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1. Essays Before a Sonata, The Majority,
2. Charles Ives: A Life with Music
3. Charles Edward Ives and His Piano
4. Charles Ives and Aaron Copland
5. 114 Songs by Charles Ives
6. Charles Ives and His World
7. Charles Ives Remembered: AN ORAL
8. The Charles Ives Tunebook, Second
9. Charles Ives & His Amer
10. Charles Ives: A Research and Information
11. Music's Connecticut Yankee: An
12. Charles Ives Reconsidered (Music
13. What Charlie Heard: The Story
14. The Music of Charles Ives (Composers
15. Charles Ives and the Classical
16. All Made of Tunes: Charles Ives
17. Charles E.Ives: Discography
18. A Union of Diversities: Style
19. Charles Edward Ives, 1874-1954:
20. The Third Symphony of Charles

1. Essays Before a Sonata, The Majority, and Other Writings
by Charles Ives
Paperback: 284 Pages (1999-01-17)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$10.12
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Asin: 0393318303
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Ives's second piano sonata, Concord, Mass., 1845, stands among the masterpieces of American music. The Essays Before a Sonata was conceived by Ives as a preface of sorts to the composition. Ives's musings also explore the nature of music, discuss the source of a composer's impulses and inspiration, and offer some biting comments on celebrated masters. The writings in this collection-now featuring a comprehensive index-allow readers entry into the brilliant mind that produced some of America's most innovative musical works. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A highly original writer
A highly original writer, Ives can be a tough read. He follows his asides & digressions in prose much the same way as he does in music. But he dragged Transcendentalism (moaning & groaning) into the 20th Century,wrote a philosophy of insurance salesthat is still consulted today, &was not afraid to call for a national referendum prior to the United Statescommitting to war. His ideas about creativity remain, at the core,uncomfortably radical for most of his admirers.Bob Rixon, WFMU-FM ... Read more

2. Charles Ives: A Life with Music
by Jan Swafford
Paperback: 544 Pages (1998-01-17)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$7.12
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393317196
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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An illuminating portrait of a man whose innovative works profoundly influenced the course of twentieth-century American classical music. Jan Swafford's colorful biography first unfolds in Ives's Connecticut hometown of Danbury, then follows Ives to Yale and on to his years in New York, where he began his double career as composer and insurance executive. The Charles Ives that emerges from Swafford's story is a precocious, well-trained musician, a brilliant if mercurial thinker about art and life, and an experimenter in the spirit of Edison and the Wright brothers. A National Book Critics Circle nominee and a New York Times Notable Book.Amazon.com Review
This is a scholarly assessment of the American composer Charles Ives,whose life and work have remained enigmatic since his death in 1954. Asuccessful insurance executive in Hartford, Connecticut, Ives used aconsiderable part of his tidy income to promote serious modern music, anddespite his day job maintained a prolific output of scores himself. He was arobustly opinionated and confident individual who eschewed easy listening;his atonal works were considered almost un-American. Yet he also soughtrecognition that just eluded him in his lifetime. Ives is increasingly knownaround the world. Jan Swafford, himself a composer, should help win even moreinterest with this sympathetic biography. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating Biography
This is a captivating biography by an author who treats Ives' music, life and times with great skill and respect. Ives was neither a struggling musician nor a political radical, but a full member of the American middle class. He majored in music at Yale and then became a successful co-owner of a New York life insurance agency. He created music without commissions or patrons. His musical creations were personal expressions, with a conviction and an aesthetic all his own. His modernism was uniquely American relying on the sounds and memories of his youth in Danbury, Connecticut. This is a comprehensive biography of a remarkable man.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK
Well-written, reseached and presented.This is the biography we'd hoped for and will be the standard for years to come.In depth yet fun to read.Just about perfect.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great American Composer Brought to Life
Charles Ives (1874-1954)was the first, and still probably the greatest, composer of a distinctly American art ("classical") music.His relationship to American music seems to me roughly parallel to Walt Whitman's relationship to American poetry and to Charles Peirce's relationship to American philosophy. Like Peirce, Ives was little-known during his lifetime.Furthermore, while many people may be aware of Peirce and of Ives, a much smaller number have much acquaintance with their works.

Ives was born in Danbury, Connecticut and remained throughout his life attached to his vision of thepost-Civil War small-town New England of his childhood.His father, George Ives, was a bandmaster and the greatest influence on Ives's life.Ives was a musical prodigy who began composing at an early age, quickly picking up experimental styles. He showed great proficiency at the piano and organ. (Through young manhood, we worked Sundays as a church organist.)He studied music at Yale where his teacher was Horatio Parker, a then famous American who was trained in the music of German Romanticism.As a college student, Ives wrote music played for the inaugaration of President William McKinley.

After graduation from Yale, Ives became a millionare in the insurance industry where he pioneered many marketing techniques.He also became increasingly Progessive and politically active and actually proposed a constitutional amendment which would increase the power of the democracy in government decision-making.At the age of 32, he married Harmony Twitchell who, after his father, was the greatest influence on his life.

Ives wrote music in the midst of an extraordinarily busy life.Most people think of Ives as a trailblazer and iconoclast.He was indeed, but may of his earlier works, such as the Second and the Third Symphonies are easily accessible and have a feel of America about them similar to the feelings Aaron Copland evoked some three decades later.

Jan Swafford's biography movingly and eloquently describes the life of Charles Ives. This is a reflective, thoughtful discussion of Ives, his America, his music, and its reception. In addition to a thorough treatment of Ives' life and works, Swafford has three chapters which he titles "Entra'acets" which consist of broad-based reflections on Ives's music and its significance.Swafford's entire book is full of ideas which are intriguing in themselves.Of Ives's work, Swafford gives his most extended treatment to the Fourth Symphony (he sees Ives as essentially a symphonist) and to the Concord piano Sonata.But many works are discussed in detail which will be accessible to the non-musician.The book has copious and highly substantive footnotes and an extensive bibliography.

Ives's Americanness, humor, romanticism, modernism, optimism, and generosity ( Ives gave large amounts of money to his family and to musicians and music publications. He also paid for the publication of several of his important works when commercial publishers showed no interest in them.) come through well.Swafford sees Ives as the last American transcendentalist in the tradition of Emerson.At the conclusion of his book, Swafford writes of Ives (p. 434)

" [I]n his music and his life he embodied a genuine pluralism, a wholeness beneath diversity, that in itself is a beacon for democracy and its art.Aesthetically he is an alternative to Modernism, an exploratory road without the darkness and despair of the twentieth century.In spirit he handed us a baton and calls on us to carry it further.He suggests a way out of despair, but leaves it to us to find the route for ourselves.If we are alone with ourselves today, Ives speaks incomparably to that condition."

This book made me want to learn more about and to hear the music of Charles Ives.In its own right, it is a joy and an inspiration to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ives, the Bucky Fuller of American music!
Charlie Ives was a visionary, an idealist, and apparently a manic-depressive.Swafford tells his story in a compulsively readable fashion, and wins you over to the side of the irascible composer.Ives never made any money from his music, in fact he subsidized it with the fortune he made in the insurance industry.But he was generous in supporting the work of other sympathetic composers as well, including Henry Cowell.Ives was rare in that he was a genius not only in music, but in business.Ives made a fortune in developing the modern, mass-market life insurance industry.He wrote a tremendously influential pamphlet in 1910, "The Amount to Carry," which pioneered estate planning.Ives was an idealist and an altruist even as he became wealthy -- he convinced himself that insurance was socially progressive, and motivated his sales staff with his lofty vision of cooperation.Later in life, he developed this into a plan for a People's World Union!

Ives' great successes all came together, early in life, following his marriage.He composed on the side as he built his company, burning the candle at both ends.Swafford speculates that Ives was literally manic during those heroic years of the Teens, and that he subsequently crashed, enduring more depression than mania for the rest of his life.Interestingly, the Great War was such a blow to his idealism, he reacted physically, compounding his collapse.Ives retired very young, but rather than turn to composing, he found that he was unable.The rest of his life was devoted to trying to find an audience for the works of his glory years.I found the book most interesting here, in situating Ives in relation to the more well-known Modernists of his time -- Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Varese and the others.The irony is that while Ives' music came about independently, it was "popularized," only through association with the European revolutionaries, and so he was widely perceived as an imitator.The world was only ready for Charlie's music after the ground had been broken!The story of Cowell, Slonimsky, Carter, Gilman and Bernstein, who championed Ives over many years until he was finally recognized, is fascinating.

