Survey of Recordings



Ives Quotes


Essays &





Join the Discussion

Click on each work for reviews of selected recordings. I've listed the recordings of each work in order of my preference, with favorites appearing first.

Please Note:
If you have just jumped here from the Charles Ives Society site, please understand that these recommendations are based solely on the opinion of the author of this site. In no way are these views officially endorsed by the Charles Ives Society.

One other thought: I've had the pleasure of hearing many recordings of Ives' music. But I haven't heard them all. If one of your favorites isn't listed, contact me at Scottkmort@hotmail.com.

Orchestral Works

Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3, The Camp Meeting
Symphony No. 4
Holidays Symphony

Orchestral Set No. 1, Three Places in New England
Orchestral Set No. 2

Robert Browning Overture
"The Unanswered Question"
"Central Park in the Dark"
Sets for Small Orchestra Nos. 1-10
Set for Theatre Orchestra

Other Orchestral Works

Songs and Choral Works

Choral Works

Keyboard Works

Piano Sonata No. 1
Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass., 1840-1860
Other Piano Works
Organ Works

Chamber Works

String Quartets
Violin Sonatas
Piano Trio
Other Chamber Works

Arrangements and Realizations

Variations on "America" (arranged for orchestra)
Emerson Concerto
Universe Symphony
Overture from the Third Orchestral Set

Ten Essential Ives Recordings

For a quick summary of my favorite recordings, click here. If you're new to Ives' music, and you're not sure where to begin, consider taking a look here first.

Ives & Recorded Music

I think Ives would have been befuddled by the idea of a "Recordings Survey" of his works. First of all, I don't think he ever imagined that his works would be recorded so frequently. Secondly, Ives disliked records, radio, and any technology that interfered with the direct experience of live music. Consider this characteristic quote on the topic:

Radio: Art and business all hitched up together. 91 3/8% (I like to be precise) of all radio and phonograph records are "sebaceous cysts," and soft ones at that--and they sell--though if a three-year old is always fed candy for breakfast, he will always be a three-year old.

At the very least, I hope that some of these recordings are among the 8 5/8% that aren't "sebaceous cysts"!!! Despite Ives' cranky idealism, I enjoy listening to music recordings. Most people (including myself) have discovered Ives' music through the medium.

Of course, there's no substitute for live performances.



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Original text copyright Scott Mortensen 2002-2006


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