Iconoclast Charles Ives Challenges Himself

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Monday night, WQXR and Q2 Music brought you a live event from The Greene Space, a conversation and performance about some of America’s iconoclastic composers. In that spirit, today’s Showdown focuses on Charles Ives, who was perhaps America’s original maverick composer.

We offered the first three symphonies Ives composed as he developed his ground-breaking style. In the end, it was Ives' Symphony No. 2 -- which Ives heard the premiere of during a live broadcast over the radio in 1951 with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic -- that earned the most votes. We played it at noon.


Symphony No. 1

Symphony No. 2

Symphony No. 3

Comments [5]

Thom Taylor from New York, NY

What a great idea to have a Charles Ives showdown. Somewhere the spirit of Bernard Herrmann must be very happy about this. He had a fascinating friendship with Ives, and it is largely due to his efforts to bring Ives to the concert stage that we hear Ives today. All the four symphonies are worthy of being heard far more than they are, and today I vote for Symphony #3.

Mar. 28 2012 11:33 AM
Tim Brown from Washington, DC

Yep, number 4 is pretty amazing - and considered unplayable for many years. It would be a great choice for today. But Ives Symphony #2 is on the ballot, and is a great one, and I vote happily and so patriotically for it.

Mar. 28 2012 09:55 AM
Bernie from UWS

These are all beautiful excerpts. I think I like the First Symphony the best, which sounds a lot like Dvorak. The Third is very bucolic too. Nice to have something a little more offbeat this week than the usual fare!

Mar. 28 2012 09:52 AM
Andrew Barnard from Leola, PA

I'm I the only one who doesn't feel like hearing Ives?

Mar. 28 2012 09:09 AM

Notice how the provincial WQXR left out Charles Ives's Symphony No. 4 as a choice for the noontime hour.

Mar. 28 2012 12:58 AM

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