Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
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sugar. . . . That does not mean that there is not any real 'effect.' On the contrary, the effect is the greater for this absence of blandishments, which could only disperse it. Sometimes the effect is not easy, not within everyone's reach. The more reason why the aristocrats of song should turn to Ireland and prove their worth."In glancing over the equally commendable chamber music which Ireland has produced with such aptness, especially his very famous Sonata for 'Cello and Piano, Hubert J. Foss thus analyzes Ireland's style: "In Ireland's music texture has always been of considerable importance. . . . Ireland's musical texture was absorbingly rich, full of harmony and color and arabesque; elaborate and difficult and sometimes a little grotesque, but well made for actual performance and full of characteristic touches. It has been overdone rather than underdone. It has always exhibited musical quality, and never any tendency towards the predominance of abstract thought over a desire to be musically interesting." Ireland, who is keenly interested in all modern composers who utilize an original speech, confesses that among the masters, Bach and Mozart are his greatest admirations. Stravinsky, he feels, is "the most remarkable and inventive composer living." Richard Strauss and Ravel come next in his esteem. Away from his music, he is most interested in poetry, which he reads avidly.Principal works by John Ireland:
ORCHESTRA: The Forgotten Rite; Mai Dun; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
CHAMBER MUSIC: Fantasy; Sonata in D- Minor (for violin and piano); Trio; Sonata in A-Minor (for violin and piano); Sonata for 'Cello and Piano.
Songs, piano pieces, etc.

About John Ireland:

Holbrooke Josef. Contemporary British Composers.

Chesterian 11:133March 1930; Gamut 2:24 July-August 1929; Musical Opinion 45:953 August 1922.

Important recordings of music by John Ireland:

COLUMBIA: Sonata for 'Cello and Piano.


Charles Ives 1874-

"When the history of American music is finally written, one of the most brilliant names in its pages will be that of Charles Ives. It will stand forth not only as a sign of a great composer, but as a living and lasting symbol of a great man."--JOHN J. BECKER

CHARLES IVES was born in Danbury, a small town in Connecticut, on October 20, 1874. His father, a very fine musician who conducted the town band, started his son at an early age upon thoro courses in general musical appreciation, sight reading, harmony, counterpoint and instrumentation, and encouraged in him a sincere interest in and knowledge of all the best in musical literature. Besides this instruction, Charles received a musical training by listening to performances of native music of the town, heard in its charming environment, performed by the village band, the town violinist and the church harmonium. Thus, as in the case of Alois Hába, small-town music unconsciously was responsible for a composer's later radical experiments with music. The band rarely played together; the village violinist was always out-of- tune; and the harmonium at the church was painfully off-pitch. All these elements were assimilated by the young, sensitive musician who realized that these characteristics were to be found in all the music heard in small towns thruout America. Thus, in later life--in attempting to give expression to the American village and hamlet--Ives built up a radical musical system which included all of these amazing characteristics.

After his father's death, Ives studied music under Dudley Buck and Rowe Shelley, completing his studies at Yale under Horatio Parker. For a while, he served as an organist at Danbury. Upon graduation from Yale in 1898, Ives entered business in New York City as a clerk with the Mutual Life Insurance Company, until 1906 when the insurance firm of Ives and Myrick was formed. Until 1930, he remained the senior member of the firm--music all this while being only an avocation. He was finally forced to resign due to ill-health.

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