This is supremely enjoyable reading.Jan Swafford clearly loves Ives, and I found his account irresistable.

5-0 out of 5 stars A high-water mark in musical biographies.
Quite recently, I had the privilege of reading a copy of this book that was the personal copy of a musician who had been involved, in a rather unique way, in the centennial observation of Charlie Ives's birthday back in 1974. For reasons of geography, then musical interest, he "got to know" Charlie quite well, even if only 20 years after Charlie's death. I immediately ordered my own copy, while continuing to read the heavily-annotated copy of my musician friend. (It was rather vicarious pleasure, "looking over the shoulder" of this musician, to see what it was about the music, life and times of Charlie that fascinated him.)

In his early years, Ives was a one-man dynamo. Learning much of his music theory and practice from his father George Ives, who had been a very young (perhaps the youngest) Civil War band leader, and then from Horatio Parker at Yale University, he had more than a "thorough grounding" in the basics. However, unlike most American composers, particularly those of his and the following generation, he did not go to Europe for a post-grad internship with any known European composer, but simply set out on his own after matriculating from Yale. He went to New York City, employed as an insurance clerk for one full-time job, wrote music constantly for another full-time job, and had yet another career, had he wanted it, as organist and choir director for the Central Presbyterian Church in New York. During this period - leading up to his marriage in 1908 - he literally burned the candle at both ends. (Swafford goes on, later in the book, to posit why Charlie had this incredible burst of energy for the first 15 or 20 years of his adult life, but it's best that his reasons for this - and for Ives's shortened composing career - be left to you, the potential reader.)

Most anyone who knows anything about Ives knows that he became comfortably wealthy in the insurance industry, that during his active composing days little of his music was played by anyone, and that he was - literally and figuratively - burned out by the time he was only 40. For the remaining half of his life, much of it was spent editing, publishing and promoting his music and the music of others, including many friends, using the proceeds from his insurance success to underwrite projects for many composers who would have gone unnoted had it not been for him. Musical success - unlike business success - came too late in life for him to truly enjoy at least its artistic, if not financial, rewards. He was in his last years when Leonard Bernstein premiered his Second Symphony, and never lived to hear his masterpiece - his Fourth Symphony - premiered by Leopold Stokowski in 1965. Despite this, he was far from an unhappy man in his later years; philosophically resigned yet optimistic that his day might yet come would be the more accurate description.

Swafford's writing is simply wonderful. It tells the story of a true American iconoclast; an "original." The narrative flows beautifully without omitting anything of significance in Ives's life or about his music. (The book contains nearly 80 pages of endnotes, in which the musical marginalia are explained in exhaustive, but emminently readable, detail, to preserve the flow of the main narrative.) In parts, it is incredibly moving. I particularly enjoyed the extended "mating dance" of his courting of Harmony Twichell, who was to become his life-long helpmate (and who did live long enough to attend the Stokowski premiere of his masterpiece, as the guest of honor). Ives, ever the Victorian man if something else as a composer, would always refer to her, to third parties, as "Mrs. Ives." Yet their fifty years together could be a model for today's dysfunctional families. A beautiful chapter; one of the best in the book.

There's a curiously cryptic endnote that suggests a "what might have been." It is a fact that very little of Ives's music saw public performance before the early 30's, when Nicholas Slonimsky championed Ives and other "moderns." Yet another two decades were to pass until Bernstein premiered the Second Symphony. Yet, in 1910, while shopping in a music store in preparation for his final return to Vienna, where he would die in less than a year's time, Gustav Mahler purchased a fair copy - one of only two or three in existence - of Ives's Third Symphony. Swafford doesn't make that big a deal about this, but I do. I've always thought that Ives and Mahler, aside from being near-contemporaries, had more in common than they did in opposition. It is just conjecture - but truly fascinating conjecture - to think what might have happened had Mahler premiered Ives's Third Symphony at a time in the life of Ives when it really might have made a difference.

Just what was Ives, as a composer? Bernstein did him no favors by calling him "a primitive; a Grandma Moses of music" while at the same time championing his music. Back in those days, there were no labels like "atonalist," "serialist," "avant-gardist," "post-modernist," what-have-you, that we tend to use today to compartmentalize a composer. To me, Ives was, well... an iconoclast, an "original," and, if a label must be applied, our first "pre-post-modern." He was never imitated, at least not successfully, not only because he didn't have his own students as did other composers, but because by the time his music enjoyed sufficient - if not plentiful - performances, composers' agendas were different.

Fortunately audiences think differently, and do enjoy Charlie's music. And you will enjoy this book.

Bob Zeidler ... Read more

3. Charles Edward Ives and His Piano Sonata No. 2: "Concord, Mass., 1840-1860"
by Alice S. Reed
Paperback: 182 Pages (2006-07-06)
list price: US$18.50 -- used & new: US$18.50
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Asin: 141204474X
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The book chronicles the life and work of Charles Edward Ives, concentrating specifically on the good and misfortune that he experienced on his way to being known as the Father of American Music. ... Read more

4. Charles Ives and Aaron Copland - A Listener's Guide: Parallel Lives Series, No. 1 Their Lives and Their Music
by Daniel Felsenfeld
Paperback: 224 Pages (2004-11-01)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$4.79
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Asin: 1574670980
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Charles Ives and Aaron Copland are two composers whose works define what is now considered to be the "American sound" in classical music. Though they couldn’t have been more different in disposition, these two brilliant minds helped shape the musical consciousness of an entire era. Ives and Copland: A Listener’s Guide explains—in vivid, picturesque detail—why we still listen with admiration to the work of these men, and how their personalities and the era in which they lived affected their music.

The accompanying CD includes a sampling of their music from masterworks such as Appalachian Spring and The Unanswered Question to less common (yet every bit as worthwhile) gems. Guided listenings deliver a comprehensive account of exactly how the pieces work.

Though these men don’t lack for documentation, Ives and Copland: A Listener’s Guide is an easier, more intimate introduction to their work and lives for the layman or neophyte—or even for the musician—who wants to know more about these composers.Amazon.com Review
The title of this book is a misnomer: there are no parallels between these two composers' lives except that both were Americans and musical innovators. They were as different as they could be. Copland was an open-hearted, open-minded cosmopolitan New Yorker, who, actively engaged in human and social affairs, wrote mainly accessible music and books for the people. Ives was an embittered, idealistic, secretive recluse who wrote mainly inaccessible music and books for himself while selling insurance for a living. Yet, as Daniel Felsenfeld shows in this thoughtful, enlightening book, each in his own way laid the foundation for what came to be defined as the "American" sound and spirit in music. Convinced that a composer's work is inseparable from his life and personality, Felsenfeld divides his book into three inventively organized sections. Beginning with a brief biography and ending with a discussion of some of his subjects' striking characteristics, he shows how their training and experiences influenced their work and careers and then devotes the central part to analyzing their music. Guidance for listening and understanding is aided by a CD of their most familiar compositions in excellent performances.

Copland, son of Jewish Polish-Lithuanian immigrants, studied with Nadja Boulanger, but being surrounded by French music and culture only strengthened his resolve to become an "American" composer. Despite a brief flirtation with serialism, he was determined to close the gap between composer and audience, and he succeeded admirably: his colorful scores, often suffused with folk and jazz idioms, speak to everyone; he became not only one of the most popular, but most respected composers of his time. Ives, whose musician father opened his ears to unheard-of musical combinations, was born into a New England family steeped in transcendental philosophy. His music, eccentric and deliberately perverse, is an acquired taste. Any composer who feels impelled to write a long, linguistically and philosophically impenetrable essay explaining his "magnum opus" can hardly expect to capture a large audience. Felsenfeld makes the best possible case for it, but one senses admiration rather than love. The author's style is not always felicitous (Copland's teacher "feared that Ives' influence might improperly influence the talented young man"), but having obviously read all of Copland's popular and Ives' indigestible writings, he was perhaps improperly influenced himself. --Edith Eisler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars What's on the CD you ask...
Since a third of the book is dedicated to the discussion and dissection of Charles Ives' and Aaron Copland's compositions, here is a listing of the music on the accompanying BMG CD: 1) Copland: Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra with Harp and Piano; 2) Copland: Appalachian Spring; 3) Copland: El Salon Mexico; 4) Ives: The Unanswered Question; 5) Ives: "Memories"; 6) Ives: "General William Booth Enters Into Heaven"; and 7) Ives: Three Places in New England - II. "Putnam's Camp". The recording is dominated by Michael Tilson Thomas who appears as both conductor of the London and San Francisco Symphonies and as pianist on "Memories."Also on the disc are Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra (Appalachian Spring) and Eduardo Mata conducting the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (El Salon Mexico).

