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Cultural SustainabilitiesMusic, Media, Language, Advocacy$
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Timothy J. Cooley

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042362

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042362.001.0001

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The New River Updated

The New River Updated

Charles Ives and the Disappearing River Gods

(p.113) Chapter 9 The New River Updated
Cultural Sustainabilities
Timothy J. Cooley
University of Illinois Press

In 1911 Charles Ives wrote “The New River,” a song unique among his works for its outspoken environmentalist stance. Composed in direct response to the diversion of waters from Ives's beloved Housatonic River to feed New York City reservoirs and plans for constructing a dam, the song also captured widespread national outrage over the Hetch Hetchy Dam being built at the same time through Yosemite National Park. Combining transcendentalist understandings of nature with more contemporary arguments to save Hetch Hetchy published by Robert Underwood Johnson and John Muir, Ives's song sounds his belief “the fabric of life weaves itself whole.”

Keywords:   Charles Ives, environmentalist, Hetch Hetchy, Housatonic River, John Muir, Robert Underwood Johnson, transcendentalist, Yosemite National Park

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