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Charles Ives

The paradox of Charles Ives

“Viewed from just about any perspective, Charles Ives represents a tangle of paradoxes, and his reception has been consistently fraught. For many, he stands as the father of musical composition in the United States, yet he is by no means a frequently programmed composer today. In fact, readers of this review might know his name without ever having heard his music.”

Ives is one of the most astounding composers in history. But his music is not easy to listen to, and takes a while to get into.

via The paradox of Charles Ives | TLS.

Jeremy Denk Praises Charles Ives

Jeremy Denk has in interesting article about Charles Ives in the New York Review of Books. Disguised as a review of a new biography of the composer – Mad Music: Charles Ives, the Nostalgic Rebel, by Stephen Budiansky (, Amazon UK) – Denk addresses much of the criticism of Ives’ music. In particular, he points […]

CD Review: Two Recordings of Charles Ives’ Concord Symphony

There are two recordings of Henry Brant’s orchestration of Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata, taking this essential 20th-century piano work and expanding it for full orchestra. Buy from: | Amazon UK | Amazon FR | Amazon DE Ives’ Concord Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass., 1840-60) is the composer’s best-known work, and contains a […]

Album Notes: Charles Ives’ Violon Sonatas, by Hilary Hahn and Valentina Lisitsa

Charles Ives (1874-1954) is one of America’s most iconoclastic composers. Not a “professional” music maker, his modernist music was largely ignored during his lifetime, but that didn’t prevent him from composing music that stands out as unique and surprising. After studying music at Yale, he went on to make a large number of money in […]

Essential Music: Charles Ives

Scott Mortensen writes:

I vividly remember the first time I ever heard the music of Charles Ives. The piece was the raucous “Putnam’s Camp” movement from Three Places in New England. I’d never heard anything so immediate and vital and joyous; it made me laugh out loud with pleasure. My current favorite recording of this work is by conductor James Sinclair and the Orchestra New England, a disc that also includes Ives’ Four Ragtime Dances, the Set for Theatre Orchestra, and other short orchestral works. If you’ve never heard Ives’ music before, this is the perfect place to begin.


Writings about Macs, music, and more by Kirk McElhearn