Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Thu, 20 Jun 2024 06:26:54 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Charles Ives - Four Sonatas (2011) Charles Ives - Four Sonatas (2011)

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Sonata for Violin and Piano No.1, S.60 (K. 2C4) 
01 I. Andante - Allegro vivace 
02 II. Largo cantabile
03 III. Allegro 

Sonata for Violin and Piano No.2, S.61 (K. 2C5) 
04 I. Autumn. Adagio maestoso - Allegro moderato 
05 II. In the Barn. Presto - Allegro moderato
06 III. The Revival. Largo - Allegretto 

Sonata for Violin and Piano No.3, S.62 (K. 2C6) 
07 I. Adagio (Verse I) - Andante (Verse II) - Allegretto (Verse III) - Adagio (Last Verse) 
08 II. Allegro 
09 III. Adagio (Cantabile) - Andante con spirito 

Sonata for Violin and Piano No.4 "Children's Day At The Camp Meeting", S.63 (K. 2C3) 
10 I. Allegro 
11 II. Largo - Allegro (con slugarocko) 
12 III. Allegro 
Total time - 66:16

Hilary Hahn - violin
Valentina Lisitsa – piano


“Welcome to the Stone, and to the Ives geek-out party,” the violinist Hilary Hahn announced brightly on Monday at the Stone, a tiny, boxy East Village new-music laboratory operated by the saxophonist and composer John Zorn. Ms. Hahn, a performer who draws sizable throngs to prominent auditoriums, was making a point by celebrating her admirable new CD, “Charles Ives: Four Sonatas,” of Ives’s violin sonatas at Mr. Zorn’s space, which seats fewer than 100.

The Stone, Ms. Hahn explained during the first of the evening’s two sets, is a hotbed for a kind of unbridled, borderless creative expression that felt true to Ives’s spirit. And as persuasive as her work in the standard repertory has been, you got the sense that this undertaking reflected something personal and dear.

Creative expression is clearly on Ms. Hahn’s mind; she is amassing a collection of 27 encore pieces commissioned from a broad range of contemporary composers. (Nor can her own quirkiness be disregarded: how many other artists of similar stature have posted videos in which they interview a fish via Skype?)

Thus, instead of a conventional affair at Carnegie Hall, or even a chic night at Le Poisson Rouge, Ms. Hahn gathered her flock into a cramped brick space on an unseasonably warm evening. Before she played a note of Ives, she asked the audience to sing hymns under the supervision of Jan Swafford, an esteemed Ives biographer.

With Cory Smythe, a versatile pianist and composer whose own recent album, “Pluripotent,” shows a healthy disregard for genre boundaries, Ms. Hahn accompanied Mr. Swafford’s impromptu choir in renditions of “In the Sweet By and By” and “Watchman, Tell Us of the Night.” The point was twofold: to illuminate some of the sources Ives quoted in his sonatas and to show the kind of joyfully unkempt community music-making from which Ives took inspiration.

As the congregants fanned themselves with paper hymnals, Ms. Hahn and Mr. Smythe gave a handsomely characterized account of Ives’s Sonata No. 1. Two more hymns, “Shall We Gather at the River?” and “Nearer My God to Thee,” prefaced a frolicsome account of Ives’s more playful Sonata No. 4. The performance concluded, and Ms. Hahn convened Mr. Smythe, Mr. Swafford and Mr. Zorn for a brief but insightful discussion touching on stylistic open-mindedness, creative liberty and the paramount importance of community. Finally, noting that Ives’s birthday is approaching next Thursday, Ms. Hahn rallied her volunteer chorale once more for a hearty rendition of “Happy Birthday.” ---Steve Smith,

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]]> (bluesever) Ives Charles Mon, 11 Jun 2012 18:52:57 +0000
Charles Ives - Orchestral works (Tilson-Thomas, Ozawa) [1977] Charles Ives - Orchestral works (Tilson-Thomas, Ozawa) [1977]

