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Re: [charlesives] BBC Music Magazine

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  • tony cole
    No, cover CD is going to be of the Ives antithesis: Richard Strauss! And anyway, about time CEI featured as c-o-t-m after the BBc mag. has been going for more
    Message 1 of 8 , May 4, 2004
      No, cover CD is going to be of the Ives antithesis: Richard Strauss! And anyway, about time CEI featured as c-o-t-m after the BBc mag. has been going for more than 140 issues! I wonder what sort of job they'll make of it, too - hopefully not the woolly homespun Yankee jingoistic version of yore.............. Tony Cole
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Scott Mortensen
      To: charlesives@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 7:30 PM
      Subject: [charlesives] BBC Music Magazine


      Keep your eyes open for the June issue of BBC Music Magazine. Apparently,
      Ives is going to be the "Composer of the Month." I haven't seen the issue
      yet. But I got the news from one of the magazine's "sub-editors."

      I'm not sure if the recording that accompanies the magazine will feature an
      Ives work.

      Should be interesting...

      Best,
      Scott


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    • Scott Mortensen
      ... the woolly homespun Yankee jingoistic version of yore... It s interesting to me how perceptions of Ives and his music have changed over time. I didn t
      Message 2 of 8 , May 4, 2004
        --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "tony cole" <tony@c...> wrote:
        >...I wonder what sort of job they'll make of it, too - hopefully not
        the woolly homespun Yankee jingoistic version of yore...


        It's interesting to me how perceptions of Ives and his music have
        changed over time. I didn't discover Ives' music until the early
        90's, and I've never really thought of his music as "primitive"
        or "home-spun" in any way. Quite the opposite. Ives' music always
        struck me as deeply philosophical, full of ideas about the nature of
        music and reality. And even better, these ideas were presented in an
        immensely personal, vital way. Nothing "quaint" about it. But
        clearly, his music was presented as such for quite a while. Like
        we've discussed, even Lenny presented him as a bit of a New England
        Nature Boy, who really didn't quite know what he was doing. (I'm not
        knocking Lenny's performances, BTW. They're wonderful. But I sense
        that there was a big part of Ives that Lenny didn't "get.")

        Here's something that I've been think about lately that sort of
        relates to this idea...

        One of the things that knocks me out about Ives' music is the way
        that he constructs his music to reflect his philosophical and
        religious pre-occupations.

        What do I mean by that? Consider this: Jan Swafford has asserted
        that, at heart, Ives is a religious composer. And I agree with him.
        But Ives is not religious in the conventional sense. Outside of
        early works like "The Celestial Country" Ives' works usually ask more
        questions than they answer. (I don't think I need to suggest an
        appropriate title here. ;-) Rather than presenting a
        unified, "sensical" view of the world--like most religious composers--
        Ives music often presents the world as fragmentary, shadowy,
        disjointed, and most of all--incomplete. My favorite description for
        this sense in Ives' music is "kaleidoscopic." His music often
        illuminates a chaotic, teeming reality that's all around us. But we
        typically ignore it by sticking to the well-worn paths of composition
        or thought. (A toy is an apt metaphor too--because Ives usually
        takes great delight in the fragments and colors that his musical
        kaleidoscope provides.)

        So, Ives music can be fragmentary and chaotic and kaleidoscopic.
        Nothing new there. That's modernism in a nutshell.

        But here's the paradox: Ives is also preoccupied with the idea of
        the One, unity, transcendence; he keeps returning to the hymn "Nearer
        My God to Thee." So then the question becomes, "How can I make
        sense of this immense mass of sensory experience. How can find--or
        even just glimpse--the Oneness that is still more real?" Or to put
        it even more bluntly, "How can I draw closer to God?" But there
        aren't any simple answers for Ives. Again, counter to most
        conventionally religious composers, his greatest works offer no ready
        answers. Only a sense of continual struggle, striving to make sense
        of things, to see what's just around the corner--even if IT can only
        be seen with a sidelong glance after a long, tough slog. (Given
        this, you might more accurately describe Ives as a "spiritual"
        composer, rather than a "religious" one. There's no sense of dogma
        or orthodoxy in Ives, even if he seems completely comfortable with
        his own Christianity.)

