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Collection The Moldenhauer Archives - The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial

Transformation and Adaptation: The Evolution of Charles Ives's Song "From 'Paracelsus'"

One of the most fascinating aspects of the work of Charles Ives is his untiring activity as arranger of his own pieces. It went beyond the normal measure not only with respect to quantity, but above all with respect to quality, for Ives often transformed works to the extent that more or less independent new ones resulted. In some cases a strict separation between "work" and "arrangement" is therefore as impossible as a clear delimitation of the single work: "it becomes difficult to say just where one work ends and another begins."[1] Moreover, this recycling of earlier music was hardly ever motivated by external circumstances. Since Ives worked in almost complete artistic isolation for several decades, neither critical responses from colleagues nor performance prospects had much influence upon his creativity. It was not until the 1920s that some of his works began to come to the attention of a broader musical public. Yet by this time Ives had practically stopped composing.

FROM: NINETEEN SONGS

Thus Ives's working method had little to do with the wish to reach a larger audience, nor was the composer concerned with "perfecting" a work which had been in unsatisfactory shape. His practice of arranging was primarily the expression of a philosophy of art indebted to nineteenth-century New England Transcendentalism, which in turn was rooted in English Romanticism and German Idealism. This inheritance can most easily be seen in Ives's adaptation of the neo-Platonic dichotomy of "Idea" and "Gestalt," fundamental to Romantic theory, which is reinterpreted in his writings as an opposition of "substance" and "manner."[2] While there are important differences between the two pairs of concepts,"[3] both suggest that any fixed expression of a musical thought is merely an imperfect approach toward what is intended, and that, conversely, what is intended will become the more clearly perceptible the more persistently it is viewed from different angles. Hence the work of art is considered an "array of possibilities" rather than a tightly constructed, self-contained whole; it is not exhausted within a definite form but represents a potential which the artist seeks to "actualize" in ever new specific, tangible shapes.

In Ives's music, such a concept of creativity has found expression in several concurrently developing "works in progress," and it applies even to some of the elaborations on earlier pieces which the composer produced in the 1920s and early 1930s. The most striking example here would be the four Emerson Transcriptions (based on material from the first movement of the Concord Sonata), about which Ives remarked in 1932: "Some of the passages now played haven't been written out...and I don't know as I ever shall write them out, as it may take away the daily pleasure of playing this music and seeing it grow and feeling that it is not finished."[4] At the same time we can recognize in these years, when Ives's music gradually began to assume a role in public musical life, a category of more limited, pragmatically motivated arrangements, which the composer made with a view toward performances or publication projects offered to him. Most of his later reworkings in fact belong to this second category. That they represent minor adaptations rather than substantial transformations is due just as much to their practical function as to the general decline in the composer's creative activity.

In the following, both types of arrangement--the "actualization" of a given work, essentially motivated by an aesthetic impulse, as well as the adaptation oriented toward practical use--will be examined in the example of the song "From 'Paracelsus'," No. 30 of the collection 114 Songs. The immediate reason is the existence of an annotated print of the 114 Songs which formerly belonged to Nicolas Slonimsky and is now part of the Moldenhauer Archives at the Library of Congress. This document illustrates only the second type of Ives's arrangements, since the composer merely entered instrumentation suggestions for a planned performance but did not alter the musical substance of the piece. However, the collection of 114 Songs itself guides us back to Ives's earlier practice of "recomposition," for the volume, published in 1922 by the composer, is to a large extent based on earlier instrumental pieces which were substantially transformed and fitted to verbal texts. (The collection 114 Songs is neither an "original composition" nor a volume of arrangements therefore; it is an encyclopedic, potentially expandable "Kunstbuch" in roughly reverse chronological order, in which Ives, at a critical moment in his life, took stock of his entire creative output up to that time.[5]) One of the most striking examples for such a transformation is the song "From 'Paracelsus'," whose reworking from an orchestral work was subjected to especially radical alterations.

