Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lydian String Quartet
"Ives: The String Quartets" (CD)

Charles Ives could probably be regarded as the first unique and original American composer.
Copland canonized the language and "sound" of American symphonic music, but Ives, (who preceded Copland by roughly a generation) was the first American composer who, taking the Western European traditions of "classical" music began the process of devolving idioms and tradition, plunging head-long into the fray by stacking poly-phonic and rhythmic ideas on top of each other.

Ives' approach is still decidedly forward-thinking.  He seems unconcerned with whether or not the ear can distinguish from one motive to the next. Like a Robert Altman film, each voice is given equal prominence and attention, letting the listener decide which journey they will begin.

Study of Ives' first string quartet is necessary for its performance in a couple weeks by my ensemble.  I hope the time I have is enough to adequately absorb everything Ives wrote into this work.

No comments: