Charles Ives has been presented to the world as a wild-eyed modernist. Indeed, many of his works are highly experimental, sharply dissonant, and challenging to the listener. What is often overlooked is the fact that early in his career Ives pursued a very traditional musical path. He had been a church organist since his youth. He had hoped, like John Knowles Paine or Horatio Parker, to parlay this success into a broader career as composer and academic. In 1902, Ives produced the cantata The Celestial Country, patterned after his teacher Parker's famous oratorio Hora novissima. Although the cantata received favorable reviews, Ives abandoned career aspirations in music, keeping it as an active avocation while becoming a successful businessman.