Charles Ives (1874-1954)

Donald Macleod ventures into the weird and wonderful world of Charles Ives, widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the last century - an achievement accomplished in his spare time from a day job as one of America's most successful life insurers.

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Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01*2007091020080721

1/5.

The programme includes two of Ives's best-known works, The Unanswered Question and Central Park in the Dark, as well as the less familiar Second Violin Sonata.

They Are There!, arr.

Lou Harrison

Thomas Hampson (baritone)

San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Orchestra

Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)

Symphony No 2 (5th mvt: Allegro molto vivace)

New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein (conductor)

Sonata No 2 for violin and piano

Glenn Dicterow (violin)

Israela Margalit (piano)

Remembrance

Paul Sperry (tenor)

Irma Vallecillo (piano)

The Pond

Ensemble Modern

Ingo Metzmacher (conductor)

Over the Pavements

The Unanswered Question (revised version); Central Park in the Dark

Adolph Herseth (trumpet)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The programme includes two of Ives' best-known works, The Unanswered Question and Central Park in the Dark, as well as the less familiar Second Violin Sonata.

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

02*2007091120080722

Donald Macleod ventures into the weird and wonderful world of Charles Ives.

2/5.

Ives's life and music were often closely intertwined, for example his so-called 'glory trance', General William Booth Enters into Heaven, vividly recalls the revivalist meetings of his youth.

General William Booth Enters into Heaven

William Sharp (baritone)

Steven Blier (piano)

String Quartet No 2

Lydian String Quartet

Three Places in New England

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

David Zinman (conductor).

Ives' life and music were often closely intertwined, for example his so-called 'glory trance', General William Booth Enters into Heaven, vividly recalls the revivalist meetings of his youth.

032007091220080723

Ives's brand of patriotism verged on the jingoistic, but his music tells a more nuanced story, as in the deeply moving From Hanover Square North, the composer's evocation of a moment of spontaneous popular grief at the news of the sinking of the liner Lusitania.

Also in the programme, Ives's 'symphony', New England Holidays, which has been described as an American Four Seasons.

Tom Sails Away

Gerald Finley (baritone)

Julius Drake (piano)

From Hanover Square North, at the End of a Tragic Day, the Voice of the People Again Arose

Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra

CCM Chamber Choir

Gerhard Samuel (conductor)

A Symphony: New England Holidays

Fred Spector (Jew's Harp)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor).

Ives' brand of patriotism verged on the jingoistic, but his music tells a more nuanced story, as in the deeply moving From Hanover Square North, the composer's evocation of a moment of spontaneous popular grief at the news of the sinking of the liner Lusitania.

Also in the programme, Ives' magnificent 'symphony', New England Holidays, which has been described as an American Four Seasons.

042007091320080724

We meet Ives's adopted daughter Edie and her friend Susanna, the hapless cowpuncher Charlie Rutlage, and the Transcendentalist writer Nathaniel Hawthorn who was immortalised in Ives's Concord Sonata.

We also hear Ives's seminal work on 'estate planning' for life insurance agents, and his remarkable Fourth Symphony.

Two Little Flowers

Mary Ann Hart (mezzo-soprano)

Dennis Helmrich (piano)

Charlie Rutlage

Sanford Sylvan (baritone)

Alan Feinberg (piano)

Piano Sonata No 2 (Concord, Mass.)

Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)

Charlie Rutlage (The Other Side of Pioneering, or Side Lights on American Enterprise)

Music Projects, London

Richard Bernas (conductor)

Symphony No 4

Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Litton (conductor).

05 LAST*2007091420080725

Donald Macleod concludes his look at the music and life of Charles Ives.

5/5.

Including the invigorating Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos, the majestic Psalm 90 and the quirky Set for Theatre Orchestra as well as a group of late Ives songs.

On the Antipodes

Henry Herford (baritone)

Ensemble Modern

Ingo Metzmacher (conductor)

Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos

Alexei Lubimov, Pierre-Laurent Aimard (pianos)

Psalm 90

Pamela Priestley-Smith (soprano)

David Roy (tenor)

Christopher Hughes (organ)

Stephen Lees, Tony Lucas, Nicholas Ormrod, Nigel Shipway (bells)

BBC Singers

The One Way; A Sea Dirge; Yellow Leaves

Dora Ohrenstein (soprano)

Phillip Bush (piano)

In the Mornin

Mary Ann Hart (mezzo-soprano)

Dennis Helmrich (piano)

Set for Theatre Orchestra

Sunrise

Martha Hart (mezzo-soprano)

Charles Gray (violin)

Mark S Johnson (piano).