Archive for The Housatonic at Stockbridge

Charles Ives

Posted in Music with tags , on May 19, 2009 by telescoper

This morning I was woken upĀ  by the lovely voice of Sarah Mohr-Pietsch whispering in my ear. She introduces the Breakfast programme on BBC Radio 3 when Rob Cowan isn’t doing it. As a matter of fact, I thought her name was More-Peach, but there you are. You learn something every day.

This morning Sultry Sarah reminded me that the remarkable composer Charles Ives, whom I’ve blogged about before, died 55 years ago this very day. To find something with which to mark the anniversary I had a quick look on Youtube and found this little gem.

The Housatonic at Stockbridge is best known as the last piece of Charles Ives’ Orchestral Suite No. 1 Three Places in New England. It’s a complex richly-orchestrated piece which is powerfully evocative of both the place (near the Housatonic River at Stockbridge, Massachusetts) and the time (June 1908) when he went walking there with his wife on their honeymoon. It makes great use of one of Ives’ favourite devices of juxtaposing familiar melodies with his own advanced harmonic inventions.

However, this morning I found this wonderful pared-down version for soprano voice and piano which also manages to be beautiful, but in an entirely different way…

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