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Charles Ives: The Hope for Expression



In the third segment of a series on the writings and music of Charles Ives, the composer examines the will of the artist and that of a business man. He questions these two stereotypes' motives as they relate to the output of their efforts as a matter of quality and reward. He further wonders which of the two occupations has a more sustainable output, with a hypothesis in favor of the artist, despite the potential failings of the artist's social position.

This paradox is particularly relevant in Ives's lifetime and is of interest in relation to his era; a man of the first half of the 20th Century, one of industry and modernism. As with his previous writings, he relates this idea to the position of the common man as majority and the politician as minority (as leader.) Reciting excerpts of the Declaration of Independence and Theroux, Ives finds comfort in the prospect that there is hope for popular expression, the requiem for an artist.

Charles Ives (1874-1954), was an internationally acclaimed American composer. He attended Yale University, where he studied under Horatio Parker. He moved to Manhattan after school and pursued a successful career as an insurance broker. It was only in his final years that he began to be recognized for his work, a precursor to the musical avant-garde as we know it. At the age of 73, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his Third Symphony (The Camp Meeting; composed 1904–11). Fifteen years after his death, his wife bequeathed the royalties from his music to the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the Charles Ives Prize.