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1. Three Places in New England: I. The 'St. Gaudens' In Boston Common (Col. Shaw And His Colored Regiment)
2. Three Places in New England: II. Putnam's Camp, Redding, Connecticut
3. Three Places in New England: III. The Housatonic At Stockbridge
4. Symphony No. 4: 1. Prelude: Maestoso
5. 2. Allegretto
6. 3. Fugue: Andante moderato
7. 4. Very Slowly - Largo maestoso
8. Central Park In The Dark

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Tanglewood Festival Chorus (4-7)
Michel Tilson Thomas - conductor (1-3)
Seiji Ozawa - conductor (4-8)


On most days, this is my favorite recording of the work for full orchestra. Tilson Thomas' conducting is idiomatic, and the Boston Symphony sounds incredible. The opening section in particular is very dignified, very grand. The second section is also strong, although perhaps it is not as rhythmically incisive as Sinclair's. The final section is a powerful evocation. While the "layers" of sound are less distinct than in Sinclair's recording, Tilson Thomas makes up for it with a tremendous sense of atmosphere and grandeur. This recording is available with three different couplings. The most recent release of this recording is as a part of the DG "Originals" series. It also includes "Sun Treader," an outstanding recording of Ruggles' seminal work, and Piston's Second Symphony, which I have never heard. The "Twentieth Century Classics" release includes Ives' Symphony No. 4 conducted by Seiji Ozawa. Ozawa's reading of the symphony is not a top recommendation--although I don't find it as bad as some others have suggested. ---


This is fantastic music -- amazing that Ives composed it from 1903 to 1916, as it utilizes high/low juxtapositions, pastiche and "sampling" that would become important only in the postmodern art of the '70s and after! "Three Places" was recorded in 1970, and the 4th Symphony and "Central Park" in 1976. DG's remastering is superb, and the sound is all you could want.

I see it as unfortunate that Ives' image is that of quaint Americana. While he marched to his own drummer, and allied himself with self-identified "ultramodernists" only because they were the only ones to champion him, Ives' vision was truly a modern one, and his music should have a place of honor alongside the more influential Second Vienna School. While he personally was a product of small town New England, his music was anything but -- at least not the music on this disc!

"Symphony No. 4" is a masterpiece, from the mystical prelude, to the infamous second movement's wild dissonance and pandemonium, to a somber fugue, and finally a chorus with tolling bells in the truly transcendental finale. I can't yet compare this to other recordings, but Ozawa and Boston are magnificent! --- Autonomeus,

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]]> (bluesever) Ives Charles Mon, 13 Jun 2016 14:48:31 +0000
Charles Ives - Symphonies 2 & 3 (2006) Charles Ives - Symphonies 2 & 3 (2006)

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1. Symphony No. 2, for orchestra, S. 2 (K. 1A2): Andante moderato
2. Symphony No. 2, for orchestra, S. 2 (K. 1A2): Allegro molto (con spirito)
3. Symphony No. 2, for orchestra, S. 2 (K. 1A2): Adagio cantabile
4. Symphony No. 2, for orchestra, S. 2 (K. 1A2): Lento maestoso
5. Symphony No. 2, for orchestra, S. 2 (K. 1A2): Allegro molto vivace
6. Symphony No. 3: The Camp Meeting, for orchestra, S. 3 (K. 1A3): Communion: Largo
7. General William Booth Enters into Heaven, for chorus, optional solo voice, chamber orchestra & percussion, S. 181 (K. 5B9)

Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Litton – conductor


Ives: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 is the second disc in Andrew Litton's cycle of Charles Ives' symphonies for the Hyperion label with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Of the two discs devoted to this series, this is better from a performance standpoint, as the first disc suffers from a so-so Symphony No. 4 even as it sports a terrific Symphony No. 1. The recorded sound here is something of a mixed bag as it is dark and fuzzy at the edges, although in terms of distance relative to volume it is very, very well made. In the Symphony No. 2, later movements are better than the earlier ones, with a stronger sense of pickup and forward momentum. The opening Andante moderato lacks focus and the strings are rather sludgy in the first two movements, but the brass section sounds very good in the Allegro molto vivace. The famous final discord, though, lacks punch. Hyperion's recording of the percussion parts in this Symphony No. 2 come through with more clarity than on any other recording.