        Ives never tidies up his music in neat self-contained packages--
        because that's not the nature of reality. Our perception of the
        world, and our understanding of it, are in a constant state of flux.
        Our quest is never complete, and to create a work of art that is
        complete would be dishonest. To my ears, this "unfinished" quality,
        which is often taken to be a sign of Ives' primitivism, represents
        exactly the opposite.

        Taken as a whole, his works are incredibly coherent and well thought-
        out on philosophical, religious, and psychological levels. But of
        course, Ives' musical "order" is not the order that you typically
        find in traditional Western classical music. I think that it's this
        aspect of Ives work that most points to composers like John Cage,
        Charles Mingus and the whole idea of jazz, and other forms
        of "process music."

        Of course, on some level some of this is just speculation on my
        part. But it's how I've made sense of Ives' music! ;-)

        Make sense to you?

        Scott
      • anthony cole
        Makes complete sense to me, Scott, and I think this was how Ives music came to be appreciated over on this side of the millpond even from the early 60 s when
        Message 3 of 8 , May 4, 2004
          Makes complete sense to me, Scott, and I think this was how Ives' music came to be appreciated over on this side of the millpond even from the early 60's when I started to hear it. Of course we heard the "vernacular" aspects but they never seemed any more the essence of the music than their equivalents did in the music of a Mahler or a Bartok. Tony
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Scott Mortensen
          To: charlesives@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 10:43 PM
          Subject: [charlesives] Re: BBC Music Magazine (and other musings)


          --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "tony cole" <tony@c...> wrote:
          >...I wonder what sort of job they'll make of it, too - hopefully not
          the woolly homespun Yankee jingoistic version of yore...


          It's interesting to me how perceptions of Ives and his music have
          changed over time. I didn't discover Ives' music until the early
          90's, and I've never really thought of his music as "primitive"
          or "home-spun" in any way. Quite the opposite. Ives' music always
          struck me as deeply philosophical, full of ideas about the nature of
          music and reality. And even better, these ideas were presented in an
          immensely personal, vital way. Nothing "quaint" about it. But
          clearly, his music was presented as such for quite a while. Like
          we've discussed, even Lenny presented him as a bit of a New England
          Nature Boy, who really didn't quite know what he was doing. (I'm not
          knocking Lenny's performances, BTW. They're wonderful. But I sense
          that there was a big part of Ives that Lenny didn't "get.")

          Here's something that I've been think about lately that sort of
          relates to this idea...

          One of the things that knocks me out about Ives' music is the way
          that he constructs his music to reflect his philosophical and
          religious pre-occupations.

          What do I mean by that? Consider this: Jan Swafford has asserted
          that, at heart, Ives is a religious composer. And I agree with him.
          But Ives is not religious in the conventional sense. Outside of
          early works like "The Celestial Country" Ives' works usually ask more
          questions than they answer. (I don't think I need to suggest an
          appropriate title here. ;-) Rather than presenting a
          unified, "sensical" view of the world--like most religious composers--
          Ives music often presents the world as fragmentary, shadowy,
          disjointed, and most of all--incomplete. My favorite description for
          this sense in Ives' music is "kaleidoscopic." His music often
          illuminates a chaotic, teeming reality that's all around us. But we
          typically ignore it by sticking to the well-worn paths of composition
          or thought. (A toy is an apt metaphor too--because Ives usually
          takes great delight in the fragments and colors that his musical
          kaleidoscope provides.)

          So, Ives music can be fragmentary and chaotic and kaleidoscopic.
          Nothing new there. That's modernism in a nutshell.

          But here's the paradox: Ives is also preoccupied with the idea of
          the One, unity, transcendence; he keeps returning to the hymn "Nearer
          My God to Thee." So then the question becomes, "How can I make
          sense of this immense mass of sensory experience. How can find--or
          even just glimpse--the Oneness that is still more real?" Or to put
          it even more bluntly, "How can I draw closer to God?" But there
          aren't any simple answers for Ives. Again, counter to most
          conventionally religious composers, his greatest works offer no ready
          answers. Only a sense of continual struggle, striving to make sense
          of things, to see what's just around the corner--even if IT can only
          be seen with a sidelong glance after a long, tough slog. (Given
          this, you might more accurately describe Ives as a "spiritual"
          composer, rather than a "religious" one. There's no sense of dogma
          or orthodoxy in Ives, even if he seems completely comfortable with
          his own Christianity.)