5-0 out of 5 stars introduction to the music with a CD
Brief biographies of the two premier American composers are followed by tutorials on their music focusing on better-known, widely-aclaimed pieces. The guide succeeds in making the music accessible without dumbing it down at all or trying to popularize it. Felsenfeld is himself a composer and a music writer bringing to the task not only compatibility with Ives and Copland, but also an educator's understanding of the reader's position in wanting to learn more about them and enhance appreciation of their music. With the book is the treat of a CD offering ample samplings of music, including Copland's complete "Appalachian Spring" and four pieces of Ives', who wrote shorter, intense works.
... Read more

5. 114 Songs by Charles Ives
by Charles Ives
 Paperback: 263 Pages (1933-10-01)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$38.50
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Asin: 0934009872
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6. Charles Ives and His World
Paperback: 464 Pages (1996-08-05)
list price: US$30.95 -- used & new: US$23.44
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Asin: 069101163X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This volume shows Charles Ives in the context of his world in a number of revealing ways. Five new essays examine Ives's relationships to European music and to American music, politics, business, and landscape. J. Peter Burkholder shows Ives as a composer well versed in four distinctive musical traditions who blended them in his mature music. Leon Botstein explores the paradox of how, in the works of Ives and Mahler, musical modernism emerges from profoundly antimodern sensibilities. David Michael Hertz reveals unsuspected parallels between one of Ives's most famous pieces, the Concord Piano Sonata, and the piano sonatas of Liszt and Scriabin. Michael Broyles sheds new light on Ives's political orientation and on his career in the insurance business, and Mark Tucker shows the importance for Ives of his vacations in the Adirondacks and the representation of that landscape in his music.

The remainder of the book presents documents that illuminate Ives's personal life. A selection of some sixty letters to and from Ives and his family, edited and annotated by Tom C. Owens, is the first substantial collection of Ives correspondence to be published. Two sections of reviews and longer profiles published during his lifetime highlight the important stages in the reception of Ives's music, from his early works through the premieres of his most important compositions to his elevation as an almost mythic figure with a reputation among some critics as America's greatest composer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Collection of Primary Sources
With most scholarly periodicals now digitized and searchable through JSTOR and Project Muse, collections like these risk becoming dinosaurs and--or rather, unnecessary. Not so with this collection. The articles are of course diverse and thought-provoking (especially when read alongside other Ives scholarship), especially cogent walk-through of Ives' un-summarizable political beliefs and how they play out in his wartime works. But where this collection really shines is in the excellent primary sources appended to the back of the collection, giving a more-or-less thorough-going account of Ives' contemporaneous reception and saving the casual researcher hours spent paging through musty old periodicals to find a single citation. The generous selections from Ives' letters whet the appetite as well and draw connections between Ives and the American musical avant-garde more effectively than secondary scholarship on the same topic. I picked this up in a used book store about a year ago, and while it shouldn't be your first Ives book, it is a valuable companion to the many Ives bios and studies.

5-0 out of 5 stars "[...] only an inventor knows how to borrow."
Beginning in 1990, Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY) has held an annual music festival celebrating the music and related cultural/aesthetic background of composers, with the festival "proceedings" published as a Festschrift volume. The consideration for a composer being celebrated would seem to be that the composer's works represent a measurable break with "the past," in terms of musical aesthetic. Only one of these composers has been American. It is fitting that this American should be Charles Ives. This volume is from the 1996 festival for the music and life of Ives. It nicely summarizes why it is that Ives was important to the development of a uniquely American musical aesthetic, and how that aesthetic was closely tied with the man's life in other respects.

The volume is in four unequal parts: Part I, ESSAYS (five in-depth pieces covering key aspects of Ives the composer, philospher and businessman and ethicist, filling nearly half the book), and briefer Parts II, III and IV, providing, respectively, LETTERS (to and from Ives), REVIEWS (of music and performances), and PROFILES (of Ives during his lifetime).

The essays cover distinct aspects but have some overarching themes:

[1.] Consistently (and persistently), Ives composed in four styles: American popular music, Protestant church music, "art" music in the European classical sense, and experimental music, frequently combining two or more of these styles in a work. Ives did not "progress" from the simple to the complex (as had earlier been put forth, before musicologists and critics could achieve perspective on his output), but always had each of these in his "composers' toolbox"; even at the end of his composing career, he remained grounded in European "art" music, and continued to call upon the vernacular music of his childhood while at the same time his music grew in depth and profundity of expression.

[2.] Ives's use of vernacular music, as nostalgia and as "writing music about music," and his creating a naturalistic sound stage by adding aural perspective to his scoring, were unique for their time, although they found application in the contemporaneous works of Gustav Mahler, quite by accident.

[3.] We cannot separate the composer from the philospher and/or the businessman without risk of arriving at an incomplete picture and failing to understand the music that is the principal surviving entity of his life's work. The fullest, most accurate picture emerges only when it becomes clear by what route his philosophical leanings reached their fullest flower, affecting both his musical and business lives, and how the fullest flower didn't really arrive until he redirected his business efforts and ethics, and married, with his wife providing the "quiet space" and the gentle encouragement for this fulfillment.

[4.] Ives developed a new musical aesthetic that was revolutionary in its break from the past, as represented by the example of Beethoven. It was his connection with the philosophy of Emerson, and resonances with Emerson's writings, that led him to this aesthetic, which reached its zenith in his monumental Concord Sonata.

Another theme, not an essay but clear from a complete read of the book, is that Ives - because he was a "private, spare-time" composer - was significantly ahead of his time and not really "discovered" and understood until years after his composing ceased. Most of his works were substantially completed prior to 1915, but performances and recognition were to wait another fifteen years or more, until the rest of the music world caught up to him, and early assessments of his works were badly flawed.

There is no better example of the initial misunderstanding of Ives's music and the time lag "until appreciation" than his Concord Sonata for solo piano, now properly considered one of the greatest 20th century keyboard works and the topic of both a major essay and a large portion of the critical reviews in this bood. A few paragraphs about the breadth and depth of commentary on this work can serve to represent the overall quality of the book.

Completed in 1915, the Concord didn't receive its premiere until a quarter-century later, in a landmark 1939 Town Hall/NY performance. In the meantime (in 1920), Ives self-published the sonata, as well as a companion volume, "Essays Before a Sonata," rationalizing his aesthetic for the work.

David Michael Hertz's essay ("Ives's Concord Sonata and the Texture of Music") makes clear that this was a revolutionary - and difficult - work because of the new ground it broke. Despite "borrowing" identifiable themes from Beethoven and vernacular music, and stylistic devices from Liszt, Chopin, Scriabin and Debussy (leading to my review title), the Concord represented a departure from the past not because it used and subsumed these materials but because of how the materials are organized and developed from the fragmentary to the complete (an aesthetic that Hertz calls "cumulative form"): it is only at the end of each movement of the work that a full statement of the thematic materials emerges, a reversal of the ordinary course of events in composing.

The reviews covering the period from Ives's publication of the Concord up to the work's premiere, performed by John Kirkpatrick, are almost universally dismissive; the score was incomprehensible to critics and fellow composers). It was only with Kirkpatrick's successful premiere of the Concord (an effort that took twelve years of study on his part) that composers and critics began to accept this work for the masterpiece that it is.

