Breaking Time's Arrow: Experiment and Expression in the Music of Charles Ives (Musical Meaning and Interpretation)

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9780253012739: Breaking Time's Arrow: Experiment and Expression in the Music of Charles Ives (Musical Meaning and Interpretation)
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Charles Ives (1874–1954) moved traditional compositional practice in new directions by incorporating modern and innovative techniques with nostalgic borrowings of 19th century American popular music and Protestant hymns. Matthew McDonald argues that the influence of Emerson and Thoreau on Ives's compositional style freed the composer from ordinary ideas of time and chronology, allowing him to recuperate the past as he reached for the musical unknown. McDonald links this concept of the multi-temporal in Ives’s works to Transcendentalist understandings of eternity. His approach to Ives opens new avenues for inquiry into the composer's eclectic and complex style.

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About the Author:

Matthew McDonald is Associate Professor of Music at Northeastern University.

Review:

McDonald's work is always stimulating and never dull, consistently enriching the experience of the music. Ultimately, it also deepens our understanding of Ives the person, weaving together threads of art and biography.

(Music Theory Spectrum)

McDonald investigates both the temporal and spatial effects of multidirectional motion, as well as its ramifications for understanding some of the larger philosophical issues that are raised in Ives’s music.May 2015 (Music & Letters)

Overall, McDonald’s book is a useful contribution to Ives scholarship . . . the book
lays a solid foundation for further investigations of temporality in Ives’s music. (Journal of the Society for American Music)

McDonald brings together analytic and personal factors to sharpen the image of the composer in convincing ways. . . . This book . . . deserves a close reading. The bibliography provides a select list of scores and recordings as well as articles, books, catalogues, and unpublished commentaries. This book is recommended for college and university libraries and for readers with a music theory background. (Music Reference Services Quarterly)

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