          Ives never tidies up his music in neat self-contained packages--
          because that's not the nature of reality. Our perception of the
          world, and our understanding of it, are in a constant state of flux.
          Our quest is never complete, and to create a work of art that is
          complete would be dishonest. To my ears, this "unfinished" quality,
          which is often taken to be a sign of Ives' primitivism, represents
          exactly the opposite.

          Taken as a whole, his works are incredibly coherent and well thought-
          out on philosophical, religious, and psychological levels. But of
          course, Ives' musical "order" is not the order that you typically
          find in traditional Western classical music. I think that it's this
          aspect of Ives work that most points to composers like John Cage,
          Charles Mingus and the whole idea of jazz, and other forms
          of "process music."

          Of course, on some level some of this is just speculation on my
          part. But it's how I've made sense of Ives' music! ;-)

          Make sense to you?

          Scott




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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • quartodeciman
          Do we need to look closely at those spiritual models that formed Ives philosophically? George Ives, RW Emerson, HD Thoreau, Harmony. He began to learn to look
          Message 4 of 8 , May 5, 2004
            Do we need to look closely at those spiritual models that formed
            Ives philosophically?

            George Ives, RW Emerson, HD Thoreau, Harmony.

            He began to learn to look beyond the veil of particular differences
            at home with his dad. He began to read transcendentalists in
            earnest at Yale. His wife kept him in tune.

            Emerson on Nature --->
            http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/emerson/nature.ht
            ml

            Thoreau --->
            http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap4/thoreau.html

            Quart
          • Scott Mortensen
            ... Good thinking Quart. We can also look at Ives very own writings--especially the Essays Before a Sonata. Here s one of my favorite passages from the
            Message 5 of 8 , May 5, 2004
              --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "quartodeciman"
              <quartodeciman@h...> wrote:
              > Do we need to look closely at those spiritual models that formed
              > Ives philosophically?
              >
              > George Ives, RW Emerson, HD Thoreau, Harmony.
              >
              > He began to learn to look beyond the veil of particular differences
              > at home with his dad. He began to read transcendentalists in
              > earnest at Yale. His wife kept him in tune.


              Good thinking Quart.

              We can also look at Ives' very own writings--especially the "Essays
              Before a Sonata."

              Here's one of my favorite passages from the "Emerson" chapter:

              [Emerson] is greater,
              possibly, as an invader of the unknown,--America's deepest
              explorer of the spiritual immensities,--a seer painting his
              discoveries in masses and with any color that may lie at hand--
              cosmic, religious, human, even sensuous; a recorder, freely
              describing the inevitable struggle in the soul's uprise--
              perceiving from this inward source alone, that every "ultimate
              fact is only the first of a new series"; a discoverer, whose
              heart knows, with Voltaire, "that man seriously reflects when
              left alone," and would then discover, if he can, that "wondrous
              chain which links the heavens with earth--the world of beings
              subject to one law."

              I think Ives' description of Emerson is a description of IVES (ideal
              self) as much as it is of Emerson.

              BTW, the complete "Essays Before a Sonata" is available online at:

              ftp://ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext03/ivess10.txt


              Hope everyone is having a good day...

              Scott
            • anthony cole
              Well, the June Beeb mag. has just flopped on to my doormat........In addition to the Ives feature as comp. of the month (only about 11 years or 130-odd issues
              Message 6 of 8 , May 7, 2004
                Well, the June Beeb mag. has just flopped on to my doormat........In addition to the Ives feature as comp. of the month (only about 11 years or 130-odd issues late, I'd say if these featurettes are meant to represent any scale of greatness - Boyce was "done" 5 years ago!), there's also a glowing review of Aimard,Graham. A.Burton does a tolerable job on the COTM, I think, starting with the Schoenberg quote and going on to a description of how and when the music became known and also its influence on mid- to late 20th cent. composers. He goes some way to pointing out the philosophical/transcendental underpinning of the works - and it is surely that very transcendence of the everyday, whilst coloured in the everyday, which is Ives' particular genius. Tony Cole
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Scott Mortensen
                To: charlesives@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 10:43 PM
                Subject: [charlesives] Re: BBC Music Magazine (and other musings)


                --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "tony cole" <tony@c...> wrote:
                >...I wonder what sort of job they'll make of it, too - hopefully not
                the woolly homespun Yankee jingoistic version of yore...


