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Books About Music

Biographies

I
Ives

Charles Ives

Charles Ives Remembered: An Oral History
Charles Ives Remembered: An Oral History. Vivian Perlis. University of Illinois Press. 1994/2002. ISBN 025207078X (paperback).
Interweaving photographs, concert programs, scores, and drawings with the texts of more than fifty interviews with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, Charles Ives Remembered is a vivid memory portrait of an enigmatic American composer, told in the voices of the people who knew him best. Charles Ives (1874-1954) was publicly an insurance executive but privately a composer whose eccentric works and paradoxical life would intrigue, perplex, and inspire generations to come after him. Moving from Ives's childhood and years at Yale to his business and musical careers, the memories and reflections assembled in this Kinkeldey Award-winning volume provide a multifaceted and humanizing view of an American musical icon.

Charles Ives and His World. J. Peter Burkholder (Editor). Princeton University Press. 1996. ISBN 0691011648 (hardcover), 069101163X (paperback).
This volume shows Charles Ives in the context of his world in a number of revealing ways. Five new essays examine Ives's relationships to European music and to American music, politics, business, and landscape. J. Peter Burkholder shows Ives as a composer well versed in four distinctive musical traditions who blended them in his mature music. Leon Botstein explores the paradox of how, in the works of Ives and Mahler, musical modernism emerges from profoundly antimodern sensibilities. David Michael Hertz reveals unsuspected parallels between one of Ives's most famous pieces, the Concord Piano Sonata, and the piano sonatas of Liszt and Scriabin. Michael Broyles sheds new light on Ives's political orientation and on his career in the insurance business, and Mark Tucker shows the importance for Ives of his vacations in the Adirondacks and the representation of that landscape in his music. The remainder of the book presents documents that illuminate Ives's personal life. A selection of some sixty letters to and from Ives and his family, edited and annotated by Tom C. Owens, is the first substantial collection of Ives correspondence to be published. Two sections of reviews and longer profiles published during his lifetime highlight the important stages in the reception of Ives's music, from his early works through the premieres of his most important compositions to his elevation as an almost mythic figure with a reputation among some critics as America's greatest composer.

Charles Ives: A Life With Music
Charles Ives: A Life With Music. Jan Swafford. W.W. Norton & Company. 1996. ISBN 0393038939 (hardcover).
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.

Charles E. Ives: Memos. John Kirkpatrick (Editor). W.W. Norton & Company. 1991. ISBN 039302153X (hardcover), 0393307565 (paperback).
A primary source book on Charles E. Ives, this volume presents most of the previously unpublished writings of the American composer. These "memos", as Ives called them, dealt with his music, composition, criticism, autobiography, biography and other topics. During his lifetime Ives rearranged them, lent them out, mislaid and tucked them away in books so that, in the late 1940s, only about three-fifths of them were available to his biographer. After his death in 1954, Ives's papers were gradually put in order and here have been arranged into three sections, edited and annotated by John Kirkpatrick. Part One, "Pretext", sets forth Ives's aims, his views on music, critics and criticism. In part Two, "Scrapbook", Ives discusses his music. Part Three, "Memories", is devoted to biographical and autobiographical remembrances.

Charles Ives Reconsidered
Charles Ives Reconsidered. Gayle Sherwood Magee. University of Illinois Press. 2008. ISBN 0252033264 (hardcover).
This book reexamines a number of critical assumptions about the life and works of this significant American composer, drawing on many new sources to explore Ives's creative activities within broader historical, social, cultural, and musical perspectives. Gayle Sherwood Magee offers the first large-scale rethinking of Ives's musical development based on the controversial revised chronology of his music. Using as a guide Ives's own dictum that "the fabric of existence weaves itself whole," Charles Ives Reconsidered offers several new paths to understanding all of Ives's music as the integrated and cohesive work of a controversial composer who was very much a product of his time and place. Magee portrays Ives's life, career and posthumous legacy against the backdrop of his musical and social environments from the Gilded Age to the present. The book includes contemporary portraits of the composer, his peers, and his teachers, as seen through archival materials, published reviews, and both historical and modern critical assessments.
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