The rest of the volume is "of a piece" with this Concord Sonata example. This is a splendid critical overview of Ives, a fresh view, if you like, of "Ives reconsidered, after the dust has settled."

Those interested in a more "linear" biographical account of the life and works of Ives are recommended to read Jan Swafford's splendid "Charles Ives: A Life with Music" (also 1996).

Bob Zeidler

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must read"
For anyone interested in the life of Ives, in addition to his music, this book is a "must read." It is enlightening in it's approach to his personal life - which is so obvious in his music. There is an equitableblend of personal and musical background information by many notablecomposers, friends and business associates. The book has just enoughphotography to support context, not that Ives was a camera hog.

I had theopportunity and priveledge to attend the Bard Music Festival forperformances of some of my favorite Ives pieces. It was fantastic.

Ihighly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Ives legacy andespecially to any student of composition. ... Read more

7. Charles Ives Remembered: AN ORAL HISTORY (Music in American Life)
by Vivian Perlis
Paperback: 264 Pages (2002-07-24)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$17.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 025207078X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"Interweaving photographs, concert programs, scores, and drawings with the texts of more than fifty interviews with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, Charles Ives Remembered is a vivid memory portrait of an enigmatic American composer, told in the voices of the people who knew him best. Charles Ives (1874-1954) was publicly an insurance executive but privately a composer whose eccentric works and paradoxical life would intrigue, perplex, and inspire generations to come after him. Moving from Ives's childhood and years at Yale to his business and musical careers, the memories and reflections assembled in this Kinkeldey Award-winning volume provide a multifaceted and humanizing view of an American musical icon." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

This is a wonderful collection of interviews from people that were close to and new Charles Ives well. These interviews are well constructed and organized with a firm commitment from a brilliant author who knows her subject and is very enthused with a strong conviction regarding her craft and her subject. There is a wealth of information in this great book on one of (if not the) greatest American composer's and original talents ever. Mr. Ives Americanism shines through without question or denial at all. He was also an amazing business man, husband and father. Quite the original American character to say the very least. Ive's was composing atonal, multi-layered, multi-subject and chromatic music long before it became the new kid on the block and the in thing to do. He used many different meters (time signatures) combined at the same time as well. His vocal works are a masterpiece and should be enjoyed by music enthusiast's the world over. He was many years ahead of his time and a true pioneering trail blazer for American music as a true art form. This is a must read for all fans of great music, Charles Ives and just pure fantastic and classic literature. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars I can't overestimate the value of this priceless collection.
I have my days when I feel as if I've known Charlie Ives all my life. Of course, this is physically impossible: when Charlie died, in 1954, I was only fifteen, and I didn't hear any of his music at least until a few years later, in college. And even then, there wasn't all that much of it available on LP. But, over a period now approaching a half-century, my knowledge of, and admiration for, the man and his music grew steadily, if at first slowly.

With this steady accumulation of knowledge now at the point where I feel at ease ("comfortable in my skin," one might say) with providing some informed commentary, I suggest to readers interested in learning about Charlie, and his life and music, two recommendations. The first recommendation is that they read Jan Swafford's "Charles Ives: A Life with Music," one of the most superb books of its kind, totally sympathetic to the man but at the same time not close-minded to his "warts" and their possible causes.

The second is of course this book by Vivian Perlis, one of the most remarkable of its kind. It is one of the most frequently quoted resources by Ives scholars and writers, and obviously so.

The reason for its very existence is almost as fascinating as its contents. Perlis, in 1968, had been working with the Ives Collection, and, to quote her (in the Preface), "I became aware that there were [...] people still living who had known and worked with [Ives], and that an effort [...] be made to [...] preserve their memories of him."

Ives died in 1954, in his eighthieth year. At the time of the start of Perlis's project, then, those of his contemporaries still alive who knew him were already well in their nineties. Mrs. Ives (Harmony Twichel Ives) was still alive, but too ill to be interviewed. (She died on Good Friday, April 4, 1969.) Ives's business partner, Julian Myrick, was able to be interviewed, but he passed on in the course of the project. Charlie's piano tuner died on the day he was to be scheduled to be intereviewed. There were only three Yale classmates who survived long enough to be interviewd. Facts such as these explain the need on Perlis's part to "work against time" in her plan to capture as many direct recollections as possible in putting together this oral history.

Perlis's subjects included, of course, family members, as well as friends and neighbors, most of them from succeeding generations. (Charlie's brother, Moss Ives, had six children [five nephews of Charlie and Harmony, and one niece]; three of the nephews provide some of the best recollections. Sadly, Charlie's niece, Sarane [Sally], as well as his own daughter, Edith [Edie], died in 1956, only two years after him.) Perlis even interviewed Charlie's personal secretary, his barber, and the architect who was responsible for remodeling his West Redding, CT home. Each provides his or her glimpse of the man. That these glimpses are often reminiscent of blind men describing an elephant speaks to the complexities of an outwardly simple-appearing man.

A large portion of the book covers recollections of musicians who knew and worked with Charlie. While all were of the succeeding younger generation, they can lay claim to being the closest to Charles Ives the composer and musician. The list reads like a "Who's Who" of mid-20th century American music: Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Lehman Engel, Lou Harrison, Bernard Herrmann, John Kirkpatrick, Goddard Lieberson, Carl Ruggles and Nicolas Slonimsky among others.

Each of these musical friends achieved fame for his own contributions to the art. Each remembered Charlie in the greatest of detail and anecdote, often in terms that bordered on "reverential" and with individual insights which added substantially to a better understanding of his musical psyche.

With one exception: Elliott Carter. Carter, still alive and kicking (and composing) at age 94, was one of the very earliest beneficiaries of Charlie's intellectual and personal largesse. As a teen-age high schooler, he was often invited to Charlie's W. 74th Street townhouse, a comfortably short distance from Carnegie Hall, where they would take in concerts and then talk about what they heard. Given that these were Carter's "formative years," one might think (and some do) that Carter was the logical successor to Charlie. In my judgement, he wasn't; there are simply too many differences between the two, in terms of compositional aesthetic, for the relationship to be valid. And, of all the musical associates interviewed, only Carter, in what I feel to be mean-spirited commentary, was negative about Charlie's contributions to American music. (It is more than a little interesting that Perlis, in her Preface, found it necessary to state that of all the interviews, only Carter's, as published, differed substantially from the raw interview material. One can only wonder at just what was expurgated!)

I am indebted to J Scott Morrison, fellow music lover and Amazon.com reviewer, for bringing to my attention that, in addition to Elliott Carter, there is one other survivor to this day who can claim direct contact with Charlie. That other person is Paul Moor, who interviewed Charlie for the September 1948 edition of Harper's. Moor (now in his late 70s) was in Europe between about 1953 and 1979, and therefore "out of reach" (and likely off the radar screen) of Perlis. It is too bad that this understandable omission is nonetheless an omisson. Perhaps Moor's judgement would offset Carter's; perhaps not.

In searching for a comparable book about another composer, the closest I can come to Perlis's unquestioned masterpiece is Elizabeth Wilson's "Shostakovich: A Life Remembered." But, whereas reading first-hand accounts about Shostakovich's life can often be an exercise in pain, given the circumstances of that life, reading about Charlie's life only seems to bring me joy. I hope it does for you as well.