Symphony No. 3 is probably the greatest of Ives' symphonies, so the bar for any recorded version is set very high indeed, particularly as there is a splendid, thoroughly transparent version made for Mercury Living Presence by conductor Howard Hanson that's hard to beat. Here Litton attempts to put some distance between himself from other recordings by observing strict adherence to the pacing of the symphony and utilizing many of Ives' suggested "shadow parts" -- discordant patches of music that are heard as if in a distance. In this instance, the recording's great sense of interior depth does work well, as these parts do not intrude on the main texture and are heard as "shadows," as Ives intended. It's a little harder to get used to the strict observance of tempo; most recorded versions don't make much of a distinction between the tempi of the three movements except that the second movement is a tad faster than the first. Here Litton spells it out and makes each movement roll at a distinct speed. It leaves one with a mixed impression, but overall it is a very good realization of the Symphony No. 3 and it demonstrates that this symphony, despite its grounding in a traditional style, is as open to nearly the same variety of interpretations as the ones that follow -- the Symphony No. 4 and the Universe Symphony.

John J. Becker's mini-oratorio-like arrangement of Ives' General William Booth Enters into Heaven was made at Ives' instigation in the mid-'30s as the composer by then did not have the stamina, or the eyesight, to see through to full fruition nine pages of sketches already at hand. It hasn't been recorded very often, although a very fine version was made for Columbia Masterworks in 1966 with Archie Drake singing the solo bass part with chorus and orchestra under the leadership of Gregg Smith, and this has never appeared on CD. With that recording, the solo singing was fabulous, but the orchestra and chorus were muddy and indistinct; here, the chorus and orchestra are just right -- especially the chorus -- but Donnie Ray Albert's bass is semi-buried and sounds "squashed." Despite such middling complaints, one must give credit where it is due and admit the choice of this work was a nice and imaginative touch as filler to these two symphonies. Litton's Hyperion set of Ives' symphonies, in sum, does put some pressure on Michael Tilson Thomas' set for CBS, even if it doesn't have the edge. ---Uncle Dave Lewis, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Ives Charles Mon, 12 Apr 2010 12:04:32 +0000
Charles Ives - Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 - Central Park in the Dark (2006) Charles Ives - Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 - Central Park in the Dark (2006)

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Symphony No 1
1.Movement 1: Allegro, con molto 	 [11'35]
2.Movement 2: Adagio molto, sostenuto 	 [8'29]
3.Movement 3: Scherzo: Vivace 	 [4'16]
4.Movement 4: Allegro molto 	[12'50]

Symphony No 4
5.Movement 1: Prelude: Maestoso 	 [3'14]
6.Movement 2: Comedy: Allegretto 	 [10'52]
7.Movement 3: Fugue: Andante moderato con moto	 [8'01]
8.Movement 4: Very slowly: Largo maestoso	  [8'45]

9.Central Park in the Dark  	[9'46]

Dallas Symphony Chorus (5, 8)
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Litton (conductor)

Special thanks to Thomas Ciannarella who's sent this album to us.


For the Charles Ives enthusiast on the left side of the Atlantic "pond," this Hyperion release, Ives: Symphonies 1 & 4, brings up some red flags upon first appearance. While the movers and shakers in English classical music circles are famously xenophobic, they tend to fault Americans for being equally so, and when an American sees the music of Charles Ives on an English label, that instinctively comes to mind. These are not English performances, though; they were made at McDermott Concert Hall in Dallas and feature the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andrew Litton. That brings up another red flag: Litton has already recorded Ives' Orchestral Set No. 1: Three Places in New England with Dallas for the late Dorian label, and that hardly set the world on fire at the time of release (in 1996). On the other hand, it is not as though record companies are trying to outdo one another recording Ives' symphonies at present, so it might not be a bad idea to give Litton's Ives: Symphonies 1 & 4 a chance. The Dallas Symphony and the music of Ives already have an established history which goes back to at least the 1960s, when conductor Donald Johanos led the DSO in a widely circulated performance of Ives' Holidays Symphony for Vox Turnabout.

