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Ives: Holiday Symphony

Can you guess this piece? Here's a hint: a composer with “four fathers”?

The four movements known as the “Holiday Symphony” (or sometimes as “New England Holidays”) were written separately over the course of a decade. Years later, Ives returned to the works, assembling them into a symphony. This final movement Ives viewed as a celebration of the Puritan spirit in American culture. Both Thanksgiving and Forefather’s Day are associated with the early years of English Puritan colonies in the New World, but while Thanksgiving has become a national holiday, Forefathers’ Day, falling on December 21st, is celebrated only as a local holiday in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The holiday celebrated in the second movement, DECORATION DAY, is similarly unfamiliar to us today. Originally a holiday honoring veterans of the Civil War, it was renamed Memorial Day after WWI.

Music Heard On This Episode

Charles Ives (1874–1954): Holidays Symphony: Thanksgiving and Forefathers' Day
Michael Tilson Thomas/Chicago Symphony Orchestra — Ives: Holidays Symphony (Sony, 1990)
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Charles Ives (1874–1954): Holidays Symphony: Thanksgiving and Forefathers' Day
Michael Tilson Thomas/Chicago Symphony Orchestra — Ives: Holidays Symphony (Sony, 1990)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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