Thomas: Ives - Symphony no.3, 4, Selected American Hymns (24/192 FLAC)
Thomas: Ives – Symphony no.3, 4, Selected American Hymns (24/192 FLAC)

Composer: Charles Ives
Performer: San Francisco Symphony Chorus
Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: SFS Media
Release: 2019
Size: 2.51 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. trad.: O for a Thousand Tongues
02. trad.: What a Friend
03. trad.: There is a Fountain
04. trad.: Happy Land
05. trad.: Just As I Am

Symphony No. 3, “The Camp Meeting”
06. I. Old Folks Gatherin’ (Andante maestoso)
07. II. Children’s Day (Allegro)
08. III. Communion (Largo)

09. trad.: Sweet By and By
10. trad.: Beulah Land
11. trad.: Ye Christian Heralds
12. trad.: Jesus, Lover of My Soul
13. trad.: From Greenland’s Icy Mountains
14. trad.: Nearer, My God, to Thee

Symphony No. 4
15. I. Prelude (Maestoso)
16. II. Comedy (Allegretto)
17. III. Fugue (Andante moderato)
18. IV. Finale (Largo maestoso)

A bit of an oddball in the world of music to say the least, Charles Ives grew up in Connecticut in a culture that was very open-minded about music. His father was a bandmaster for the US Army and delighted in simultaneous musical clashes that most people would find unbearable, whether it was a melody played in a key with false relation or the sounds and rhythms of different marching bands overlapping during a parade. Asynchronism therefore made total sense to a young Ives growing up in this environment.
After graduating from Yale with some difficulty, Ives preferred the financial stability that came with working as an insurance agent and became quite the astute businessman, only composing music in his spare time. He stopped writing music in 1927 at the age of fifty-three as he was fed up with the lack of interest in his work, however it was at precisely this time that people began to take an interest in it.
His music was often inspired by the hymns sung in New England and tended to blend rhythms and harmonies, making it difficult to understand. Symphony No. 3, subtitled The Camp Meeting, is derived from a Protestant hymn tune and is a clear evocation of a religious-assembly in 19th century America. This religious element has been emphasized in the album conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas as he added around ten choral contributions of the same genre. As for Symphony No. 4, it didn’t have a complete performance for quite some time due to the sheer complexity of its rhythms and when it was finally performed it required multiple conductors, which is why during its première, war veteran Leopold Stokovski was assisted by two young colleagues. Michael Tilson Thomas is a true champion of American music and has already devoted a number of monographs to the brilliant work of Charles Ives, showcasing him as a musical pioneer notably through the complete symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra (Sony Classical). He returns here to conduct the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for whom he has been Music Director since 1995, but will be leaving in 2020.

Leave a Reply