Ives’s “Thoreau” music takes its cue from several passages in Thoreau’s Walden, including a musical depiction of three walking tours that basically circumnavigate Walden Pond from Thoreau’s cabin. Quotations from the Stephen Foster song “Massa’s in de Cold, Cold Ground” create a political quandary, but the music devolves into a calm ostinato that reflects nature’s unhurried pace. A flute that enters at the end refers to Thoreau’s habit of playing the flute from his boat in Walden Pond.
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