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Charles Ives

Charles Ives

Born: 1874 Died: 1954

Charles Ives was the son of George Ives, a U.S. Army bandleader in the American Civil War, and his wife Mary Parmelee. A strong influence of Charles's may have been sitting in the Danbury town square, listening to his father's marching band and other bands on other sides of the square simultaneously. George Ives's unique music lessons were also a strong influence on Charles; George Ives took an open-minded approach to musical theory, encouraging his son to experiment in bitonal and polytonal harmonizations. It was from his father that Charles Ives also learned the music of Stephen Foster. Ives became a church organist at the age of 14 and wrote various hymns and songs for church services, including his Variations on 'America' . Ives moved to New Haven in 1893, enrolling in the Hopkins School where he captained the baseball team. In September 1894, Ives entered Yale University, studying under Horatio Parker. Here he composed in a choral style similar to his mentor, writing church music and even an 1896 campaign song for William McKinley. On November 4, 1894 Charles's father died, a crushing blow to the young composer, but to a large degree Ives continued the musical experimentation he had begun with George Ives.

At Yale College Charles Ives was a prominent figure; he was a member of HeBoule, Delta Kappa Epsilon (Phi chapter) and Wolf's Head Society, and sat as chairman of the Ivy Committee. He enjoyed sports at Yale and played on the varsity football team. Michael C. Murphy, his coach, once remarked that it was a crying shame that Charles Ives spent so much time at music as otherwise he could have been a champion sprinter. His works Calcium Light Night and Yale-Princeton Football Game show the influence of college and sports on Ives' composition. He wrote his Symphony No. 1 as his senior thesis under Parker's supervision.

Charles Ives continued his work as a church organist until May 1902. In 1899 he moved to employment with the insurance agency Charles H. Raymond & Co., where he stayed until 1906. In 1907, upon the failure of Raymond & Co., he and his friend Julian Myrick formed their own insurance agency Ives & Co., which later became Ives & Myrick, where he remained until he retired. During his career as an insurance executive, Ives devised creative ways to structure life-insurance packages for people of means, which laid the foundation of the modern practice of estate planning. His Life Insurance with Relation to Inheritance Tax, published in 1918, was well-received. As a result of this he achieved considerable fame in the insurance industry of his time, with many of his business peers surprised to learn that he was also a composer. In his spare time he composed music and, until his marriage, worked as an organist in Danbury and New Haven as well as Bloomfield, New Jersey and New York City. In 1907, Ives suffered the first of several "heart attacks" (as he and his family called them) that he had through out his lifetime. These attacks may have been psychological in origin rather than physical. Following his recovery from the 1907 attack, Ives entered into one of the most creative periods of his life as a composer. After marrying Harmony Twitchell in 1908, they moved into their own apartment in New York. He had a remarkably successful career in insurance, and continued to be a prolific composer until he suffered another of several heart attacks in 1918, after which he composed very little, writing his very last piece, the song Sunrise, in August 1926. In 1922, Ives published his 114 Songs which represents the breadth of his work as a composer - it includes art songs, songs he wrote as a teenager and young man, and highly dissonant songs such as "The Majority." According to his wife, one day in early 1927 he came downstairs with tears in his eyes: he could compose no more, he said, "nothing sounds right." There have been numerous theories advanced to explain the silence of his late years, which seems as mysterious as the last several decades of the life of Jean Sibelius, who also stopped composing at almost the same time. While Ives had stopped composing, and was increasingly plagued by health problems, he did continue to revise and refine his earlier work, as well as oversee premieres of his music. After continuing health problems, including diabetes, in 1930 he retired from his insurance business, which gave him more time to devote to his musical work, but he was unable to write any new music. During the 1940's he revised his Concord Sonata, publishing it in 1947 (an earlier version of the sonata and the accompanying prose volume, Essays Before a Sonata were privately printed in 1920). Ives died in 1954 in New York City.

