Selected Correspondence of Charles Ives

Selected Correspondence of Charles Ives

EDITED BY TOM C. OWENS
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Pages: 410
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppr8v
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Selected Correspondence of Charles Ives
    Book Description:

    This authoritative volume of 453 letters written by and to composer Charles Ives (1874-1954) provides unparalleled insight into one of the most extraordinary and paradoxical careers in American music history. The most comprehensive collection of Ives's correspondence in print, this book opens a direct window on Ives's complex personality and his creative process. Though Ives spent much of his career out of the mainstream of professional music-making, he corresponded with a surprisingly large group of musicians and critics, including John J. Becker, Henry Bellamann, Leonard Bernstein, John Cage, Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, Ingolf Dahl, Walter Damrosch, Lehman Engel, Clifton J. Furness, Lou Harrison, Bernard Herrmann, John Kirkpatrick, Serge Koussevitzky, John Lomax, Francesco Malipiero, Radiana Pazmor, Paul Rosenfeld, Carl Ruggles, E. Robert Schmitz, Nicolas Slonimsky, and Peter Yates.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93228-9
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    Charles Ives (1874–1954) wrote hundreds of letters during his life, and, taken together, they provide one of the most comprehensive sources of information about him, second in scope only to his music. The Charles Ives Papers preserve letters and drafts for letters to and from Ives that span a period from 1881 until after his death in 1954. As Ives aged, correspondence became his primary connection to the world and an important instrument through which he defined himself and shaped perceptions of his character and music. The collected correspondence gives us a perspective on the public and private man...

  6. 1 CHILDHOOD, HOPKINS, AND YALE (1881–1903)
    (pp. 7-34)

    From his earliest letters Ives comes across as a strong personality, active in play, sports, music, and occasional mischief. The surviving letters from his childhood are addressed to his grandmother Sarah Ives, his aunt Amelia Brewster, and his father, George. Many of them were mailed from the beach house that the extended Ives clan occupied every summer in Westbrook, Connecticut. There life was a whirl of swimming, tennis, sailing, rowing, baseball, and croquet with his brother, Moss, his cousins, and his uncle Lyman Brewster. He also mentioned going to concerts and rehearsals and described traveling by himself, by train, to...

  7. 2 COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE (1907–1908)
    (pp. 35-53)

    Ives met Harmony Twichell through her brother David, his classmate and friend at Yale. Although they attended the Junior Promenade together in 1896, the pair did not begin a serious courtship until the late summer of 1905, when Ives spent several weeks with the Twichells at Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Harmony and her brother, a nurse and doctor respectively, worked in the tuberculosis sanitarium at the lake, and it was David, perhaps concerned about Charlie ’s health, who invited his old school friend up to take a break from his punishing routine of daily...

  8. 3 CALL AND RESPONSE (1911–1936)
    (pp. 54-92)

    One of the most important contributions of the correspondence as a whole is its revelation of Ives’s efforts to bring his music to the public. The first glimpses we have of this long and ultimately fruitful effort comes in an exchange of letters with Walter Damrosch (1862–1950), the conductor of the New York Symphony. In 1910 and 1911 Ives sent Damrosch clear ink copies of the Second and Third Symphonies, ostensibly to find out if it would be possible to have the scores played in rehearsal and also in hopes of interesting the conductor in programming them. The group...

  9. 4 HEALTH (1907–1954)
    (pp. 93-139)

    The correspondence offers extensive documentation of the state of Ives’s health, especially from about 1930 until his death in 1954. There is also more fragmentary evidence from earlier periods, such as the year leading up to his marriage in June 1908.¹ The nature and extent of Ives’s health problems during and after his period of active composition have posed a vexing series of questions for biographers and students of his music.² Ives suffered from diabetes, for which he was eventually treated with insulin injections by about 1930; we do not know when the disease first developed. Ives also had at...

  10. 5 COLLABORATORS AND CHAMPIONS(1923–1933)
    (pp. 140-189)

    The publication and dissemination of theConcord Sonata,Essays, and114 Songswere the first steps in the process of introducing Ives’s works to the musical public. Because of the unusual method of distribution, to say nothing of the unconventionality of the music itself, much more work remained to be done before most musicians would take Ives and his works seriously. A small group of performers, conductors, promoters, and critics appreciated or became curious about the music, and it was these people who began to correspond with Ives and to bring his works to light.

    187. 22 January 1923, from Clifton...

  11. 6 TRAVEL (1930–1938)
    (pp. 190-208)

    Both because of the clearly local qualities of many of his works and because of the indelible image of Ives as the crusty New Englander, it is hard to imagine him anywhere other than New York or Connecticut. Yet the Ives family took four long trans-Atlantic trips to England, Scotland, and the Continent. The first, to England, was between 30 July and 13 September 1924. No letters survive to mark this trip. Most of the correspondence that describes travel dates from the 1930s. The examples included below round out our understanding of Ives as a person and also provide a...

  12. 7 EDITORS AND PERFORMERS (1933–1944)
    (pp. 209-314)

    Throughout the 1930s and 1940s Ives continued to work with many of the musicians who had begun to champion his work. He also developed important new relationships with the musicians who inquired about him or his scores. As performances of his works became more common, the pace of organizing his manuscripts and editing them for performance and publication picked up. Meanwhile, Ives’s health continued its cyclic pattern of good periods followed by slumps in which work on music and almost all activity became nearly impossible. As he entered his seventh decade, however, his overall health declined, and he became even...

  13. 8 FINAL YEARS (1945–1954)
    (pp. 315-372)

    The last decade of his life saw Ives’s health decline more steadily. He was able to write fewer letters, even through sketching and transcription, and Harmony Ives wrote more of their letters herself. The growing acceptance of the music, highlighted by the award of the Pulitzer Prize for the Third Symphony in 1947 and Leonard Bernstein’s performance of the Second Symphony with the New York Philharmonic in 1951, was a source of great satisfaction. It also increased the volume of mail at a time when neither of the Iveses was fully able to cope with the flow. Nevertheless, Ives’s final...

  14. APPENDIX: LIST OF LETTERS AND FORMATS
    (pp. 373-386)
  15. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 387-390)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 391-400)