Charles Ives: Patriarch Of American Music

In the New York Review, Jeremy Denk writes: ‘Charles Ives, the crazy and brilliant patriarch of American music, loved a good cacophony. In the public imagination (to the extent that he inhabits it) he is associated with collisions of marching bands in different keys and other sorts of acoustical suffering. At the outset of his excellent new biography, Stephen Budiansky summons up this confrontational Ives and his “characteristic pose”: “‘a fighting stance, his right hand raised and a finger of scorn’ thrust at some imaginary antagonist.” It’s a vivid but misleading way to begin. Ives had many enemies, including himself, but his real impulse was affection: a desperate affection for the past, and for the joys and possibilities of music-making.’

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