"From 'Paracelsus'" (arranged in 1921, according to a note in the edition of 114 Songs) is largely based on the Robert Browning Overture for large orchestra. Dating from the period 1908-1912, this was the only completed portion of a projected series to be entitled Men of Literature.[6] It is obvious that Ives could use only a fraction of the 394 measures from the orchestral work for a three-page song numbering a mere twenty measures. Yet the manner in which he proceeded is most remarkable, for it exemplifies with drastic clarity his view of how freely preexisting music could be used. In making the arrangement, Ives placed brief fragments from the Browning Overture as follows:[7]

Robert Browning Overture "From Paracelsus"
Mm. 42-45 Mm. 1-3
Mm. 47-53 Mm. 4-8
Mm. 54 (-55) Mm. 9 (-10)
Mm. 27 (-28) [woodwinds] Mm. 11-12 [piano]
Mm. 38-40 (41) M. 13
Mm. 26-29 (31,33) [string chords] M. 15, beginning [piano chords]
Mm. 7-8 [violin/viola] M. 17, end-M. 18, beginning [piano]
Mm. 10/12 [violin/viola] M. 19, beginning [piano]
Mm. 9/11 [violin/viola] M. 20, beginning [piano]

This table shows, first, that all revised material is drawn from the loosely structured beginning of the Overture (Adagio and Allegro, up to measure 54), while the ensuing March was not used, probably because its interlocking ostinati resisted isolation of individual passages. Second, Ives transplanted the fragments from the Overture roughly in reverse order so that the beginning of the song corresponds to the last measures of the Overture segment (measures 42-54), whereas the song's ending is related to the opening section of the Overture (measures 7-12). Ives also chose fragments of greatly differing lengths, some of which reproduce the original texture more or less completely, others only partially. Thus the song starts with sections of the orchestral score only slightly altered, while its later portions refer only obliquely to the earlier work. This marks a gradual departure from the model, which begins precisely where Ives added a new part: the voice. (Nevertheless, various places in the vocal part are derived from the Overture as well: measures 8 and 13 from the trumpet part, measure 11 from the flute and oboe parts, and measure 16 from the clarinet and bassoon parts.) For the vocal part, Ives selected a text from the fifth (and last) book of the dramatic poem Paracelsus (1835) by Robert Browning. However, he did not use a continuous excerpt from this source but compiled several portions of it--a procedure very much like his arrangement of the (preexisting) music, though the general sequence of verses (Browning's verses 804-807, 846-847, 854, 856-858) remains unchanged.[8]

Although both the music and text of the song are closely related to the Browning Overture (for the orchestral work as well seems to have been inspired by the poem Paracelsus[9]), the later work is clearly differentiated from the earlier one both by the highly individual compilation of reused material and by the newly composed music. Above all, the large structural gesture is virtually reversed: whereas in the Overture a restrained beginning leads to growing intensification, in the song the fragments are integrated in a development leading from tension to relaxation, from complex polyphony to chordal homophony, and from a chromatic and atonal sphere to a diatonic and tonal one. This process, typical of a number of works by Ives[10], seems in this case to have been directly motivated by Browning's text, for in the verses used the dying Paracelsus describes the course of his life from boundless presumption ("For God is glorified in man,/ And to man's glory vowed I soul and limb") to self-knowledge and resignation ("I learned my deep error...And what proportion love should hold with power/In man's right constitution").

At the same time, new structural constellations appear, especially through the pitch organization of the newly composed material, and these lend the song a stronger coherence than we find in the corresponding portion of the Browning Overture.[11] We might mention, for example, the structure by fifths on which the principal pitches of the voice part in the first section are based[12] and which continues in the harmonic polarity of the second section (measures 16­20, beginning in G Major and ending in D Major).[13]

In spite of its dependence upon the Robert Browning Overture, the song therefore takes on a life of its own. This can be seen not least in the piano part's external appearance, which changes gradually from a "reduction" of an orchestral score, extremely dense and almost unplayable on the keyboard, to a more idiomatic pianistic texture. Yet, as has been mentioned, Ives did not consider this version of the Robert Browning material as definitive either and made another arrangement some years later. This is documented through two annotated prints of the 114 Songs: first, the incomplete copy from the possession of Nicolas Slonimsky (discussed below) which went to the Moldenhauer Archives in 1961 and is now preserved in the Library of Congress; and second, the so-called Copy E (incomplete as well) preserved in the Ives Collection of the Yale University Library, one of eight to which Ives added extensive annotations.[14] While most of these copies show different kinds of annotations (details of instrumentation, verbal comments, as well as corrections of the musical text, many of which went into the partial collections from the 114 Songs published in the 1930s)[15], the Slonimsky copy, save for minimal changes, contains only instrumentation directions[16]; and whereas some of the songs bearing annotations in the Slonimsky volume show additional corrections and entries in the other copies, "From 'Paracelsus'" is marked only with directions for instrumentation almost entirely matching those in Copy E. Within the revision process of the 114 Songs, this work--unchanged in its essential substance and merely fitted out in an instrumental garb--therefore represents a special case, the background of which shall be briefly investigated in the following.

