Honors | Charles Ives & His Era (HON)
H203 | 10953 | David Hertz


TuTh 7:15-8:30pm

Charles Ives has often been described as the most original American
composer. He created a new world of sound that encompassed both
American popular music (including folk songs, rag, early jazz and
vaudeville) and experimental sound with quarter tones. He also
absorbed European musicians such as Beethoven, Scriabin and Claude
Debussy and used their innovations in his own way. Amongst his
compositions are challenging collages of dense musical sound and
poignant melodies that are direct and irresistible. An avid reader
of American philosophy and literature, Ives composed a huge sonata,
the Concord Sonata, with movements named after Emerson, Hawthorne,
the Alcotts, and Thoreau. He also wrote an essay to explain his
ideas about the sonata. The course will survey Ivesís mysterious and
diverse catalogue of works and also compare them his predecessors
and to other composers from his era. Among the course readings will
be the work of Emerson, Thoreau, and other poets and writers who
interested him, and even the writings of Ives himself. Attendance at
a variety of concerts and cultural events required.