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St. Olaf Choir : Charles Ives - The Celestial Country

Review: The Celestial Country was composed sometime before 1900, probably when Ives was organist at the fashionable First Presbyterian Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and it was scored for choir, strings and organ. This dramatic, symphonic work uses choruses, an a cappella chorus and instrumental interludes, and bold unresolved dissonances. Ives strives for a modern, more streamlined expression, though indulging in a Wagnerian finale, as much Wagner as he would ever display in a lifetime of composing. The veteran 75 mixed-voice St. Olaf Choir brings a fresh, immediate feel to this material, as if we are present for the first performance of this work in April, 1902 at Central Presbyterian Church in NYC. First we have the 12 movements of "Celestial Country," then 9 movements of "Silence Accompanied," written in the final years of Ives' creative life, the aftermath of WWI and the defeat of Wilson's plan for the League of Nations. "Aria for Baritone, "Chorus A Cappella," "Double Chorus A Cappella," "Aria for Tenor" and "Chorale & Finale" are particularly fine from "Celestial Country;" "Afterglow," "The Collection," "Duty/Vita/Duty," "Carol," "Sunrise" and "Mists" in "Silence." Beautifully illustrated, complete liner notes tell us all about the composer, the music and the Choir.

Songlist: Prelude, Trio & Chorus, Interlude, Aria for Baritone, Chorus a cappella, Interlude, Intermezzo for String Quartet, Interlude, Double chorus a cappella, Aria for Tenor, Introduction to Finale, Chorale & Finale, Silence Unaccompanied:, Adagio Sostentuto, Evening, Afterglow, The Collection, Duty/Vita/Duty, Carol, Sunrise, Hymn, Mists

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Song NameArrangerComposerArtistItem TitleFormatTrax
67 PsalmCharles IvesOpus 7From Captivity to the Holy City 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
A Christmas CarolPaul C. EcholsCharles IvesChanticleerSing We Christmas 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
A Christmas CarolCharles IvesHandel and Haydn SocietyAll Is Bright 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Adagio SostentutoCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
AfterglowCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Aria for BaritoneCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Aria for TenorCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
CarolCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Chorale & FinaleCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Chorus a cappellaCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Crossing The BarCharles IvesAmadeus ChoirAmerican Choir MusicSACDMORE DETAILS 
Double chorus a cappellaCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Duty/Vita/DutyCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
EveningCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
God Bless and Keep TheeCharles IvesAmerican BoychoirAmerican Songfest 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
HymnCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
HymnCharles IvesAmerican BoychoirAmerican Songfest 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
InterludeCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
InterludeCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
InterludeCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Intermezzo for String QuartetCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Introduction to FinaleCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Lord God, Thy Sea Is MightyCharles IvesAmadeus ChoirAmerican Choir MusicSACDMORE DETAILS 
MistsCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Prelude, Trio & ChorusCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Psalm 100Charles IvesGloriae Dei CantoresThe Lord Is My Shepherd 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Psalm 67Charles IvesBemidji Choir and Chamber SingersO Light of Light 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Psalm 67Charles IvesOxford New College ChoirCopland and His American Contemporaries 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Psalm 90Charles IvesUniversity of Texas Chamber SingersAmerican Choral Music 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Psalm 90Charles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirChoral Masterworks Vol. 3 2 CDsMORE DETAILS 
Psalm 90 (Charles Ives)Charles IvesDale Warland SingersReincarnations 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Ride onCharles IvesLionel Dakers / John Scott (Edited by)Ash Wednesday to Easter for ChoirsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
SerenityCharles IvesJoan Frey BoytimThe Second Book of Mezzo-Soprano / Alto Solos Part IISongbook & CDMORE DETAILS 
Silence Unaccompanied:Charles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Sixty-Seventh PsalmCharles IvesNational Lutheran ChoirA New Song 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
SunriseCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
The CollectionCharles IvesSt. Olaf ChoirCharles Ives - The Celestial Country 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
The Light that is FeltCharles IvesAmerican BoychoirAmerican Songfest 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Variations On "America"Charles IvesAmadeus ChoirAmerican Choir MusicSACDMORE DETAILS 
Variations On America Charles IvesCincinnati BoychoirAmerica Sings 1 CDMORE DETAILS 


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