Charles Ives: A Life with Music

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9780393317190: Charles Ives: A Life with Music
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An illuminating portrait of a man whose innovative works profoundly influenced the course of twentieth-century American classical music.

Jan Swafford's colorful biography first unfolds in Ives's Connecticut hometown of Danbury, then follows Ives to Yale and on to his years in New York, where he began his double career as composer and insurance executive. The Charles Ives that emerges from Swafford's story is a precocious, well-trained musician, a brilliant if mercurial thinker about art and life, and an experimenter in the spirit of Edison and the Wright brothers.

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This is a scholarly assessment of the American composer Charles Ives, whose life and work have remained enigmatic since his death in 1954. A successful insurance executive in Hartford, Connecticut, Ives used a considerable part of his tidy income to promote serious modern music, and despite his day job maintained a prolific output of scores himself. He was a robustly opinionated and confident individual who eschewed easy listening; his atonal works were considered almost un-American. Yet he also sought recognition that just eluded him in his lifetime. Ives is increasingly known around the world. Jan Swafford, himself a composer, should help win even more interest with this sympathetic biography.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A decent, thoughtful, and idealistic biography of American music's radical idealist. Judged by the first criterion of musical biography--does it make us want to listen to the music?--this portrait of ``Charlie'' Ives must be counted a success. Yankee bandmaster's son, Yalie, rebel modernist, insurance executive, and Romantic visionary who spent the last quarter-century of his life retouching a ``Universe'' symphony that was never completed to his satisfaction: The outline of the story is familiar to readers with a general interest in 20th-century American music. Swafford's personal slant is frankly to admit his own sympathy with the social progressivism that underlay Ives's approach to both his art and his go-getting business career. Unlike the psychobiographers who have been attracted to Ives (see Stuart Feder's Charles Ives, ``My Father's Song''), Swafford has no interest in probing Ives's weaknesses. He is receptive to, rather than critical of, the expansive, can-do, ``universalist individualism''--a legacy from the 19th-century Transcendentalists whom Ives ``portrayed'' in the Concord Sonata- -which shaped Ives's beliefs about family, marriage, career, and artistic output. Since the author owns to this empathetic approach to his subject, the reader is readier to pardon the occasional gushing quality of Swafford's prose and some questionable, frankly subjective music judgements (e.g., The Unanswered Question is not a work of Ives's musical maturity). To his credit, Swafford has done a good job of setting out the gratifying story of how Ives's music was championed and actively promoted by other composers and musical leaders, including Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, Leonard Bernstein, and Leopold Stokowski. A conscientious, intellectually honest sifting of the plentiful evidence, though undoubtedly not the last word on its subject. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9780393038934: Charles Ives: A Life With Music

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ISBN 10:  0393038939 ISBN 13:  9780393038934
Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc, 1996
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Book Description WW Norton & Co, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English. Brand new Book. Jan Swafford's colorful biography first unfolds in Ives's Connecticut hometown of Danbury, then follows Ives to Yale and on to his years in New York, where he began his double career as composer and insurance executive. The Charles Ives that emerges from Swafford's story is a precocious, well-trained musician, a brilliant if mercurial thinker about art and life, and an experimenter in the spirit of Edison and the Wright brothers. Seller Inventory # APC9780393317190

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Book Description WW Norton & Co, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English. Brand new Book. Jan Swafford's colorful biography first unfolds in Ives's Connecticut hometown of Danbury, then follows Ives to Yale and on to his years in New York, where he began his double career as composer and insurance executive. The Charles Ives that emerges from Swafford's story is a precocious, well-trained musician, a brilliant if mercurial thinker about art and life, and an experimenter in the spirit of Edison and the Wright brothers. Seller Inventory # APC9780393317190

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Book Description W. W. Norton & Company. Paperback. Condition: New. 544 pages. Dimensions: 9.2in. x 6.1in. x 1.4in.An illuminating portrait of a man whose innovative works profoundly influenced the course of twentieth-century American classical music. Jan Swaffords colorful biography first unfolds in Ivess Connecticut hometown of Danbury, then follows Ives to Yale and on to his years in New York, where he began his double career as composer and insurance executive. The Charles Ives that emerges from Swaffords story is a precocious, well-trained musician, a brilliant if mercurial thinker about art and life, and an experimenter in the spirit of Edison and the Wright brothers. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780393317190

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