Bob Zeidler

5-0 out of 5 stars The Place To Start
This is the first book I read about Charles Ives, and I'm happy that it's still in print.If you are new to Charles Ives, I would suggest that you start here.If you have the funds, I also recommend you pick up Jan Swafford's excellant biography.
Why is this book the best place to start?The book is a compilation of thoughtful and revealing rememberances from Mr.Ives's close friends and his family, all personally interviewed by the author.We even get to hear what Mr.Ives's barber had to say about him!Perhaps most moving is the interview with Brewster, Mr.Ives's nephew.
This book is also chock full of photos and pictures of Mr.Ives's original manuscripts. ... Read more

8. The Charles Ives Tunebook, Second Edition
by Clayton W. Henderson
Hardcover: 424 Pages (2008-06-11)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$31.84
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Asin: 0253350905
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Since the celebration of his centennial in 1974, Charles Ives has become an iconic figure in the history of music; his name and compositions are widely recognized, and his influence has been felt throughout the world. One of the most striking features of Ives's music is his use of the borrowed melodies that pervade his scores. Ives drew extensively from a large historical repertoire, some of it little known today, including hymns, military and patriotic music, college and popular songs, instrumental music, and "classical" music models. By cataloging these sources and including musical examples of their incorporation into Ives's music, Clayton W. Henderson provides important insights into the composer's body of work. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Academics
This is a fabulous resource for anyone in academia. This is the quickest way to identify the borrowed tunes in Ives' music, and is a great, great toy for interested musicologists. I've been using this book for a term paper, but it's definitely one that I will keep on my shelf for the duration of my career. My professor brings it for "show-and-tell" each time he discusses Ives in one of his courses. It is definitely a good choice. ... Read more

9. Charles Ives & His Amer
by Rossiter Frank
Paperback: 448 Pages (1980-01-01)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$19.84
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Asin: 0393332942
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10. Charles Ives: A Research and Information Guide (Routledge Music Bibliographies)
by Gayle Sherwood Magee
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-04-20)
list price: US$150.00 -- used & new: US$135.27
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Asin: 0415994551
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This research guide provides detailed information on over one thousand publications and websites concerning the American composer Charles Ives. With informative annotations and nearly two hundred new entries, this greatly expanded, updated, and revised guide offers a key survey of the field for interested readers and experienced researchers alike. ... Read more

11. Music's Connecticut Yankee: An introduction to the life and music of Charles Ives
by Helen R Sive
 Hardcover: 141 Pages (1977)

Isbn: 0689305613
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Follows the life and discusses the music of the insurance executive who composed in his spare time music of such originality and variety that he ranks today as one of this country's greatest and most thoroughly American composers. ... Read more

12. Charles Ives Reconsidered (Music in American Life)
by Gayle Sherwood Magee
Paperback: 231 Pages (2010-06-29)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$24.97
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Asin: 0252077768
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Charles Ives Reconsidered re-examines a number of critical assumptions about the life and works of this significant American composer. Gayle Sherwood Magee offers the first large-scale rethinking of Ives's musical development based on the controversial revised chronology of his music. Using as a guide Ives's own dictum that "the fabric of existence weaves itself whole," Magee portrays Ives's life, career, and posthumous legacy against the backdrop of his musical and social environments from the Gilded Age to the present. Gayle Sherwood Magee is an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A New Look at Charles Ives
The American composer Charles Ives (1874 -- 1954) has achieved something of an iconic stature. As Gayle Sherwood Magee explains in the Introduction to her recent book, "Reinventing Charles Ives" (2008) the Ives legend runs along the following lines -- to paraphrase Magee.Ives was born in Danbury, Connecticut and received an unconventional early music training from his father George, a Civil War bandleader.As a student at Yale, Ives studied with Horatio Parker but was bored with Parker's conservative approach which was based solely upon the German classics.Upon graduating from Yale, Ives created a highly modernistic, advanced body of compositions while pursuing a highly successful career in insurance.Ives's work was virtually unknown and rejected for many years, as Ives lived in musical isolation.Ives virtually stopped composing in 1918.Beginning with his receipt of a Pulitzer Prize in 1947 for his Third Symphony followed by Leonard Bernstein's resurrection of Ives's Second Symphony in the early 1950, this eccentric, reclusive American composer began at last to gain the recognition he deserved for the forward looking, modern compositions of his early years.

Magee takes a fresh look at Ives and the legend. Magee is Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagna and the author of a research guide to Ives.Her book is part of an outstanding series of the University of Illinois Press called "Music in American Life".

Magee challenges the Ives legend in a number of ways.Most importantly, she questions the view that Ives stopped composing in 1918. She argues that Ives continued to revise his works continuously through the 1920s. She finds that many works thought to anticipate modernism were in fact revised from earlier more conservative versions to give them a modernistic spirit derived from then-contemporary compositions.In other words, Ives frequently revised his works to follow modernistic trends as opposed to himself pioneering modernism in American music.Some earlier scholars had gone further than Magee by accusing Ives of predating his manuscripts to make his compositions appear earlier than they were.Magee rejects this accusation.

Magee tends to downplay the importance of Ives's father George in Ives's early musical education. And she argues as well that Parker's influence and teaching exerted a much stronger influence on the composer than he was willing to acknowledge. Contrary to Ives's reputation as a recluse devoted solely to his art, Magee shows an Ives who, from his days at Yale, avidly sought to make his music popular and to gain public recognition. Ives, at least in his early years, was a substantially conservative composer.Magee maintains as well that Ives received throughout his life more recognition for his works than the legend of a neglected genius would have it. In her biography of Ives, Magee gives a portrait of a complicated persona "flawed, brilliant, naive, shrewd, insecure, compassionate, ambitious, deceitful, trusting, earnest human being -- who wove his life and his times into some truly remarkable compositions." (p.180)

Magee offers a thorough, provocative portrayal of Ives, his times, and his music.In many respects, her study is not as removed from the traditional view of Ives as may appear at first glance.The standard view of Ives is best expressed in Swafford's biography: "Charles Ives: A Life with Music."Thus Magee recognizes that in Ives's lifetime there were two basic schools of thought regarding American music: some people thought that the United States should produce a distinctively American musical style based upon folksongs, popular culture, gospel hymns and the like.Others thought that American music should develop by following the models of classical art music.Ives was clearly influenced by both schools, as exemplified by the figure of his father on the one hand and Horatio Parker on the other hand and sought to combine them in his work. Further, much of Ives' music was rejected as modernistic and barbarous early in Ives's career, as witnessed by the harsh reception of his violin sonatas which Magee's book discusses at length. And the role of the iconoclastic composer Henry Cowell and the subsequent role of pianist John Kirkpatrik in championing Ives, with the composer's assistance, is also part of prior biographies of Ives.

Magee gives close attention to a small number of Ives's important works rather than attempting to discuss his entire output. Her treatment of the four symphonies,the "Concord" piano sonata, the violin sonatas and of the late quarter-tone works were insightful.I have been listening to Ives's songs recently, and I learned a great deal from Magee's treatment of Ives's varied song output from the beginning of his career to the end. Ives is frequently undervalued as a song composer.Magee's account of Ives draws heavily from the "Memos" he wrote in the 1930's and from his other voluminous writings. Her uses of these sources helped in my understanding of Ives.In the final section of her book, "Ives Today, Ives Tormorrow" Magee offers a useful division of Ives's work into three periods, the first extending from 1886 -- 1902, the second from 1907-1914, and the third from 1919-1929. I learned a great deal about Ives's compositional activities during each of these periods from Magee.

Even though it challenges some of the legends that have been built up around Ives -- legends that Ives himself substantially encouraged and promoted -- Magee's book cannot be viewed as a debunking. For all his self-promotion, Ives emerges as a three-dimensional, complex person in this study. More important, Ives's compositional achievement permeates this study of the details of his life. Magee's study made me want to return to and to revisit the works of this great American composer.

Robin Friedman

3-0 out of 5 stars Unsettling portrait of an American not-so-original
I can think of no composer who has been damaged by musicologists in the past few years as much as Charles Ives, and I was waiting eagerly for Gayle Sherwood Magee's new book, Charles Ives Reconsidered, to set the record straight. At last, I thought, someone was going to speak up for him with the weight of scholarship behind her.

Ives's stock crashed in 1987, when Maynard Solomon published a paper in The Journal of the American Musicological Society, titled "Charles Ives: Some Questions of Veracity," in which he charged that Ives deliberately backdated his scores to appear more of a musical innovator than he actually was. Solomon took as his starting point Elliott Carter's notorious, damning review of the Concord Sonata, which suggested that Ives might not be a true prophet.

"The fuss that critics make about Ives's innovations is, I think, exaggerated," Carter wrote, "for he has rewritten his works so many times, adding dissonances and polyrhythms, that it is probably impossible to tell just at what date the works assumed the surprising form we know now. The accepted dates of publication are most likely those of the compositions in their final state."

