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Re: Ives Revisited

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  • quartodeciman
    ...composers that have collaborated with Ives posthumously That clause amuses me. It smacks of spiritualism, though I don t think you meant it that way.
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 22 10:29 AM
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      "...composers that have collaborated with Ives posthumously"

      That clause amuses me. It smacks of spiritualism, though I don't
      think you meant it that way. Several decades ago a pianist in
      England claimed to be channeling the spirits of dead composers
      like Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Debussey, etc. She claimed
      they were transmitting their posthumous new compositions
      through her (like more Beethoven sonatas). When critics demurred
      from accepting these transmitted compositions as stylistically
      plausible, she cited no less an authority than Sir Donald Tovey as
      to their authenticity. Of course, Tovey himself had been dead for
      decades, so draw your own conclusion. :)

      I believe George Ives owned a copy of Helmholtz's treatise on the
      sensations of tone, and it stimulated much of his experimentation.
      It is plausible that tunings were discussed between father and son,
      but I am unaware that Charles ever read theoretical works like
      this. George Ives would also sometimes detune the practice piano
      for some experiments. But Charles did not experiment in the way his
      father did. Charles was 100% a composer and any ideas along this
      line would have appeared in etudes, takeoffs and rags rather than
      appear in theoretical notes. So I am not so sure Charles Ives had
      any particular passion concerning establishing different schemes of
      interval values. Also, he was a pianist and organist. The former
      condition would leave him stuck rigidly in well-temperament, as far
      as any prospect of performance was concerned, while the second might
      have permitted him some leeway if he had chosen to exercise it.

      All string players instinctively differentiate between
      enharmonically equivalent flat and sharp keys, and Charles would
      certainly have picked this up. If Charles never thought long
      about "sweetening" his thirds, he was certainly not averse to adding
      neighboring notes and exploiting clusters. In brief, I would expect
      that Charles Ives would rather improve a score by additions, rather
      than mandating a temperament revolution. Those Quarter Tone piano
      pieces are enrichment by addition, like a double-manual instrument
      for an imaginary four-handed player.

      Is there any chance that we might get access to a recording of
      realisations of Universe Symphony like that of JR, or will the
      Austin realisation remain the only one in public circulation?

      Quart
    • quartodeciman
      I suppose the best policy for me would be to observe a moratorium on value judgements and just wait to hear the results. Another variable to deal with is the
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 23 10:38 AM
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        I suppose the best policy for me would be to observe a moratorium on
        value judgements and just wait to hear the results.

        Another variable to deal with is the Charles Ives propensity to
        change his mind and change it back again. He did so many times in
        the course of his composer life. When opportunities to mount a
        performance arose under normal circumstances, he might very well
        stifle the radical aspects of a work and make a tame conservative
        version just to avoid trouble. On the other hand, when entrusting
        things to Cowell or Harrison (for instance) he might go the other
        direction and increase the radicality, asserting the most advanced
        conception.

        That all means to me leaving the door open for possible alternative
        presentations such as with just intonation.

        That letter you cited might have actually been penned by Mr. Ives
        himself? He often dictated letters as if Harmony had made them.

        Quart
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