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RE: [charlesives] Lenny's Mahler and Introductory Ives recordings

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  • Anne Ozorio
    A good way to get into Mahler for people who like Ives are the sixth and seventh symphonies, where Mahler is sort of deconstructing symphonic form and
    Message 1 of 29 , Oct 1, 2003
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      A good way to get into Mahler for people who like Ives are the sixth
      and seventh symphonies, where Mahler is sort of deconstructing
      symphonic form and creating a vivid, adventurous sound world.
      Bernstein is fun, but not I think the ideal approach to Mahler - all
      the brashness and flamboyance, but maybe too much of that will
      densensitize you the more complex aspects. Of course this is a
      generality but Bernstein is an exception, not the rule.

      Depends on what you're listening "for". Two good starting points are
      Ben Zanders recordings with introductory talks. Zander's 5 and 6 are
      fantastic as music, too. Really exciting and insight into Mahler.
      His commentary on the 9th is good but it's a really dark, brooding
      piece, not easy to carry off. Another conductor who I think brings
      out the visceral, passionate qualities in Mahler is Kurt Sanderling,
      (9th, 10th) also his son Thomas (good 6th). Or Barshai's legendary
      5th played by kids but so well ! Similarly check out Vincent
      Mouret's commentaries, if you read French. (google it wth mouret
      mahler).

      Scott will laugh at how tough it was for me to relate to Ives. Being
      a song person of course I tried the songs in the everywhere respected
      Jan de Gaetani version. To my horror I hated it ! However I
      continued by listening to more and found the Mamie Nixon wonderful.
      At the same time I was listening to the 3rd. In fact at the end it
      was the orchestral aspects that sold me. When I heard Hampson/MTT's
      orchestral songs I loved them, even tho' the orchestrations weren't
      Ives.! And a friend sent me An Amercan Journey, which is wonderful -
      wish I'd had that first ! Or maybe it's me that's changed, more
      likely.






      Anne
      anne.ozorio@...
    • Scott Mortensen
      Anne, Interesting that you point to M s 6th and 7th. For me, these were (are!) some of Mahler s most impenetrable music. ;-) Generally, I find his middle
      Message 2 of 29 , Oct 1, 2003
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        Anne,

        Interesting that you point to M's 6th and 7th. For me, these were
        (are!) some of Mahler's most impenetrable music. ;-) Generally, I
        find his middle period toughest going of all, whereas the Wunderhorn
        syms and 9th are easiest for me to hear. M2 and M9 caught my ear
        immediately, and they're probably still my favorites.

        And you're right that Bernstein is definitely flamboyant and brash.
        You might have even said "hysterical"--and been right on the
        money. ;-) And the Concertgebouw 9th that I mentioned is
        especially "juiced"--even for Lenny. But I think that somehow helped
        me find my way in. The extremity of it helped.

        Now, I might not even call Lenny's record my "favorite" 9th. It
        certainly isn't a "balanced" reading. On another day, I might listen
        to Horenstein (Vox)? Maybe Walter (Sony)? Depends on the day, I guess!