                It's interesting to me how perceptions of Ives and his music have
                changed over time. I didn't discover Ives' music until the early
                90's, and I've never really thought of his music as "primitive"
                or "home-spun" in any way. Quite the opposite. Ives' music always
                struck me as deeply philosophical, full of ideas about the nature of
                music and reality. And even better, these ideas were presented in an
                immensely personal, vital way. Nothing "quaint" about it. But
                clearly, his music was presented as such for quite a while. Like
                we've discussed, even Lenny presented him as a bit of a New England
                Nature Boy, who really didn't quite know what he was doing. (I'm not
                knocking Lenny's performances, BTW. They're wonderful. But I sense
                that there was a big part of Ives that Lenny didn't "get.")

                Here's something that I've been think about lately that sort of
                relates to this idea...

                One of the things that knocks me out about Ives' music is the way
                that he constructs his music to reflect his philosophical and
                religious pre-occupations.

                What do I mean by that? Consider this: Jan Swafford has asserted
                that, at heart, Ives is a religious composer. And I agree with him.
                But Ives is not religious in the conventional sense. Outside of
                early works like "The Celestial Country" Ives' works usually ask more
                questions than they answer. (I don't think I need to suggest an
                appropriate title here. ;-) Rather than presenting a
                unified, "sensical" view of the world--like most religious composers--
                Ives music often presents the world as fragmentary, shadowy,
                disjointed, and most of all--incomplete. My favorite description for
                this sense in Ives' music is "kaleidoscopic." His music often
                illuminates a chaotic, teeming reality that's all around us. But we
                typically ignore it by sticking to the well-worn paths of composition
                or thought. (A toy is an apt metaphor too--because Ives usually
                takes great delight in the fragments and colors that his musical
                kaleidoscope provides.)

                So, Ives music can be fragmentary and chaotic and kaleidoscopic.
                Nothing new there. That's modernism in a nutshell.

                But here's the paradox: Ives is also preoccupied with the idea of
                the One, unity, transcendence; he keeps returning to the hymn "Nearer
                My God to Thee." So then the question becomes, "How can I make
                sense of this immense mass of sensory experience. How can find--or
                even just glimpse--the Oneness that is still more real?" Or to put
                it even more bluntly, "How can I draw closer to God?" But there
                aren't any simple answers for Ives. Again, counter to most
                conventionally religious composers, his greatest works offer no ready
                answers. Only a sense of continual struggle, striving to make sense
                of things, to see what's just around the corner--even if IT can only
                be seen with a sidelong glance after a long, tough slog. (Given
                this, you might more accurately describe Ives as a "spiritual"
                composer, rather than a "religious" one. There's no sense of dogma
                or orthodoxy in Ives, even if he seems completely comfortable with
                his own Christianity.)

                Ives never tidies up his music in neat self-contained packages--
                because that's not the nature of reality. Our perception of the
                world, and our understanding of it, are in a constant state of flux.
                Our quest is never complete, and to create a work of art that is
                complete would be dishonest. To my ears, this "unfinished" quality,
                which is often taken to be a sign of Ives' primitivism, represents
                exactly the opposite.

                Taken as a whole, his works are incredibly coherent and well thought-
                out on philosophical, religious, and psychological levels. But of
                course, Ives' musical "order" is not the order that you typically
                find in traditional Western classical music. I think that it's this
                aspect of Ives work that most points to composers like John Cage,
                Charles Mingus and the whole idea of jazz, and other forms
                of "process music."

                Of course, on some level some of this is just speculation on my
                part. But it's how I've made sense of Ives' music! ;-)

                Make sense to you?

                Scott




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