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Charles Ives Concord sonata

May 3, 2012

The opening of this amazing work reminds me of the Kreutzer sonata for violin and piano. Get it right, and somehow the rest of the movement plays itself. Get it not quite right, and it becomes a struggle to get it going. It wants to become a wrestling match with the music tugging away from you.
And it’s no use taking the lion-tamer approach either – trying to make this piece cringe and cower means humiliation, not for Ives, but the pianist.
Back to those opening octaves to try and find the magic…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2012 4:52 pm

    I think Emerson is like a cathedral. Hawthorne is like a jeering impish statue inside it that serves to remind us that for all the cathedral’s majestic nature, the banal, grotesque element is equally vital to art. It’s amusing that Ives goes to the trouble of undermining himself.

  2. April 15, 2013 9:02 pm

    For me, it’s got to be The Alcotts and the obbligato viola, but I’m biased.

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