        Scott


        --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "Anne Ozorio" <anne.ozorio@n...>
        wrote:
        > A good way to get into Mahler for people who like Ives are the
        sixth
        > and seventh symphonies, where Mahler is sort of deconstructing
        > symphonic form and creating a vivid, adventurous sound world.
        > Bernstein is fun, but not I think the ideal approach to Mahler -
        all
        > the brashness and flamboyance, but maybe too much of that will
        > densensitize you the more complex aspects. Of course this is a
        > generality but Bernstein is an exception, not the rule.
        >
        > Depends on what you're listening "for". Two good starting points
        are
        > Ben Zanders recordings with introductory talks. Zander's 5 and 6
        are
        > fantastic as music, too. Really exciting and insight into Mahler.
        > His commentary on the 9th is good but it's a really dark, brooding
        > piece, not easy to carry off. Another conductor who I think brings
        > out the visceral, passionate qualities in Mahler is Kurt
        Sanderling,
        > (9th, 10th) also his son Thomas (good 6th). Or Barshai's legendary
        > 5th played by kids but so well ! Similarly check out Vincent
        > Mouret's commentaries, if you read French. (google it wth mouret
        > mahler).
        >
        > Scott will laugh at how tough it was for me to relate to Ives.
        Being
        > a song person of course I tried the songs in the everywhere
        respected
        > Jan de Gaetani version. To my horror I hated it ! However I
        > continued by listening to more and found the Mamie Nixon
        wonderful.
        > At the same time I was listening to the 3rd. In fact at the end it
        > was the orchestral aspects that sold me. When I heard
        Hampson/MTT's
        > orchestral songs I loved them, even tho' the orchestrations weren't
        > Ives.! And a friend sent me An Amercan Journey, which is
        wonderful -
        > wish I'd had that first ! Or maybe it's me that's changed, more
        > likely.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Anne
        > anne.ozorio@n...
      • Bob Zeidler
        ... sixth and seventh symphonies, where Mahler is sort of deconstructing symphonic form and creating a vivid, adventurous sound world. {big snip} Two good
        Message 3 of 29 , Oct 2, 2003
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          --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "Anne Ozorio"
          <anne.ozorio@n...> wrote:

          > A good way to get into Mahler for people who like Ives are the
          sixth and seventh symphonies, where Mahler is sort of
          deconstructing symphonic form and creating a vivid, adventurous
          sound world.

          {big snip}

          Two good starting points are Ben Zanders recordings with
          introductory talks. Zander's 5 and 6 are fantastic as music, too.
          Really exciting and insight into Mahler. His commentary on the
          9th is good but it's a really dark, brooding piece, not easy to carry
          off.

          ---------------------------------------------------

          Ives and Mahler occupied parallel and non-intersecting
          universes for me for many, many years. In fact, I hold Jan
          Swafford largely accountable for bringing out the obvious (which
          had nonetheless eluded me). And I don't think it was in the
          nature of a "seance" that he drew his "parallels" between the two
          composers; he was simply expounding on a connection made
          nearly two decades before by Robert Morgan, in his "Ives and
          Mahler: Mutual Responses at the End of an Era" (1978; available
          as an Adobe pdf file). Morgan in turn cited Donald Mitchell's
          earlier "Gustav Mahler: The Wunderhorn Years" (a book which I
          unfortunately do not have in my personal library). Going forward,
          at about the same time as Swafford's Ives bio was published,
          the Bard Music Festival for that year was on Ives, and the
          Festschrift from it ("Charles Ives and His World") includes an
          expectedly brilliant essay by Leon Botstein titled "Innovations and
          Nostalgia: Ives, Mahler, and the Origins of Modernism."

          I cannot recommend this Botstein essay highly enough for those
          looking for some "connective tissue" between the two
          composers, in terms of parallels in their musical aesthetic
          ("music about music" and the whole issue of borrowing and
          quotations, as well as "naturalistic" capturing of real-world
          sound).

          What really brought it all home for me was the original
          (student-days three-movement) version of "Das klagende Lied"
          in the Nagano performance:

          http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000007RXP/

          The polyrhythms and polytonalities of the off-stage village band
          in this "ur-Text" version is, if you like, "Ives with a Bohemian
          accent." Just simply avoid the various hybrid versions that
          "falsely" combine Mahler's later-revised two-movement version,
          having an altered "Der Spielmann," with the "Waldmärchen" of
          the original; the effect is simply not the same.

          I'm on the same page as Anne regarding Ben Zander's
          expository CDs that accompany his Telarc Mahler recordings.
          They are simply marvelous. But I would go one step further and
          STRONGLY recommend Ben's Mahler 9. Not only is his
          exposition both revealing and touching; the final Adagio, in its
          gorgeous opening theme in D-flat major, seemingly quotes
          "Abide with Me" (a point not lost on either Jack Diether or Deryck
          Cooke). Ben has some fascinating personal thoughts about the
          possible relationship between the D major of the opening
          Andante comodo and the D-flat major of this incredibly sublime
          movement.

