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Thread: Charles Ives Orchestral Works

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    Default Charles Ives Orchestral Works

    Can I please get some suggestions as to a few good introductions to this composer’s orchestral works? Pieces and performers please. Appreciate you.

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    The 2nd and 3rd symphonies, Three Places In New England, Unanswered Question, Central Park In the Dark, Concord Sonata are all worth investigating.

    A lot of people like Bernstein with Ives; I prefer Howard Hanson.

    There's a good collection on Mercury I'd recommend to a newcomer that includes similar compositions by composers aligned with narrative Ives: https://www.amazon.com/Hanson-Conduc...ds=Ives+Hanson

    The "other" Ives, the dissonant, atonal version, is less accessible to newcomers. Any adventurer may want to try out the 4th symphony. It is so complex it requires multiple directors.
    Last edited by larold; Jun-14-2018 at 15:09.

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    The 2nd symphony in the critical edition. Well played and recorded by Schermerhorn. Then go from there. He's original to be sure, but somehow never reaches my heart. 51qWU8LSl7L._SS500_PIPJStripe-Robin-Large-V2,TopLeft,0,0.jpg

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    Michael Tilson Thomas has a couple of wonderful recordings of Ives. There is a Sony Classical recording of the Second and Third Symphonies from 1991 that is quite good, and an RCA recording called "An American Journey" from 2002 that is excellent. The latter album includes this brief gem of a piece:


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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    This was the one I went for after sampling some of his music - with having all the symphonies together you get a chronological idea of what Ives was about. Sadly, this set is not as cheap as it was, but I recommend it if you see it on offer.


    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    Thanks all for sending me in the right direction. I will say how much of my newfound fun and gratitude stems from your input and experience... Colin M

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    If you want to stretch out a little, Ingo Metzmacher has an Ives album with mostly orchestral but also a few vocal pieces. Metzmacher lets his musicians go nuts, and I think Ives would have been happy with how it came out.

    CD_Portrait_of_Ives_Metzmacher.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    If you want to stretch out a little, Ingo Metzmacher has an Ives album with mostly orchestral but also a few vocal pieces. Metzmacher lets his musicians go nuts, and I think Ives would have been happy with how it came out.

    CD_Portrait_of_Ives_Metzmacher.jpg
    Thanks for this. I think I will try it right now I feel so New to this music despite my age I have kept close to orchestras something familiar violin on the right and drums way in back. I want to learn the subtleties of the orchestra first of all it is such a beautiful sound and the 1900s and late 1800s keep calling

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    Ives is truly interesting. One thing about him that works to your benefit is that he was not highly prolific, so there's not that much music to explore. Which means, essentially, that you can sample all of Ives in a relatively short time.

    Good suggestions already abound.

    My first Ives was something titled (by Ives himself, I believe) Holidays Symphony, which I discovered on a whim purchase on an old Turnabout vinyl LP featuring the Dallas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Donald Johanos.

    Ives.jpg

    It features four tone poems by Ives, all related to American holidays: "Washington's Birthday", "Decoration Day", "The Fourth of July", and "Thanksgiving and Forefathers' Day". These were written from 1897 to 1913 and correspond to the seasons. I can think of no better introduction to the music of Charles Ives than the New England Holidays, and I heartily recommend Donald Johanos's recording.

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    Senior Member shirime's Avatar
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    Robert Browning Overture is probably one of the other orchestral works I would quickly add to Three Places in New England as being a great introduction and I guess even a kind of overview of his orchestral music neatly packed into a single composition.

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    I recommend the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's A Set of Pieces CD from Deutsche Grammophon. In addition to the title piece, it includes the 3rd Symphony, Three Places In New England, Unanswered Question which other posts have mentioned. I like the quality of the performance and recording, and think it's a great sampling of Ives' work and captures the spirit of his music well - especially remarkable considering this is an orchestra that does not use a conductor.
    Last edited by Thomyum2; Jun-15-2018 at 16:20.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    I love Ives music, I really do.

    Central Park in the dark
    Symphony no 2
    Concord Sonata

    Plus The Universe Symphony (even though it was incomplete), is up there with Scriabin's Mysterium and Sorabji's Jami Symphony!

    Are all amazing compositions!
    Theatre, a forum for public debate, an arena for cathartic spectacle and somewhere for vain bitchy people to show off in front of big crowds!

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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    This was the one I went for after sampling some of his music - with having all the symphonies together you get a chronological idea of what Ives was about. Sadly, this set is not as cheap as it was, but I recommend it if you see it on offer.


    Just recieved symphony number 1 and 4 by Tillson in between solo hymns that both soggest and speak to Symphony Number 4. I love this! Colin M. Thank you for point the way
    Last edited by Colin M; Jun-19-2018 at 00:28.

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