Give Now

Ether Game

Ives: Concord Sonata

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: talkin’ bout the birds, bees, and tone clusters…

Charles Ives wrote his second piano sonata in the years surrounding World War I, but it was not performed publicly until years later, in 1939.

This was a common fate for the music of Ives, who often wrote “for the drawer”—that is, to fulfill his musical curiosity with little hope for publishing or performance.

In this sonata, Ives summed up his attachment to American Transcendentalism, with each section inspired by a literary light of this philosophical movement. Ives went so far as to write an entire book to accompany the sonata.

This work, Essays before a Sonata, explains much about his musical beliefs. The movement we just heard was inspired by the writings of Henry David Thoreau, especially his philosophical memoir “Walden.”

Music Heard On This Episode

Charles Ives (1874-1954): “Concord” Sonata, Mvt. 4 “Thoreau”
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano — Ives: Concord Sonata; Songs (Warner Classics, 2004)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Charles Ives (1874-1954): “Concord” Sonata, Mvt. 4 “Thoreau”
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano — Ives: Concord Sonata; Songs (Warner Classics, 2004)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Ether Game:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Ether Game

Search Ether Game

Ether Game is on Twitter