          I could say much more. But I'll stop there for now.

          Bob
        • Anne Ozorio
          Brilliant stuff, Bob ! You should write this up ! It s wonderful. Mosty of what I ve picked up has been from Stuart Feder, which I can t quote from as I
          Message 4 of 29 , Oct 2, 2003
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            Brilliant stuff, Bob ! You should write this up ! It's wonderful.
            Mosty of what I've picked up has been from Stuart Feder, which I
            can't quote from as I don't have it by me. He's an Ives devotee and
            his bok on the relationship between Ives and his father is very
            moving indeed.

            Once, on holiday, Mahler and his friends visited a village fair where
            merry go rounds, rides, barrel organs, a military band and a mens
            choir were all playing together in what Mahler's friends thought was
            cacophony but Mahler himself said "Hear that ? It's polyphony, and
            that's where I get it from ! ...it's all the same whether it resounds
            in a din like this or in athouysandfold bird song, in the howling of
            the storm, the lapping of the waves, or the crackling of a fire.
            Just so - just so, from quite different directions - the themes must
            enter : and they must be just as different from each other in rhythm
            and melodic character. Everything else is just multi voiced writing,
            homophony in disguise. The only difference is that the artist orders
            and unites them all into one concordant and harmonious whole".

            Donald Mitchell (1975) quotes Elliot Carter's linking of Ives and
            Mahler stylistically, but adds "It was surely only a tradition less
            Ives who could be open to such a radical admission of every day
            sound events and random musical happenings into his music on anything
            like the scale on which Ives permitted..........but the experiences
            Mahler digested and incorporated into his music were almost without
            exception musical rather than non musical in nature and no less
            importantly, in their potentialities. It might have been, one
            guesses, that Mahler would have been intrigued by the acoustic
            experience from life that gave rise to say, Ive's Putnam Camp.......
            but one does not need to guess at all, that had Mahler written a
            piece out of that experience....the original acoustic event wuld
            have been musicalised, would have played a far less important role
            than the one allotted by Ives. For Mahler the distance between music
            and aural experiences from life even when they were experiencxes of a
            distinctly musical character represented a significant and clearl
            defined gap. For Ives, and this is surely part of his prophetic
            importance, the gap was far narrower and indeed on occasions
            altogether abolished. " (pp 169-171)

            Mitchell also takes the Tams incident as given, quoting Ives himself,
            who heard it hearsay, but possibly from a good source, and mentions
            in a footnote Wooldridge's Munich story without comment. Wooldridge
            was literally hot off the press as Mitchell was writing so Mitchell
            might not have picked up on the inconsistencies. I have a feeling
            that Bob's work to establish what happened is a really important
            first.



            Anne
            anne.ozorio@...
          • Bob Zeidler
            ... are lots of wild things in Wooldridge s book, so it would be nice to compare the two versions ! ... Anne, the Faber & Faber (London, 1975) imprint of
            Message 5 of 29 , Oct 7, 2003
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              --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "Anne Ozorio"
              <anne.ozorio@n...> wrote:

              > This would be wonderful ! And you are the guy to do it ! There
              are lots of wild things in Wooldridge's book, so it would be nice
              to compare the two versions !

              --------------------------------------------------------------

              Anne, the Faber & Faber (London, 1975) imprint of Wooldridge's
              book arrived in yesterday's mail. It is nothing more than a
              photo-offset reprint of the Alfred A. Knopf/Random House 1974
              book, with a change of title and a reduction in publishing quality
              (particularly the photos, for which the photo-offset process
              destroys their tonal range). So, for those who have "From the
              Steeples and Mountains," there is no need to acquire "Charles
              Ives: A Portrait." They are the same book.

