Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Charles Ives: Pieces for Chamber Orchestra and Songs

From an early age, Charles Ives learned about musical experimentation from his father, George Ives, who was the bandmaster in Danbury, CT. His father often experimented with sound and included Charles in his experiments. For instance, his father would ask him to sing a song in one key while it was being played in a different key on the piano. A fun interactive website that demonstrates some of George Ives' musical experimentation can be found here

Charles took the musical experiences of his childhood and incorporated them into his own compositions, creating a unique (albeit oft-considered strange) musical voice. He worked predominantly as an insurance salesman and composed on the side. His efforts won him the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1947.

This album features works that are far less familiar than pieces such as "Three Places in New England," his "Variations on America" for organ, or "The Unanswered Question." It includes performances of smaller chamber works, songs for voice, and a piano sonata.  I recommend this album for when you need to feel highly uncomfortable.

J. Peter Burkholder, et al. "Ives, Charles." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music OnlineOxford University PressWeb4 Oct. 2016.<http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/ grove/music/A2252967>.

Ives, Charles, Harold Farberman, Corinne Curry, Luise Vosgerchian, and Bentley Layton. Chamber Pieces: Songs ; Piano Sonata. Wellesley, Mass: Cambridge, 1963. Sound recording.

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Since earning her Ph.D. in music theory and history from the University of Connecticut in 2014, Dr. Sekula has been a full-time faculty member with the department of music at USAO where she teaches the music theory curriculum and conducts the concert band. Sekula also serves as the coordinator for the department of music. She has previously earned Bachelor’s degrees in music education and flute performance from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s of Music in flute performance from George Mason University. Sekula has studied flute with Barbara Divine, Dr. Theresa Bowers, Judith Lapple, and Dr. Barbara Hopkins.