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Charles Ives's Concord – Essays after a Sonata - Illinois Scholarship Online
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Charles Ives's Concord: Essays after a Sonata

Kyle Gann


In January 1921, New York insurance company executive Charles Ives mailed self-published scores of a piano sonata he had written to 200 strangers. Unprecedentedly complex and modern beyond any music the recipients had seen before, the piece was subtitled “Concord, Mass., 1840-1860,” and the four sonata movements were named for American authors: “Emerson,” “Hawthorne,” “The Alcotts,” “Thoreau.” Ridiculed in the press at first, the Concord Sonata gained admirers (including composers like Copland and Gershwin and writers like Henry Bellamann), and when finally given its complete world premiere by ... More

Keywords: Charles Ives, musical complexity, bitonality, whole-tone scale, modernism, Transcendentalism, musical analysis, Emerson, Thoreau, Ruskin, Hawthorne, The Celestial Rail-Road, Horace Bushnell, musical aesthetics, Concord Sonata, Louisa May Alcott, Bronson Alcott, musical quotation, Columbia the Gem of the Ocean, pythagorean tuning/temperament, program music, Tolstoy, Henry Sturt

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780252040856
Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2018 DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040856.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kyle Gann, author
Bard College