tween those who know and those who dont yet
- View Source--- In email@example.com, "Michael Shaffer" <music@c...> wrote:
>True. And by doing so get better information out there about Ives.
> The way to close that gap (IMHO) is to propogate the careers and
> activities of Ives champions like you.
The problem is he's one of the few composers subject to having his
works deeply interpreted (i.e., the Leonard Bernstein school of
explaining and its graduates). People don't do that to Beethoven,
Mozart, Bach, or even Tschaivokski because they know the musical
language these guys are speaking in. They don't need someone to tell
them what a dominant 7th means.
With Ives, you have nothing familiar (even Schoenberg and Berg are
closer to Tschaikovski than Ives is), so he's fair game for those who
would normally just be doing things like interpreting "A Streetcar
Named Desire" as an allegory for the decline of Western Civilization
instead of being about Stanley and Blanche and STEEEEEEEELLA!!
Ives is one of the few musicians who bears this burden and so we hear
all these weird things about what his music means and then people
listen and they don't hear those weird things and think Ives stinks.
Although I agree with Mike that Ives's system was essentially his
mind, I do believe he subconsciously had specific things he did to
form his music that can be discussed in terms of not saying he's
trying to connect to all the music of the world going back to
antiquity, etc. etc.
Even though Ives specifically said in the Prologue of the "Essays
Before a Sonata" not to assume anyone composes anything with something
very specific in mind musically, pointing out what's actually there is
different from interpreting what it's supposed to be about.
Susan Sontag's landmark essay, "Against Interpretation" (which I was
made to read in college, about 30 years before I was ready to
understand it) speaks of the fact that interpreting art is essentially
not taking it at face value and falsifying it (i.e., saying "Streetcar
" is really an allegory). It is, however, acceptable, if a way can be
found to do so, to appreciate it for exactly what it is.
That's where divining a "system" does not contradict the esthetic Ives
discusses in "Essays." That's what we need to do.