Tue 14 Mar, 2006 03:32 am
Ives's Symphony No. 2, that is.
I'd almost forgotten how exhilarating it is. It's a great reminder that, for all the fuss that's made of the "modernism" of his other works, Ives was fundamentally a Romantic from start to finish.
Thanks for mentioning. I love classical music, but am not too fond of the more modern pieces. I will have to check it out!
Amusingly, Ives would have agreed with you; he wasn't too fond of modern music either! He thought of himself as a Romantic in an unRomantic age. Nonetheless, he's been canonized into the "modernist" camp because of his heavy dissonance (as if that were enough!) and because he is purported to have anticipated many of the "modern" innovations of 20th century composers (musicologists are currently fighting this one out... some claim that Ives changed the dates on his scores to make it seem like he was ahead of time, when he found out he was being prized for his "radical" style).
20th century music tends to be my favorite kind, but I'm astounded by how much more compelling Ives's music in particular sounds when I think of it as being written by a nostalgic Romantic rather than a precocious Modern. Somehow it all sounds tremendously more... "honest," for lack of a better word. And not just the 2nd Symphony. But definitely give the 2nd Symphony a try. (It's more than a hundred years old now... barely modern even at the time it was written!) I'm sure you'll love it.
Shapeless- It's so strange. To me, Stravinsky is a modern composer, although his work is almost 100 years old. I do like his earlier works, (Firebird, Rite of Spring, Petruchka) His later work, fuggedaboudit!
Phoenix--Stravinsky of the 1920s and 30s is a tragic situation for me: the appeal of the music is inversely proportional to the distastefulness of the politics behind it (in my opinion)! As much as I want to persuade you to give pieces like Oedipus rex or the Symphony of Psalms a second shot, I can't bring myself to do it. They're beautiful, perfectly accessible, well-crafted... and frightening.
Interestingly, I've found that people who don't like the Stravinsky after the ballets do tend to like the very late stuff. I don't know why. Are you familiar with Agon?