              --------------------------------------------------------------

              Anne continues (after a big {snip}:

              >What does Stuart Feder say, or Burkholder ? I tried to read that
              in a bookshop today but it was sealed and I couldn't open it.

              --------------------------------------------------------------

              I must confess that Feder currently represents a lacuna for me.
              I've been somewhat hesitant to read his "psychobiography"
              account because too many of these "psychobiographies"
              represent "leaps into the unknown." Wooldridge makes a few of
              these leaps into the unknown himself (separate and aside from
              the Ives 3rd/Mahler connection), most particularly (and, to my way
              of thinking, distastefully), in extrapolating Ives's "psychological
              condition" as a consequence of Harmony's hysterectomy. To me,
              it comes across as a "stretch."

              As for Burkholder, I must confess to another lacuna ("All Made of
              Tunes") that will be addressed. But I DO have the
              Burkholder-edited Bard Festschrift volume, with the Botstein
              Ives/Mahler essay. Botstein, in his endnote no. 28, hews pretty
              much to the "standard" line of thought that Mahler acquired the
              score (absence of hard proof notwithstanding), but characterizes
              Wooldridge's account as "implausible," an opinion which I
              share.

              --------------------------------------------------------------

              Anne goes on to say:

              > Poor Wooldridge. When he wrote, there weren't many others
              around using strict methodology.

              --------------------------------------------------------------

              For my benefit, could you better describe what you mean here?
              Or should we simply agree to disagree on the merits of this
              approach? De gustibus and all that good stuff. :-)

              I've begun to send out informal feelers to the few Ives scholars
              whom I think I can comfortably approach. I must be somewhat
              circumspect, because the one reply I've received so far is to be
              strictly "off the record" (as I expect others will be, as well).
              Perhaps the best way to summarize the reply is (and I'm
              intentionally paraphrasing here), "Wooldridge for far too long
              was taken far too seriously, and downright literally. Mea culpa."

              I'm – at BEST – a part-time and totally amateur musicologist.
              But this "urban legend" has indeed gotten under my skin.
              (Perhaps the Carter Scholz "The Amount to Carry" fantasy was
              the tipping point.) But I'll keep digging, and report what I feel
              comfortably able to do so.

              Bob
            • quartodeciman
              Bob Zelder: ... I started with Feder a while back, but I quickly tired of it. There s lots about Charlie and dad-guilt, Parker as inadequate dad- substitute,
              Message 6 of 29 , Oct 7, 2003
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                Bob Zelder:
                ...
                > I've been somewhat hesitant to read his "psychobiography"
                ...
                > Harmony's hysterectomy
                ...
                > As for Burkholder, I must confess to another lacuna ("All Made of
                > Tunes")

                I started with Feder a while back, but I quickly tired of it.
                There's lots about Charlie and dad-guilt, Parker as inadequate dad-
                substitute, on and on.

                The film "Dissonance Like A Man" makes a point of the song "Like a
                Sick Eagle" coinciding with Harmony's hospitalization. It is about
                the most sorrowful song of Ives that I know, but it never loses its
                exquisiteness.

                "All Made of Tunes" was a joy to browse. Burkholder got over my
                head with his models of Ives' compositional strategies, but the
                examples are wonderful. I'm convinced: it's all made of tunes.

                quart
              • quartodeciman
                Please forgive the name misspell. quart
                Message 7 of 29 , Oct 7, 2003
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                  Please forgive the name misspell. quart
                • Anne Ozorio
                  Do persist with Feder, as it does have insights. It s not a superficial book. Think abourt the community Ives grew up in : all those pressures to conform,
                  Message 8 of 29 , Oct 7, 2003
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                    Do persist with Feder, as it does have insights. It's not a
                    superficial book. Think abourt the community Ives grew up in : all
                    those pressures to conform, make money, etc and there''s George Ives
                    playing around at being a musician and doing his own thing - even
                    tougher then than it would be now. Then the Civil War glamour,
                    played up to give meaning to George's life - but how far was this an
                    image ? And the mysterious mother, written out of picture by the Ives
                    clan . Lots for a sensitive kid to observe - no wonder he wrote music
                    with ideas crossing but not resolving. Also, that CEI felt he had to
                    prove himself and make millions - but outside Danbury.

