the first time to mild applause at a concert funded by the composer himself. Mild applause, but Ives’s music was revolutionary. Before him, American concert music was almost entirely based on European models. After him, through Copland, Cage, and beyond, American “classical” music found its own voice.

Comments [7]

barry light from New York

I have remarked previously and directly to WQXR my disappointment with my disappointment with this entire series
I can get past the pretentious announcer's attempt to sound serious
I believe that the series should properly be called German type music - not 13 days in music history that changed the world
If you follow this program, one would think that there was no Italian music in the 19th century. Wagner is easy to understand, but no Verdi? Rossini change the direction of Italian opera with Il Barbiere ( albeit on the second nite ). There are many other examples
Whoever programmed this series seems to have blinders on

Aug. 17 2011 08:53 AM

Ives could be a mean-spirited homophobe but he was also a wit and a genius. Anyone who fails to appreciate his music needs help. Ives' "Variations on America" is one of the wittiest pieces ever written for organ. William Shuman's orchestration is a mere epigone.

Aug. 16 2011 11:40 PM
David A. Beardsley from 08904

Ives is primarily a musician, but he also expressed himself beautifully in his own words, of which this program could use more, e.g. "Later in life, the same boy hears the Sabbath morning bell ringing out from the white steeple at the "Center," and as it draws him to it, through the autumn fields of sumac and asters, a Gospel hymn of simple devotion comes out to him--"There's a wideness in God's mercy"--an instant suggestion of that Memorial Day morning comes--but the moment is of deeper import--there is no personal exultation--no intimate world vision--no magnified personal hope--and in their place a
profound sense of a spiritual truth,--a sin within reach of forgiveness--and as the hymn voices die away, there lies at his feet--not the world, but the figure of the Saviour--he sees an unfathomable courage, an immortality for the lowest, the vastness in humility, the kindness of the human heart, man's noblest strength, and he knows that God is nothing--nothing but love! Whence cometh the wonder of a moment? From sources we know not. But we do know that from obscurity, and from this higher Orpheus come measures of sphere melodies flowing in wild, native tones, ravaging the souls of men, flowing now with thousand-fold accompaniments and rich symphonies through all our hearts; modulating and divinely leading them."

Aug. 16 2011 10:45 PM
TJ Harvey from Huntington, NY

Mea culpa, Schoolmarm! Thanks for correcting me!

Aug. 16 2011 10:36 PM
Schoolmarm from Manhattan

T.J. Harvey has been hoodwinked by Suzanne Vega's mispronunciation to actually misspell cacophony. Vega is no more than a hired voice who knows little of which she speaks. This program is an outrageous rip-off of Sarah Fishko's learned commentaries.

Aug. 16 2011 10:28 PM
TJ Harvey from Huntington, NY

"Glorious cacaphony"? What, may I please ask, is that? A contradiction, if ever Ives heard one.

This piece is a conceit of the composer, and he deserves no place in the pantheon of Classical music. I fully respect Emerson and Transcendentalism, but music, like writing, should transcend. This descends.

Aug. 16 2011 10:13 PM
David A. Beardsley from 08904

Ives was the musical heir of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the New England Transcendentalists whom he memorialized of course in his Piano Sonata #2. We can imagine him trembling as he read Emerson's words, "...in yourself slumbers the whole of Reason; it is for you to know all, it is for you to dare all.... this confidence in the unsearched might of man belongs, by all motives, by all prophecy, by all preparation, to the American Scholar. We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe." Ives's own manifesto can be read in his "Essay Before a Sonata." More at http://idealinthewest.com/episode-21-the-sphere-of-art Thank you.

Aug. 16 2011 01:57 PM

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