Imperial Philharmonic Orchestra of Tokyo; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra;
Göteborg Symphony Orchestra;Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Iceland State Radio Chorus; William Strickland, conductor
Among the large-scale works of Charles Ives (1874-1954), the four pieces comprising New England Holidays stand as the high point of his effort to communicate as meaningfully organized sound the full impact of the memory images of his boyhood in Danbury. Though the earliest of them dates in its orchestral version from 1904, it would appear that the idea of a multi-movement score did not become crystallized in Ives’s mind until he had set Washington’s Birthday to paper (1909) and begun work (1912) on Decoration Day. John Kirkpatrick’s monumental catalog of Ives mss. at Yale University indicates a marginal note in the Decoration Day ms. score:
1. Washington’s Birthday (Snow Bound), f fast
2. Decoration Day, p slow, f fast, slow
3. 4th of July, mostly fast . . .
4. Thanksgiving, religious old anthems
By 1913, when The Fourth of July had been completed, the four scores were placed together in a brown cardboard folder bearing the notation, “4 N.E. Holidays”. Henry and Sidney Cowell in their book on Ives designate the collection in their catalog as: A Symphony: Holidays, to which they add Ives’s notations, “Recollections of a boy’s holidays in a Connecticut country town . . . These movements may be played as separate pieces. . . . These pieces may be lumped together as a symphony.”
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