Imperial Philharmonic of Tokyo; Members of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; William Strickland, conductor; Eva Törklep Larson, soprano; Yngvar Krogh, baritone
Charles Ives' Washington’s Birthday, which dates from 1909 and is a movement from the four-movement work, A Symphony: Holidays, is an extraordinarily vivid and haunting evocation of a New England winter scene.
Hallowe’en, one of Three Outdoor Scenes composed between 1898 and 1911, is a sort of musical joke so far as its execution is concerned. It may he played three or four times: The first time, for example, “only the second violin and cello play, until two measures before the D.C., which all strings play each time. No piano.” The fourth time, however, Ives suggests all instruments, “Presto (as fast as possible without disabling any instrument or player),” and, at another point, “the playing gets faster and louder each time, keeping up with the bonfire.”
The Pond, another of Three Outdoor Scenes, is a flawless nature scene, perfect in its detail and in the realization of its intent. Certainly Ives as a perfectionist, here demonstrated, is an unfamiliar concept.
Central Park in the Dark, the third of Three Outdoor Scenes, is a supreme accomplishment in the intensely original blending of impressionism and a kind of musical realism that is so significant a factor in Ives’ work. A workable programmatic key to the work, taken simply from its title, is not likely to elude even the most inexperienced listener.
William Flanagan writes:
The Lady of Tearful Regret is the last of three extended vocal-chamber works that, along with the opera Bartleby, form the bulk of my own creative accomplishments during the 1950’s...The piece was completed in piano sketch in 1958 and I set immediately to scoring it for the full orchestra I had planned. It soon dawned on me with increasing horror that I had been living in a world of fantasy and that I was creating the White Elephant to end them all. What orchestra in its right mind was going to hire two singers to perform a thoroughly spooky piece by a little-known and young American composer? I put aside the long sheets of orchestration manuscript and set about scoring the work in the seven- instrument setting that was first performed at Carnegie Recital Hall on February 24th, 1959.
Since this scoring was, in fact, unsuccessful, the prospect of a recording led to discussions with conductor Strickland regarding the selective addition of strings heard on this disc. The results are pleasing to me beyond any hope I had nourished.