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Charles Ives: The Minority Logic



The following recording is the second in a series of programs featuring the writings and compositions of Charles Ives. Although Ives was neither recognized for his music nor his staunchly liberal essays during his lifetime, the program presents an intimate look into the inner workings of this now highly revered composer.

The essays extracted from his journals demonstrate Ives's preoccupation with how best to further the common good of mankind; and how one ought to maintain those efforts over a long period of time. As garnered from the first episode, the composer had little regard for the leaders of the world or, as he called them, "the minority." He felt that these figures failed to represent the needs of the majority and as such were ill-equipped for their positions. Drawing from the writings of the Bible, Ruskin, Darwin, and the framers, he makes his case against the elitist, pride baring, "non people." According to Ives, the majority poses the wiser soul; the universal consciousness.

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.