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A union of diversities : style in the music of Charles Ives

Author: Larry Starr
Publisher: New York : Schirmer Books ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
From the publication of Henry and Sidney Cowell's pioneering Charles Ives and His Music to J. Peter Burkholder's influential Charles Ives: The Ideas behind the Music, music scholars have succeeded in reassessing Ives's broad significance in twentieth-century American music. Yet, even as the composer's works have become the subject of intensive critical debate, careful analyses of his music have increasingly become  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Aufsatzsammlung
Criticism, interpretation, etc
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Starr, Larry.
Union of diversities.
New York : Schirmer Books ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992
(OCoLC)639628333
Named Person: Charles Ives; Charles Ives; Charles Ives; Charles Ives; Charles Ives
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Larry Starr
ISBN: 0028724658 9780028724652
OCLC Number: 23940447
Description: xii, 170 pages : music ; 25 cm
Contents: 1. Style and Substance: Into Analysis --
2. Juxtaposition and Sequence (I): A Walk On "Ann Street": Analysis and Its Discontents --
3. Juxtaposition and Sequence (II): Other Tone Roads: Influence --
4. Mental Journeys (I): Traditionalism and Modernism: Nostalgia or "Back to the Future"? --
5. Mental Journeys (II): Quotation: Personal, "All-American," or Universal? --
6. Juxtaposition and Sequence (III): Some Summarizing Works Performance, Professionalism, and Amateurs --
7. Layering: Song --
8. The Structuring of Styles: Additional Alternatives: Perfectionism and "Serenity" --
Postlude: Is Ives a Great Composer?
Responsibility: by Larry Starr.

Abstract:

From the publication of Henry and Sidney Cowell's pioneering Charles Ives and His Music to J. Peter Burkholder's influential Charles Ives: The Ideas behind the Music, music scholars have succeeded in reassessing Ives's broad significance in twentieth-century American music. Yet, even as the composer's works have become the subject of intensive critical debate, careful analyses of his music have increasingly become inaccessible to all but Ives specialists. In A Union of Diversities, Larry Starr offers a new understanding of Ives's extraordinary music based on the fundamental conviction that Ives need not be a specialist's composer. Starr argues that, far from being an eccentric and musically indifferent composer, Ives was genuinely engaged with the most serious and original aesthetic issues of style and coherence of his day. The key to unlocking what his music is about is style: specifically, the heterogeneity of style within a single work. Stylistic heterogeneity shatters our traditional musical expectations and simultaneously creates challenging and unprecedented expressive experiences. Using as examples Ives's incredibly diverse song literature and selected orchestral works, Starr offers a fascinating overview of the composer's complex approaches to musical style. In such well-known songs as "Tom Sails Away," "General William Booth Enters Into Heaven," and "Majority," as well as such orchestral works as "Decoration Day," Ives's imaginative use of musical materials forms distinct layers that either create new composite song styles or emphasize multiplicity. Some songs, such as "Ann Street," describe physical journeys; others, such as "The Things Our Fathers Loved," evoke "mental journeys" or the process of memory. Ives's employment of musical style in these works, while appearing to disrupt traditionally conceived continuity and unity, actually creates continuity and unity on other levels of perception. The fascinating richness and ambiguities built into his works suggest complexities of perspective long associated with the visual arts and modern literature. Starr does not propose a single system for analyzing the music of Ives, but rather a general procedure based on the composer's approach to his music. For Starr, "Ives was the most personal and idiosyncratic of composers, yet it was his very fidelity to his own unique conception of musical substance which led to a body of work that has come to be so profoundly meaningful and challenging to others."

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