In later interviews, Carter recalled visiting Ives in his home in the late 1920s and watching him revise his scores to, in his phrase, jack up the level of dissonance. But Carter never accused Ives of dishonesty. In his review of the Concord, he specifically faults critics. It was up to Solomon to take the next step, convicting Ives of a "systematic pattern of falsification," backdating his scores and lying about just when his innovations appeared.

The cry of protest from Ives specialists was immediate and loud, but like the truth about Sarah Palin and the bridge to nowhere, it could not stamp out the growing narrative. Almost every CD of Ives's music released in the decade after Solomon's article appeared contained, in its program notes, a reference to the chronology scandal, inevitably followed by a lame comment that it really didn't matter. (Carter made the same point in his review, but that part of the controversy seemed to disappear, and in any event, saying that the chronology doesn't matter is just a polite way of admitting that Solomon was right. If he was wrong, we wouldn't need irrelevance as a fallback position.)

Scholars such as Peter Burkholder and Philip Lambert defended Ives's integrity and originality, but only Gayle Sherwood Magee, a doctoral candidate at Yale (now teaching at the University of Illinois), answered Solomon's challenge directly. Focusing on Ives's choral music, she dated the paper he used, analyzed his handwriting, and found, according to Ives's biographer Jan Swafford, that Ives's own dates were more accurate than not, and indeed, some pieces were written later than Ives's dating indicates. Solomon's systematic pattern of falsification, Swafford wrote, was neither systematic, or a pattern, nor false.

So, when I learned Sherwood Magee was writing a book on Ives, I was excited. Here, at last, would be the definitive story of Ives's career, grounded on the indisputable, revised chronology of his music developed both by Sherwood Magee herself and by James Sinclair at Yale University. It would be a vindication. Well, it's a vindication all right -- mostly of Solomon and Carter.

While Sherwood Magee does not believe that Ives backdated his scores, as Solomon contends, she does acknowledge that many of his major works evolved over a period of years, even decades, and, in the end, he usually gave the years in which he began a piece as the date of composition. Echoing Carter's epistemological doubt, she concludes on the last page of her text that "many of his most important works cut across the arc of his compositional life in complex and probably unknowable ways."

Of course, if the claims for Ives's precedence had never been made, the debunking would not have been necessary, and his honesty would never have been questioned. In Sherwood Magee's telling, the source of the claim -- and of all the subsequent trouble -- is Henry Cowell. It was Cowell who, in his early writing about Ives in the 1930s, concocted what Ives's biographer Frank Rossiter called the Ives Legend, which described a visionary working in isolation, indifferent to success, inventing the language of modernism years ahead of his European contemporaries. Cowell had an agenda, Sherwood Magee writes: he wanted to establish American precedence in 20th century music, and he found a patriarchal figure in Charles Ives. To cleanse the stain of European influence from Ives' résumé, Cowell made George Ives into the central influence of young Charlie's life and expunged from the record the indispensable lessons Ives learned from of Horatio Parker, his genial, German-trained music professor at Yale.

Ives seemed happy to go along with the charade. According to Sherwood Magee, he sensed that throwing in his lot with the up-and-coming modernists would lead to recognition and acceptance in the larger community of musicians, and he fashioned his autobiographical Memos of the early 1930s to suit Cowell's purposes. First, he gives the earliest possible dates to his major compositions. Second, he denigrates Parker's contribution to his development and even concocts a homey little parable to praise his father's open-minded experimentalism at the expense of his professor's myopic conservatism: Parker told him that he there was no excuse for an unresolved dissonance at the end of one of his songs, Ives recalled, and when he related the comment to his father, George replied that not every dissonance has to resolve, any more than every horse should have its tail bobbed in response to the prevailingfashion.

As Sherwood Magee points out, Ives did not begin taking classes with Parker until two years after his father died. The story is impossible.

Ives thus comes off as an ingrate, an opportunist, and yes, a prevaricator. He also appears as a hypochondriac, a misogynist, a xenophobe (though largely by association), and oddly passive. In a concise 180 pages, Sherwood Magee succeeds better than any other writer I know in re-creating the musical and social atmosphere Ives breathed, but the composer himself almost disappears under the pressure of his influences. Everything he does seems to be a reaction to something else. One can understand it in the early chapters, when, as a young musician finding his place in the world, Ives emulates his heroes and tries on a succession of professional hats, but his extraordinary burst of creativity in the decade after 1907 remains unaccounted for. During these years, Ives was free to compose the music he wanted. He had given up the life of a professional organist for the security of the insurance business, and he did not have to write for the American market. No younger composers like Henry Cowell were recasting him in their own image.

And yet Sherwood Magee says only that this new phase, which she dubs "nationalist-militarist," was at some level a questioning of the European romantic tradition, and that Ives's renewed interest in quoting hymn tunes might have grown from his wife's religiosity. (Ives married Harmony Twichell in 1908.) Both theories draw a positive musical progression out of a negative space.

Charles Ives certainly did not spring from the head of his father as a fully formed innovator. It is now clear his deepest, most effective work grew from years of searching and revision. The composer absorbed many influences along the way. Sherwood Magee names them all as they go by, but none of them wrote the Concord Sonata, and none of them could have. The essence the Ives phenomenon remains a mystery, as perhaps it must: no biography successfully accounts for genius. It is just there, a given amid the mundane, external details of the subject's time, place, and personal failings. Mozart and Brahms were virtuosos by age ten, master composers in their early twenties. Such rapid blossoming of talent defies social and psychological explanation.

Sherwood Magee winds up this short, depressing ride with a carnival psychic's cold-reading of Ives's character. He was, she says, "a flawed, brilliant, naïve, shrewd, insecure, compassionate, ambitious, deceitful, trusting human being." In short, a mess, but really not so different from the rest of us. The challenge of Ives studies in the future, she says, will be to appreciate the composer from this "unvarnished perspective."

She can count me out. After years of keeping up with the revisionism, I'm too exhausted to do much more than put on a CD of the Second String Quartet and wonder, yet again, at the miracle of that luminous finale. ... Read more

13. What Charlie Heard: The Story of the American Composer Charles Ives
by Mordicai Gerstein
 Hardcover: Pages (2004-03)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$23.35
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Asin: 1591122783
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The extraordinary story of the composer Charles Ives.

"Sometimes little Charlie lay in his crib just listening. He heard
his mother’s long dress as she moved around his room. He heard big clocks and little clocks. He heard wagons and horse hooves. He heard dogs and crickets and the church bell next door."

Charlie listened all through his boyhood, and as he grew into a man, he found he wanted to re-create in music the sounds that he heard every day. But others couldn’t hear what Charlie heard. They didn’t hear it as music – only as noise. In this daring and original book, Mordicai Gerstein graphically translates the audible into the visible – filling his pictures with noise – to tell the story of Charles Ives (1874–1954), a great musical innovator who let neither criticism nor public scorn keep him from composing music that expressed all that he heard in the world. He was finally recognized with a Pulitzer Prize in 1947.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Glorious Noise
I bought this book four years ago for my new-born granddaughter on the strength of the review of my Amazon friend and Ives scholar, the late Bob Zeidler. Through moves and the intervening few years, My daughter and her husband kept the book.On a recent visit, this grandfather was surprised to learn that it had become a favorite.My graddaughter knows the story."Who is that", I ask, pointing to a picture. "Charlie", she says. "And what's Charlie's wife's name?" "Harmony" she replies.

The great American composer, Charles Ives (1874 -- 1954) filled the air with what author Mordicai Gerstein calls that "mysterious, invisible, magical stuff -- music."I remember from my own childhood books on Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and the like.But a children's book on Charles Ives is a welcome rarity.Gerstein makes it succeed.

Ives was the son of a Civil War musician and band leader in Danbury, Connecticut.The precocious child absorbed his father's love for and wayward way with music -- the glorious noise -- as young Charlie used the piano, organ, and trumpet to capture the sounds and ideas that filled his life.Charlie attended Yale, married, and became a successful insurance executive. He kept composing increasingly audacious music, including songs, piano sonatas, violin sonatas,short orchestral pieces,and symphonies.But when his work was played, it was met with bewilderment and mockery.Ives stopped composing in mid-life.In his latter years, he saw his music attain recognition, as he received a Pulitzer Prize in 1947 for his Third Symphony. Gerstein's book recounts Charles Ives's reaction to the premiere of his Second Symphony in 1951, when the composer was 77.Many musicians began to champion other music of Ives, including his difficult "Concord" sonata for piano.

