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Charles IVES (1874-1954)Songs, Vol. 1
rec. May-June 2005, Sprague Hall, Yale University, New Haven, USA
NAXOS 8.559269
[74:52]
[74.52]
Charles IVES
(1874-1954)Songs, Vol. 2
rec. May-June 2005, Sprague Hall, Yale University, New Haven, USA
NAXOS 8.559270 [67.37]
Experience Classicsonline



As I write this review, I realize that Naxos has moved on very quickly and there are now five volumes of Ives’ complete songs available in the shops. Nevertheless the pattern for these discs seems to have been repeated for the latest ones so I can throw some light on what they are all about and what you can expect.

It’s true to say that not all of the performers are equally up to the tasks which Ives sets his poor singers. The right singer has not always been chosen for a particular song. Also some of the songs are rather ‘naff’. I would go so far as to say that ‘The All-Enduring’, on Volume 1 is almost the worst piece of music I have ever encountered. It is not helped by an overly earnest performance. I love Ives but when he is in this sort of pompous mood I just have to walk away. Things are not helped in this long song - as sometimes elsewhere - by not being able to hear the words. So before you start I strongly advise you to go on the Naxos website and download them. Incidentally, best of luck with this because from my experience the procedure is awkward and inconsistent.

Ives published his 114 songs - many very short indeed - in 1922. There are in fact about sixty others which form part of this complete collection. We may be coming to terms with his modernistic and later songs but this complete collection helps us to get to know the ‘Victoriana’ as well. The chromaticisms are such as to remind me of César Franck in for instance ‘Far from my heavenly home’. By 1922 he was approaching the end of his composing career although he had many years yet to live. I am a firm believer that the music written from about 1914 onwards is pure nostalgia. These songs - or indeed several of the orchestral works - often begin with a strange polytonal chord and then proceed in a similar manner supporting a tonal melody. One example is ‘August’ where the mood is captured superbly by David Pittsinger on Naxos. Incidentally, his diction is always immaculate and I was delighted to discover that it is he who tackles, excellently, the famous but challenging ‘General William Booth enters into Heaven’ on Volume 2.

Looking through Ives’ choice of poetry is interesting as there is such a huge range which must represent his personal reading and interests. The anonymous ones may, in some cases be his own poetry although, as can be seen above he did normally credit himself. Perhaps ‘Far in the Wood’ may be such a poem. He also set texts in German where Wolf is almost looking over his shoulder. There are also French settings however the chanson ‘Elegie’ is a long way from Fauré.

Gary Higginson

See also review by John Sheppard

 
 
 
Tracklisting IVES, Charles: (1874-1954) Songs, Vol. 1


1, 2, 3 [0.34]
Ives, Charles, lyricist(s)
Carfizzi, Patrick, bass-baritone
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Abide with me [3.42]
Lyte, Henry Francis, lyricist(s)
Jakubiak, Sara, soprano
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Aeschylus and Sophocles [4.39]
Landor, Walter Savage, lyricist(s)
Phillips, Mary, mezzo-soprano
Garritson, Laura, piano
Biava Quartet
 
Afterglow [2.25]
Cooper, James Fenimore, lyricist(s)
Wool, Leah, mezzo-soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
Allegro [2.20]
lyricist(s)
Berman, Lielle, soprano
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
The All-Enduring [7.12]
Ives, Charles lyricist
Gardner, Robert, baritone
Penna, J.J., piano
 
Amphion [1.19]
Tennyson, Alfred, lyricist(s)
Jakubiak, Sara, soprano
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Ann Street [0.57]
Morris, Maurice, lyricist(s)
Wool, Leah, mezzo-soprano
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
At Parting [2.05]
Peterson, Frederick, lyricist(s)
Tarver, Kenneth, tenor
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
At Sea [1.25]
Johnson, Robert Underwood, lyricist(s)
Howell, Ian, counter-tenor
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
At the River [2.09]
Lowry, Robert, lyricist(s)
Jakubiak, Sara, soprano
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
August [3.02]
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, lyricist(s)
Pittsinger, David, bass
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Autumn [2.37]
Twichell Ives, Harmony, lyricist(s)
Cabot, Jennifer Casey, soprano
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Because of You [3.01]
Ives, Charles
Pittsinger, David, bass
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Because Thou Art [2.25]
Ives, Charles
Pittsinger, David, bass
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Berceuse [1.59]
Ives, Charles, lyricist(s)
Phillips, Mary, mezzo-soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
The Cage [1.04]
Gardner, Robert, baritone
Penna, J.J., piano
 