The performance of Ives' Symphony No. 1 here is of the highest caliber. Ives regarded it as one of his "weak sisters," a school assignment barely worth discussing, and annotator Jan Swafford, who should know better, sides with the composer in this instance. Nevertheless, Ives' First has a gentle, persuasive power uniquely its own that has hooked some listeners who could care less about Ives' noisy orchestral sets and the Symphony No. 4; Litton manages to tease this persuasiveness carefully out of the Dallas Symphony. Additionally, the score utilized here seems to make little to no use of any of Ives' variant concepts for this work -- not a desirable state of affairs for all of Ives' symphonies, but not a bad idea for this one. Ives: Symphonies 1 & 4 might contain the finest Ives First to appear on record since André Previn's with the London Symphony Orchestra back in 1971. Ironically, Litton's ability to make the Dallas Symphony sound like an English, or at least European, orchestra is one of the things that makes this recording so good; notwithstanding the flag-waving xenophobes out there.

The Symphony No. 4 and Central Park in the Dark, however, are another matter. Litton does make use of the optional chorus in the first movement of the Fourth, and it is nicely done. However, Hyperion's recording is none too friendly to the extremes of volume in this symphony. Litton manages to get very good results out of the quartertone section in the strings that open the second movement "comedy," but it is hard to hear, even when played back at top volume. The same goes for Central Park in the Dark, marked to be played very quietly in the score, but just because you can get that quiet doesn't mean that you should do so on a recording, as loud sections might terminate one's speakers with prejudice. Nonetheless, another aspect of this particular Fourth that may or may not be so desirable is that Litton has shaped it so carefully. The whole work has been marked out to separate foreground elements from the rest, tempering Ives' divine approach to chaos. This may prove a boon to those who can generally make no sense of the Fourth, but for experienced Ivesians, part of the appeal of the Fourth is its wacky and transcendental messiness. Of course, such does not apply to the Fourth's traditional third movement, which comes off quite well here. In general, the rule with Litton's Hyperion traversal through Ives' symphonies seems to be the more stylistically conservative a given Ives symphony is, the better the results. If so, then if you could own only one of the two volumes, this one would not be the more desirable choice. ---Uncle Dave Lewis, AllMusic Review

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]]> (bluesever) Ives Charles Fri, 30 Dec 2016 15:24:08 +0000
Charles Ives ‎– Universe Symphony - Orchestral Set No. 2 - The Unanswered Question (1994) Charles Ives ‎– Universe Symphony - Orchestral Set No. 2 - The Unanswered Question (1994)

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1 	Universe Symphony	37:52

Orchestral Set No. 2 	
2 	An Elegy To Our Forefather 	5:15
3 	The Rockstrewn Hills 	5:21
4 	From Hanover Square North 	7:15

5 	The Unanswered Question 	5:56

Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra & Cincinnati College
Conservatory Chamber Choir
Gerhard Samuel – conductor


Several of Ives' compositions have been reconstructed from his complex sketches and notes. The brilliant pianist John Kirkpatrick (largely responsible for Ives' initial fame through his performance of the Concord Sonata in the 1930s) worked on several of the piano works, and composers Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison collated and completed the score of the Symphony No. 4 in the 1950s. Composer Larry Austin spent over twenty years to realize and complete the myriad materials for the Universe Symphony, faithfully and brilliantly performed here by the Cincinnati Philharmonia Orhestra, conducted by Gerhard Samual. Ives left a note inviting other composers to add to the work following his initial ideas. The first fifteen minutes of this almost 40-minute work is given over to the idea of a slowly growing and evolving "life pulse" music in which 20 percussionists play to a headphone "click track" that coordinates the simultaneous 12 different prime number meters. This is the first of three musical macro-layers. The others are: the Heavens, for four orchestras, each in different meters and tempos; and the Earth, with its "Rock formation" and "Earth chord" orchestrations. These orchestral layers appear in different combinations within the three sections or movements: Past -- from Chaos, formation of the Waters and Mountains; Present -- Earth and the Firmament, evolution in Nature and Humanity; Future -- Heaven, the rise of all to the spiritual. The second and third movements are the most similar to the "Ives' sound" of orchestrally dense works like the Fourth Symphony or the Robert Browning Overture, and sweepingly dramatic, with an almost indescribable emotional flow. In the climax of the work, all of the material sounds rush headlong to the heavens, into silence broken only by the sound of one solitary chime. ---"Blue" Gene Tyranny, Rovi


This is the realization of Ives' unfinished work by composer Larry Austin. As such, this is not strictly speaking a work by Ives--despite Austin's claims to the contrary in the recording's liner notes. I think it's more useful to think of the recording as you might think of Deryck Cooke's realization of Mahler's Tenth Symphony. Unlike Austin, Cooke makes no bones that his work is a realization--and as such is not purely Mahler.

