Pledging Allegiance To Charles Ives

Music from the great musical patriot and other American luminaries

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Monday, July 01, 2013

There are few composers as maverick-y as Charles Ives. His work is a mashup of styles, a collage of cultural "found sounds", a reverence for the musical relics of our national history. This Fourth of July week on Hammered!, tune in for the piano-based repertoire of American music's great experimental pioneer.  

You can almost hear the Fourth Of July parade in the middle movement of the Piano Trio, or see the "one man band" spectacle in sections of his First Piano Sonata. Ives was a brilliant layerer of sound, piling on rhythmic schemes, tonal centers, and musical styles as if each was happening independently of the other. There's also remarkable tenderness to many of his scores, especially the songs (see, "Housotonic at Stockbridge" or "Songs My Mother Taught Me").

In addition to both Piano Sonatas (in remarkable performances by the inimitable Jeremy Denk), tune in this week for the Piano Trio, Second Violin Sonata, song selections, and various piano works (including the quarter-tone pieces for two pianos!).

Filling out each hour are works by other composers drawing on American popular song, like Frederic Rzewski (Four North American Ballads, including a performance by the composer and Ursula Oppens of the two-piano version of "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues"), Michael Finnissy (North American Spirituals), and others. 

Happy Fourth!

Hosted by:

Conor Hanick

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