The Unknown Ives, Volume 2

Composer(s): Charles Ives
Album Title: The Unknown Ives, Volume 2 
Cat. No.: 80618
Genre: Classical
Description: Premiere recordings of unpublished works and new critical editions

Donald Berman, piano; (with Stephen Drury, piano 2)

The works on The Unknown Ives, Volume 2 include some of his best and most searching experiments: fragments, personal explorations, cerebral excursions, and works of unabashed amusement. What emerges from their juxtaposition is a sense of canon. The spectrum of pieces, from adolescence to maturity, simple to complex, illustrates the boundaries of the complete oeuvre. From fragment to complete work, gestures meld, and motivic detours begin to describe a broad musical profile of Ives the complete musician.

This recording completes the catalogue of Ives's short, though substantial, piano compositions presented on The Unknown Ives. Honing the unpublished manuscripts has brought to light some 40 piano works, two hours of music, apart from the two major piano sonatas of Ives. Hearing them illumines a more complete picture of Ives the composer. Meeting that music on its own terms is a fitting tribute to the composer who desired to make music that had a life of its own roaring volition.

This recording includes published pieces that I have re-evaluated and revised. Many were initially edited by my teacher John Kirkpatrick (1905–1991), the American pianist, editor, and ardent champion of Ives. His meticulous efforts to identify, index, and catalogue loose manuscript sheets after Ives's death unquestionably comprise one of the heroic achievements in twentieth-century American music. Kirkpatrick's fastidious quest to divine playable editions of the music is a fascinating and at times problematic counterpoint to the compositions' rough edges. But essentially, Ives's volcanic nature and ambivalent attitudes likely served to obstruct public hearings of the music during his life; Kirkpatrick's asserting influence brought much of that music to light, including this recording. -Donald Berman

Varied Air and Variations; Waltz-Rondo; Invention in D; Study No. 1: Allegro; Study No. 2; Storm and Distress; Study No. 11: Andante; Impression of the "St. Gaudens" in Boston Common; The Celestial Railroad; Minuetto, op. 4; Study No. 4: Allegro moderato; Study No. 5: Moderato con anima; Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos; Fourth Fugue (George Edward Ives); Marches 1, 2, 3, 5, 6; March in G and C; March for Piano: "The Circus Band"  
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