                    What fascinates me is his ultimate creative impasse. At last he has
                    the means and leisure to do what he wanted : complete reversal of his
                    father cliingiing to music but then broken, forced to do menial jobs
                    for the family firm. Yet CEI stops writing ? No writer seems to come
                    to grips with what caused it, and why. Yet it's an affliction that
                    hits many creative people - Sibelius, for example, also, like Ives on
                    bthe verge of visualising perhaps the most ambitious project of his
                    life. With Sibelius, there is a sort of pattern of intense
                    creativity, followed by self doubt : as if Sibelius was almost afraid
                    of his ability to go beyond the conventions of his time.So Sibelius
                    hides what he does/doesn't do for the last 30 years of his life.

                    Swafford places a lot of emphasis on diabetes, but my own feeling is
                    that there is a lot more to it than that. There have been studies
                    into diabetes and depression - as my aunt says, it's an incurable
                    auto immune disease that will get you in the end - like AIDS - but
                    there's no causal correlation. Much is made of Harmony nursing CEI
                    and running his life and of course it's true. But in itself that
                    creates pressures. Again the parallel between Ives and Sibelius,
                    whose wife and her clan were achievers on a grand scale. But
                    Sibelius and Aino had a warm family life, baby after baby, no
                    ilnesses, no tensions.

                    We've talked about how insightful novels canm be on shedding light on
                    the human side of things. Even more so, applying understanding to
                    what we know of "fact" ?

                    .
                    Anne
                    anne.ozorio@...
                  • Bob Zeidler
                    ... Not a problem. It happens often enough. :-) Interestingly, Like a Sick Eagle is always associated with Harmony s 1909 hospitalization, despite Ives
                    Message 9 of 29 , Oct 8, 2003
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                      --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "quartodeciman"
                      <quartodeciman@h...> wrote:
                      > Please forgive the name misspell. quart

                      -----------------------------------------

                      Not a problem. It happens often enough. :-)

                      Interestingly, "Like a Sick Eagle" is always associated with
                      Harmony's 1909 hospitalization, despite Ives having written the
                      song in 1906. It's fair to say that, since Charile made the
                      association "after the fact" (with a penciled memo on the sketch
                      referencing Harmony's hospitalization), it has come down to us
                      this way.

                      Of course, this ex post facto reference in no way alters the fact
                      that this song is poignant in the extreme.
                    • quartodeciman
                      ... I did fail to look up a date for Like A Sick Eagle . But the original manuscript date seems to be an unsettled matter. Swafford says 1913. He
                      Message 10 of 29 , Oct 8, 2003
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                        ...
                        >Ives having written the song in 1906.

                        I did fail to look up a date for "Like A Sick Eagle". But the
                        original manuscript date seems to be an unsettled matter. Swafford
                        says 1913. He attributes the 1909 guess to John Kirkpatrick,
                        probably based on an added diary note. Swafford explains that Ives
                        often used his manuscripts as diary pages, sometimes adding thoughts
                        from later times. The most famous of these entries, I guess, were
                        the penciled "Rollo" insults that went into the proof for String
                        Quartet #2 and had to be manually removed. As for LASE, the Yale
                        Library database entry doesn't help to pinpoint an earlier date.

                        One can attribute the character of Ives' music for LASE from the
                        grandeur of the original Keats poem. I also hear it as yet another
                        instance of shattering the rigid note constraints of western music,
                        also exemplified in Ives' Quarter-Tone piano music and string parts
                        within the Allegretto of Symphony #4 (the pilgrims' progress).