"If only they would open their ears they might open their hearts" Charlie says to Harmony in Gerstein's book.Gerstein captures the bravado and pace of early 20th Century America as well as the spirit of Ives's music, with its combination of American traditionalism and wild iconoclasm.Gerstein makes music a joyful experience.Gerstein captures the influence of revival meetings on young Charlie."They didn't have beautiful voices, but they made beautiful music", is Gertstein's apt and important for young readers characterization of the influence of the hymn singing Charlie heard.

Gerstein based his book on Jan Swafford's biography of Charles Ives, "Charles Ives: A Life with Music" and on his own listening. A page at the end of the story offers a summary of Ives's work to parents who themselves might be encountering Ives for the first time in reading this book to a child. This book delightfully introduces young children to a great American composer.More importantly, it may help "open their ears and their hearts" to the world of music.

Robin Friedman

5-0 out of 5 stars Are Your Ears Wide Open?
BONG! KABLAM! squeak. Tick-Tock. Splash. VROOM!Does this sound like music to you?Maybe your ears aren't wide open like Charlie's were.He was born that way.

Charlie Ives was a famous music composer.His talent came from his father who played a trumpet out the window just to announce Charlie's birth.Charlie experimented with mixing noises to make a different kind of music.When he was a little boy, he played the piano to make the sounds of a huge thunderstorm.After he grew up, he tried to make his music sound like the noises he heard all around him.He thought his music was wonderful but other people despised it and thought it was weird.We listened to it and found it to be inspiring.

Read this book to learn more about a man who didn't let other people change his mind about his music.Recommended formusic lovers of all ages who understand that ruckus can be musical and who would be happy with wide open ears like Charlie's.

5-0 out of 5 stars "If I had my own son..."
(sung to the melody of "If I were a rich man...")

Why, I'd be reading him this splendid illustrated children's book!

What on earth is an heirless geezer like me doing, reviewing a children's book? Well, that's a reasonable question. The only sensible answer that I can come up with is that I'm simply somewhere in the middle of my second childhood, "up to my eyeballs in Ives."

Mordicai Gerstein prefaces this enjoyable children's book with the statement "Everything I know about Charles Ives I learned from listening to his music, and from my dear friend, Jan Swafford, whose epic biography, 'Charles Ives: A Life with Music,' was the main source and inspiration for this book." And so it is that Jan Swafford has also been the main source and inspiration for my own second childhood with Charlie Ives. I can actually date my "second childhood"study of the life and music of Charlie to the time I was reading a borrowed copy of his Ives biography while awaiting my own copy.

The narrative text of "What Charlie Heard" (all accurate, and admirably complete, by the way) is quite brief; probably not much more than a few hundred words in total. (While no expert on the matter, I believe that the narrative can be read by a child of 7 or 8. In fact, I provided a copy of this book to a friend's son for his 8th birthday. But I wouldn't consider him "average" by any definition; very precocious would be more like it. Hopefully he didn't find it to be boring.)

Is it possible that a book so brief in its narrative text can actually "tell" the story about Charlie Ives and his life with music, with all of its "ups" and "downs"? Sure it can! All one needs to do is to pay heed to the remarkable illustrations, and to take the time necessary for pulling out all of the clues hidden in these illustrations. And, while it isn't necessarily possible to figure out from the narrative and the illustrations just what Charlie Ives's music sounds like, the youthful reader should certainly come away with the expectation that the music sounds "different," given how it was that pretty much everything in Charlie's life and environment found its way into his music in one form or another. And that may be "half the battle," as they say, toward an early appreciation of America's greatest composer.

I know-rather directly-that Jan Swafford admires Mordicai Gerstein's book on Ives as much as Gerstein admires Swafford's. So I just had to take a look at it. (I never did have an opportunity to see the earlier copy that had been a birthday present; it was a "drop ship.") Now I've got my own copy, I've seen and read it, and I'm impressed. But what next?

Well, given the circumstances, perhaps I'll just read this really neat book to my cat. He's about the right age in "human years": between 7 and 8 as I write this. And he's listened to Charlie's music along with me, without raising a noticeable fuss.

And his name happens to be Charlie. And, no, it's no accident. :-)

Bob Zeidler

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfull Book
This a great book filled with lot's of noise but if you open your ears lide Charlie did you'll hear not only noise but music.
Charlie Ive's is a boy who hears everything as music wether it's the sirens of a firetruck driving by or the drip drop of rain on the ground. Charlie loved music and so did his father his father was a conducter when he would conduct a band Charlie would make noise. charlie grew up and wrote his own music. When charlie would play it some people got mad and said this is not music this is noise. Charlie would say if you open your ears you will hear what I hear.
I'm not going to spoil the rest of the book for you. But maybe if you open your ears you'll hear what Charlie heard, not noise, but music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Introduction and Explanation
I once heard an organist describe Charles Ives "America" in this way--a small town on the Fourth of July, where every band wants to perform in the parade, so they all agree to play the one song they know: 'America.'But they all play it differently. Ives's arrangment depicts the infinite complexity of all the bands' variations.This book not only show where he might have gotten an inspiration for this piece, but for all his other music also.
However, I think the most eloquent illustration is what Charlie heard when he got the news that his father had died.The depiction of total silence is a stark and effective contrast to the cacaphony of the rest of the book.This book can be used to introduce Ives' music to those unfamiliar with it, to explain it to those who don't understand it, or to increase the enjoyment of someone who already appreciates it. ... Read more

14. The Music of Charles Ives (Composers of the Twentieth Century Serie)
by Philip Lambert
Paperback: 256 Pages (1997-08-11)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$22.47
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Asin: 0300105347
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With this innovative analysis of the music of Charles Ives, Philip Lambert fills a significant gap in the literature on one of America's most important composers. Lambert portrays Ives as a composer of great diversity and complexity who nevertheless held to a single artistic vision. "Philip Lambert's book is a fine study, well organized, meticulously executed, comprehensive, fascinating, and engagingly written."-Richard Parks "An excellent book for theoreticians and serious students of musical structure and analysis."-Choice ... Read more

15. Charles Ives and the Classical Tradition
Paperback: 200 Pages (1996-05-11)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$30.78
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Asin: 0300105274
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Although Charles Ives has long been viewed as the quintessential American composer, he was also closely linked to the European classical tradition, say the Ives scholars in this book. Contributors explore the influences on Ives of his musical predecessors and the parallels between Ives and his European contemporaries, revealing him as culturally unique and yet reliant on the classical tradition for aesthetic philosophy and musical techniques. "A stimulating and important contribution to Ives scholarship and to the understanding of twentieth-century music."-Larry Starr, University of Washington "A valuable addition to Ives scholarship."-Library Journal "Illuminates Ive's music by comparing it with that of other composers in Europe and the U.S. Begins with essays that examine the influences of his musical predecessors, and concludes with essays that find parallels between Ives and European contemporaries including Mahler, Schoenberg, Berg, and Stravinsky."-Reference & Research Book News "Each of the essays in Charles Ives is provided with copious and detailed notes. A general index covers the entire book. This work is essential reading for scholars interested in Ives and his music."-Kathryn Bumpass, Notes ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Charles Ives: The Great Anticipator.
Igor Stravinsky, late in life, and in an unusually rare moment of candor for him, conceded that Charles Ives had been "The Great Anticipator." Unfortunately for Ives, this bout of candor came eight years after he died. And, upon Arnold Schoenberg's death In 1953 (six months before Ives did), his widowcame upon a remarkable statement by her husband, written nearly a decade earlier: [quote]

There is a great Man living in this Country - a composer.
He has solved the problem of how to preserve one's self-esteem.
He responds to negligence by contempt.
He is not forced to accept praise or blame.
His name is Ives. [unquote]

That these two composers, contemporaries of Ives, took so long to pay proper tribute is as much a result of Ives having chosen to be a "private" composer over the two important decades of his composing life (1902 - 1922) as it was their own agendas and efforts. Before 1922, nothing of significance that Ives had written saw public performance subsequent to his 1902 cantata, "The Celestial Country." And nothing of significance came from his pen after those two decades; he spent the balance of his life editing his works and supporting the efforts of other American composers.