The Camp Meeting [4.44]
Ives, Charles / Elliott, Charlotte, lyricist(s)
Pittsinger, David, bass
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Canon I [1.03]
Ives, Charles
Tarver, Kenneth, tenor
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Canon II [1.14]
Moore, Thomas, lyricist(s)
Jakubiak, Sara, soprano
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Chanson de Florian [2.00]
Florian, Jean Pierre Claris de, lyricist(s)
Phillips, Mary, mezzo-soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
Charlie Rutlage [2.41]
O'Malley, Dominick John Kid, lyricist(s)
Carfizzi, Patrick, bass-baritone
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
The Children's Hour [2.28]
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, lyricist(s)
Wool, Leah, mezzo-soprano
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Edith Osborne Ives - Christmas Carol [3.46]
Plenk, Matthew, tenor
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
A Christmas Carol [2.44]
Ives, Charles, lyricist(s)
Howell, Ian, counter-tenor
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
The Circus Band [2.11]
Ives, Charles, lyricist(s)
Gardner, Robert, baritone
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
The Collection [3.00]
Ives, Charles
Berman, Lielle, soprano
Jakubiak, Sara, soprano
Mumford, Tamara, mezzo-soprano
Plenk, Matthew, tenor
Cavalieri, Michael, baritone
Teardo, Frederick, organ
 
Country Celestial[3.44]
Neale, John Mason, lyricist(s)
Wool, Leah, mezzo-soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
Cradle Song [2.23]
Ives, Augusta L., lyricist(s)
Phillips, Mary, mezzo-soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
Recorded May-June 2005 in Sprague Hall, Yale University, New Haven , USA
Naxos 8.559269 [74.52]


IVES, Charles: (1874-1954) Songs, Vol. 2
December [1.10]
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, lyricist(s)
Baty, Janna, soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
Disclosure [1.14]
Ives, Charles, lyricist(s)
Plenk, Matthew, tenor
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Down East [3.12]
Gardner, Robert, baritone
Garritson, Laura, piano
 
Dreams [4.01]
Strelezki, Anton, lyricist(s)
Tarver, Kenneth, tenor
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Du alte Mutter [2.27]
Linje, Aasmund Olavsson, lyricist(s)
Ives, Charles
Cavalieri, Michael, baritone
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Du bist wie eine Blume [1.50]
Heine, Heinrich, lyricist(s)
Mumford, Tamara, mezzo-soprano
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Elegie [4.56]
Gallet, Louis, lyricist(s)
Wool, Leah, mezzo-soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
The Ending Year [3.02]
Ives, Charles
Jakubiak, Sara, soprano
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Evening [2.05]
Milton, John, lyricist(s)
Phillips, Mary, mezzo-soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
Evidence [1.44]
Ives, Charles, lyricist(s)
Plenk, Matthew, tenor
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Eyes so dark (Weil' auf mir) [2.09]
Lenau, Nikolaus, lyricist(s)
Plenk, Matthew, tenor
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Far from my heav'nly home [4.28]
Lyte, Henry Francis, lyricist(s)
Mumford, Tamara, mezzo-soprano
Teardo, Frederick, organ
 
Far in the wood [1.46]
Ives, Charles
Berman, Lielle, soprano
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
A Farewell to Land [1.53]
Byron, Lord (George Gordon Byron), lyricist(s)
Wool, Leah, mezzo-soprano
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
La Fede [0.54]
Ariosto, Ludovico, lyricist(s)
Wool, Leah, mezzo-soprano
Penna, J.J., piano
 
Feldeinsamkeit [2.56]
Allmers, Hermann, lyricist(s)
Cavalieri, Michael, baritone
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Flag Song [2.23]
Durand, Henry S., lyricist(s)
Pittsinger, David, bass
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Forward into Light [4.00]
Alford, Henry, lyricist(s)
Cabot, Jennifer Casey, soprano
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Friendship [3.23]
Ives, Charles
Plenk, Matthew, tenor
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
Fruhlingslied [2.06]
Heine, Heinrich, lyricist(s)
Buck, Heather, soprano
Trudel, Eric, piano
 
General William Booth Enters into Heaven [5.37]
Lindsay, Vachel, lyricist(s)
Pittsinger, David, bass
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
God Bless and Keep Thee [2:30]
Mumford, Tamara, mezzo-soprano
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Grace [1:39]
Ives, Charles
 
Grantchester [3.12]
Brooke, Rupert, lyricist(s)
Cavalieri, Michael, baritone
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
The Greatest Man [1.25]
Collins, Anne, lyricist(s)
Cavaliere, Michael, baritone
Dickson, Douglas, piano
 
Gruss [1.35]
Heine, Heinrich, lyricist(s)
Kittelberger, Sumi, soprano
Trudel, Eric
 
Recorded May-June 2005 in Sprague Hall, Yale University, New Haven, USA
Naxos 8.559270 [67.37]


 


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