                        quart

                        refs:

                        http://webtext.library.yale.edu/xml2html/music/ci-s8l.htm
                        YUL database|the music of Charles Ives|VIII. songs|288. Like A Sick
                        Eagle

                        Swafford, CIALWM, Norton(1996), p. 213, p. 466 note 77

                        http://www.online-literature.com/keats/485/
                        John Keats|sonnet|On Seeing the Elgin Marbles for the First Time
                      • quartodeciman
                        http://www.athensguide.com/elginmarbles/photos/index.html the Elgin (Parthenon) marbles Keats is mourning the death of Greek civilization in this poem? I
                        Message 11 of 29 , Oct 8, 2003
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                          http://www.athensguide.com/elginmarbles/photos/index.html
                          the Elgin (Parthenon) marbles

                          Keats is mourning the death of Greek civilization in this poem?

                          I suspect Ives just liked the rich words, and therefore set only the
                          beginning of the poem.

                          quart
                        • Frankie Camiola
                          The film Dissonance Like A Man makes a point of the song Like a Sick Eagle coinciding with Harmony s hospitalization. It is about the most sorrowful song
                          Message 12 of 29 , Oct 11, 2003
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                            The film "Dissonance Like A Man" makes a point of the song "Like a
                            Sick Eagle" coinciding with Harmony's hospitalization. It is about
                            the most sorrowful song of Ives that I know, but it never loses its
                            exquisiteness.


                            quart



                            Is this film available anywhere or it is broadcast on PBS every 10 years? I would love to see it.

                            Frankie


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • quartodeciman
                            I saw the film on PBS several years ago. A description and one possible seller are below. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/CharlesIvesAGoodDissonanceLikeaMan-
                            Message 13 of 29 , Oct 11, 2003
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                              I saw the film on PBS several years ago. A description and one
                              possible seller are below.

                              http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/CharlesIvesAGoodDissonanceLikeaMan-
                              1003896/preview.php
                              Charles Ives - A Good Dissonance Like A Man (1977)

                              http://www.buyindies.com/listings/3/7/FCTS-3711.html
                              BuyIndies.com, Inc.
                            • mhberest
                              ... only ... hard ... was a ... Another late post, but have to agree. Mahler s 9th is simply perfection. It carries its 80 minute running time very well,
                              Message 14 of 29 , Jun 11, 2005
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                                --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "Scott Mortensen"
                                <Scottkmort@h...> wrote:
                                >
                                > > Amazing that you have such an affinity for both of these guys. I
                                > just cannot penetrate Mahler, no matter how hard I try. He just
                                > doesn't groove with me for some reason. With Ives, which I have
                                only
                                > been into for less than one year now, I didn't have to try very
                                hard
                                > at all, and he has become near the top of composers for me.
                                > >
                                > > Frankie
                                > >
                                >
                                > Frankie,
                                >
                                > I "took" to Ives much more quickly and easily too.
                                >
                                > But Bernstein's VERY extreme Mahler 9th recording (with the
                                > Concertgebouw/DG) opened the door to Mahler for me. Especially the
                                > 1st movement. Yowee! It's a kick in gut! After hearing that, I
                                was a
                                > convert.

                                Another late post, but have to agree. Mahler's 9th is simply
                                perfection. It carries its 80 minute running time very well, indeed.
                              • mhberest
                                ... That was the program that first made me aware of Ives s music.
                                Message 15 of 29 , Jun 11, 2005
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                                  --- In charlesives@yahoogroups.com, "quartodeciman"
                                  <quartodeciman@h...> wrote:
                                  > I saw the film on PBS several years ago. A description and one
                                  > possible seller are below.
                                  >
                                  > http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/CharlesIvesAGoodDissonanceLikeaMan-
                                  > 1003896/preview.php
                                  > Charles Ives - A Good Dissonance Like A Man (1977)
                                  >
                                  > http://www.buyindies.com/listings/3/7/FCTS-3711.html
                                  > BuyIndies.com, Inc.

                                  That was the program that first made me aware of Ives's music.
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