However, beginning in the 1930s, Ives's works slowly began to see public performance, and the pace of performance did pick up in the years remaining to him. And what concert-goers, and fellow composers, began to hear was a bewildering variety of musics, at least some of which reminded them of works not only by Schoenberg and Stravinsky but by Debussy, Bartók, Scriabin, Copland and a host of other "moderns." And on his death in 1954, at which time Harmony Ives placed his works in public trust, with John Kirkpatrick as the executor, the floodgates began to open on what it was that Ives had accomplished, not least of which was to anticipate virtually every significant stylistic movement in 20th-century music.

With the 50th anniversary of Ives's death just days away (May 19, 2004) as I write this, we now have a much better picture of "Ives the anticipator." And, as well, "Ives the protean American extender of the classical tradition." And this book, edited by two of the most knowledgeable Ives scholars, is as fine an effort as I've seen at putting Ives in proper historical perspective. It is the benchmark for the comparative study of Ives's compositional aesthetic, and I don't expect that it will be soon surpassed in this respect.

The book is in two unequal parts (following an introduction by J. Peter Burkholder). The first third of the book, entitled "Predecessors," describes Ives's early musical education, by both his father and Horatio Parker. The three essays in this section cover his background in, and familiarity with, the music of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Franck, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Reger, as well as those who, like Parker, made up the preceding "New England School": George Chadwick, Frederick Shepherd Converse, Daniel Gregory Mason and John Knowles Paine. Sandwiched between the European and New England School essays is a superb one by Geoffrey Block (co-editor along with Burkholder) entitled "The 'Sounds That Beethoven Didn't Have'," showing how Ives both borrowed from and built upon Beethoven in writing his culminating keyboard masterpiece, the "Concord" Sonata. This essay cannot but help those who are befuddled by this thorny work.

The balance of the book is given over to comparisons of Ives with his European contemporaries. The first is a reprint of Robert P. Morgan's groundbreaking 1978 essay, "Ives and Mahler: Mutual Responses at the End of an Era." While this essay is available on the internet in Adobe pdf form, its inclusion here is most welcome and appropriate. There is so much commonality in the compositional aesthetics of these two (incorporation of "vernacular" music, use of polyrhythms, providing for "near" and "far" sound fields) that it is surprising that matters took as long as they did to reach this stage (although Elliott Carter, some years earlier, had pointed the way, seemingly the first to do so).

"Ives, Schoenberg, and the Musical Ideal" sets out not only the similarities between Ives's usage of the terms "manner and substance" and Schoenberg's of "style and idea" (and their commonality in philosophical thought traceable back to Kant), but also their shared admiration of Brahms. That Ives wrote atonally and experimented with tone rows in advance of Schoenberg is an interesting aside, but the "substance" (or "idea"), if you will, is that both developed new aesthetics of some similarity in expression and much commonality in background.

"Ives and Stravinsky: Two Angles on 'the German Stem'" is, for me, the most fascinating essay in the book. Ives wrote in bitonality some years before "Petroushka" and had been accused of "borrowing" ideas from "The Rite of Spring" well before the true facts emerged. But ultimately more interesting are the parallels between the two in terms of their musical educations and usage of source materials, and their inveterate editing of existing works. Of course, their motivations for doing so differed: While Ives was editing largely to achieve performance, Stravinsky was forever "scrubbing his works clean" of earlier influences.

When study began on Ives's manuscripts (now complete, thanks to James Sinclair's "A Descriptive Catalog of the Music of Charles Ives"), a treasure trove of "anticipations" - atonality, tone rows, bitonality, polyrhythms, collage, impressionism, minimalism, aleatorism and virtually every other "ism" - was found. While this book does not cover everything, the essays on Ives and Schoenberg and Ives and Stravinsky are worth the price of admission. But I do wish that the editors had included contributions on Ives and Debussy and Ives and Bartók (despite Burkholder's apology for not having done so in the Introduction). A very minor cavil for an otherwise remarkable collection of essays.

Bob Zeidler ... Read more

16. All Made of Tunes: Charles Ives and the Uses of Musical Borrowing
by Professor J. Peter Burkholder
Paperback: 568 Pages (2004-08-11)
list price: US$52.00 -- used & new: US$52.00
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Asin: 0300102127
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"An extremely important and gracefully written book on a significant and controversial topic. It is the most thoroughgoing study of Ives's compositional procedures that has yet been attempted."-Larry Starr, author of A Union of Diversities: Style in the Music of Charles Ives "A unique in-depth study of Ives's works, the most panoramic view of the music ever written, based on a new and convincing perspective."-H. Wiley Hitchcock, City University of New York "A unique, pathbreaking, and utterly convincing study of Ives's music."-David Nicholls, BBC Music Magazine "A well-balanced view of Ives's music...[A] pathbreaking study."-David Nicholls, Times Literary Supplement "This book should be in the library of every scholar with a serious interest in Ives's music...Burkholder's writing throughout ...is refreshingly clear, and his ability to organize vast amounts of detail into coherent and logical sequences is one of the greatest strengths of the book, and particularly appropriate to its subject."-Kathryn Bumpass, Notes "The book is well stocked with music examples and tables, enabling it to be used as a reference work, and has almost 100 pages of notes and bibliography.It abundantly fulfils its promise 'to help us hear the music better' and enriches our experience of Ives in a way that is totally sympathetic to the man and his music."-Peter Dickinson, Music & Letters "Burkholder's remarkable book succeeds in creating a different composite portrait of the musical consciousness of a great composer."-Judith Tick, American Music Winner of the Choice 1996 Outstanding Academic Book Award ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely important book about Ives
J. Peter Burkholder's book "All Made of Tunes" is one of the most important books about Ives's music.Burkholder's book exhaustively surveys Ives's music, identifying many ways in whichIves borrowed existing tunes (hymns, popular tunes, patriotic tunes, etc).There are many musical examples that support Burkholder's arguments, and the book also has one of the best bibliographies on Ives out there.For anyone with some musical training who's interested in how Ives borrowed tunes, this book is essential. ... Read more

17. Charles E.Ives: Discography
by Richard Warren
 Hardcover: 136 Pages (1978-10)
-- used & new: US$188.08
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Asin: 0313202567
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18. A Union of Diversities: Style in the Music of Charles Ives
by Larry Starr
 Hardcover: 224 Pages (1992-03)
list price: US$38.00 -- used & new: US$1.89
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Asin: 0028724658
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19. Charles Edward Ives, 1874-1954: A Bibliography of His Music
by Dominique De Lerma
Hardcover: Pages (1970)
-- used & new: US$273.78
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Asin: 0873380576
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20. The Third Symphony of Charles Ives (Cms Sourcebooks in American Music)
by Mark Zobel
Paperback: 146 Pages (2009-03-02)
list price: US$36.00 -- used & new: US$29.01
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Asin: 157647142X
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Boyhood in a small Connecticut town, the imprint of a free-thinking father, a formal music education at Yale University, a lucrative career as a New York City insurance executive, and a personal philosophy balancing individuality and idealism: these are the conditions that formed and informed the controversial music of Charles Ives. His works were rescued from obscurity--in many instances, long after their creation--and introduced to the concert world. For some time the accomplishments of this Yankee renegade have been recognized as central to the American musical experience. His Third Symphony, conceived early in the twentieth century and only given its premiere in 1946, was identified by the composer himself as a pivotal effort in his compositional odyssey and, perhaps ironically, earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 1947.

In this study Dr. Zobel reviews the complicated narrative of the Symphony's composition, explains why Ives considered it a turning point between the "old ways" and the "new ways," explores the structural implications of its camp-meeting program and the sophisticated manipulation of hymn tunes in its fabric, and places it in the context of Ives's idiosyncratic worldview. In the process he interprets the timing of its first public performance as a means to appreciate evolving attitudes toward modernism in the American musical establishment. The text is enhanced by a sampling of critical commentary dating from the past sixty years and a later one with these details of Ives's original conception restored. ... Read more

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