Despite my nit picking, it is interesting to hear Ives' Universe Symphony in whatever guise possible. This sounds radically different than anything else I've ever heard from Ives. Percussion predominates, and rhythm is the primary musical element, rather than melody or harmony. In fact, one might point to this work and declare Ives to be the father of minimalism! I'm not exactly sure what to make of this recording. I think most of my ambivalence stems from my lack of knowledge about how much of this work is Ives' and how much is Austin's.

If I put aside that question for moment, and I try to evaluate the music as music, I'm still not totally convinced. Perhaps this is one Ives' work that was best left unfinished. The idea is fascinating, but--in this world--is it possible to achieve? . . . Still, if you're an Ives' fan, you'll want to hear it. Just don't expect the revelations of the Fourth Symphony or Second Piano Sonata.

One incentive to pick up the disc: The couplings are excellent. Samuel's reading of "The Unanswered Question" is one of my favorites, displaying a tremendous level of inner detail. The Second Orchestral Set is also very fine, woodsy and idiomatic.

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]]> (bluesever) Ives Charles Sat, 05 Nov 2016 16:05:46 +0000
Ives - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 Ives - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4

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01. Symphony No. 3 - Andante Maestoso [0:08:44.45]
02. Symphony No. 3 - Allegro [0:07:13.10]
03. Symphony No. 3 - Largo [0:07:24.32]
04. Symphony No. 4 - Prelude [0:03:18.70]
05. Symphony No. 4 - Allegretto [0:13:08.35]
06. Symphony No. 4 - Fugue [0:09:21.68]
07. Symphony No. 4 - Largo [0:09:28.00]
08. Three Outdoor Scenes - Hallowe'en [0:03:13.40]

New Philharmonia Orchestra
Harold Farberman – conductor


The Symphony No. 3, S. 3 (K. 1A3), The Camp Meeting by Charles Ives (1874–1954) was written between the years of 1908 and 1910. In 1947, Ives was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Symphony No. 3. Later, his works were performed by conductors like Leonard Bernstein. Ives is reported to have given half the money to Lou Harrison, who conducted the premiere. The symphony has many influences including War songs, dances, and general European classical music. It evokes country meetings during his childhood, when people gathered in fields to sing, preach, and listen. Ives was sentimentally nostalgic, glancing back as a modern composer at a nineteenth-century childhood of hymns, bells, and children's games throughout the three movements. The symphony is filled with complex harmonies and meters.

The Symphony No. 4, S. 4 (K. 1A4) by Charles Ives (1874–1954) was written between the years of 1910 and 1916. The symphony is notable for its multi-layered complexity - usually necessitating two conductors in performance - and for its over-sized orchestra. Combining elements and techniques of Ives's previous compositional work, this has been called "one of his most definitive works"; Ives' biographer, Jan Swafford, has called it "Ives's climactic masterpiece." The program of the work echoes that of The Unanswered Question— Ives said the piece was "a searching question of 'What' and 'Why' which the spirit of man asks of life". Use of quotation is again rife, especially in the first movement, and there is no shortage of novel effects. In the second movement, for example, a tremolando is heard throughout the entire orchestra. In the final movement, there is a sort of musical fight between discordant sounds and more traditional tonal music. Eventually a wordless chorus enters, the mood becomes calmer, and the piece ends quietly with just the percussion playing. The symphony did not have a complete performance until Leopold Stokowski conducted it with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on April 26, 1965, almost 50 years after the completion of the work, and 11 years after Ives' death.



]]> (bluesever) Ives Charles Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:57:38 +0000