While the three editions published by Ives himself--the Concord Sonata, the Essays Before a Sonata and the 114 Songs--were either ignored or heavily criticized in conservative circles[17], they met with interest, and in some cases even with admiration, on the part of some representatives of contemporary music. Among the most important musicians who acknowledged the composer in the 1920s were the pianist Elie Robert Schmitz, the composer Henry Cowell, and the conductors Eugene Goossens and Nicolas Slonimsky. The last came in contact with Ives through Cowell in 1928. As director of the Boston Chamber Orchestra, Slonimsky was anxious to incorporate some of Ives's work in his programs.[18] Ives suggested Three Places in New England and offered to make an arrangement for chamber orchestra. This version of Three Places in New England was performed in various American and European cities by Slonimsky, after his premiere of the work on January 10, 1931, in New York. In every case, as well as in the publication that followed[19], he was able to rely on financial support from the composer. Slonimsky also championed other works by Ives. In his brief career as a conductor, which after 1934 gave way more and more to his activities as a writer and lexicographer, he premiered "Washington's Birthday" in 1931 and "The Fourth of July" in 1932 (both from the cycle New England Holidays). In addition, on several occasions beginning in 1932, he conducted "In the Cage" and "In the Night" (from the Set for Theatre Orchestra, and the Set for Chamber Orchestra, respectively), and on April 15, 1934 (in New York), he gave performances of the songs "The New River" and "December" (Nos. 6 and 37 from the 114 Songs) in a version for choir and instrumental ensemble, together with "In the Night."[20]

The plan which guided the latter concert, namely to present single numbers from the song volume as "Songs with Instruments," dated back to 1930. Apparently upon Slonimsky's request, Ives had promised to enter the necessary directions into a copy of the 114 Songs--a promise he confirmed twice in his letters: "Will send along the suggested songs as soon as I can get to it" (April 28, 1930); and: "I hope to get off [the copy of the 114 Songs] to you with the suggested orchestration within a few days" (May 27, 1930).[21] It is possible that, in the course of making this arrangement, Ives went through one of the copies he owned before arriving at a choice for Slonimsky; this is suggested through the fact that all songs annotated in Slonimsky's copy bear similar instructions in Copy E.[22] In any event, on June 8, 1930, Ives summarized the result of his labors in the following words: "Have just gone through the book of songs and will mail it today. Some of the pages are gone. I can't seem to find any more whole copies." However, Slonimsky did not at first find the time to write out a score, as is apparent from Ives's remarks in his letter of September 6, 1930: "Don't let the arranging of the Songs take up any time you need for other work--do it entirely at your convenience--there is no hurry!" The project was indeed put off, for as late as November 7, 1932, Harmony Ives wrote to Dorothy and Nicolas Slonimsky: "Forgot to tell you that Mr. Ives asked me to say not to bother about orchestrating any songs until after you meet again."

The reason that Ives--who at that time had already been in Europe with his wife for several months--now postponed the project himself was due to the fact that just before his departure (May 1932) he had again come across the original versions for orchestra which had formed the basis for some of the songs. This "discovery," mentioned by Harmony Ives in the November 7, 1932, letter quoted above, was discussed by the composer half a year later, in an undated letter sent in May 1933, as follows:

Am not sure, but think before leaving I told you that in cleaning house preparatory to being away so long, I found several of the old scores, etc.-­from which some of the songs were taken--I had forgotten some of them or thought they were not kept--So before arranging any songs it would be better to wait until we can get together again & look over these old manuscripts.

And, with subtle self-disparagement, he added, "In looking these over, I was impressed with this--that I now have good advice for young composers--'If you write anything you think is good, copy it out in ink--if you write anything you think is no good, copy it out in ink!'"

Ives, who had not lost track of his manuscripts for the first time, thus considered--especially now in retrospect--the instrumentation directions contained in Slonimsky's copy merely as a stop-gap measure. On the one hand, in comparison with scored instrumental "Urtext," they must have seemed too sketchy and hastily made to render a clear impression of what he intended. On the other hand, Ives's attitude suggests a certain lack of confidence; it almost appears as if he had some doubt whether he, not having written anything substantial for some time, would be able to solve even a "simple" task such as the instrumentation of songs in a satisfactory manner.[23]

In no event, however, did Ives want the new postponement to distance him from the project jointly envisaged. The other projects undertaken with Slonimsky clearly show the considerable engagement with which he pursued and furthered all performances of his works (he played a much more active role in propagating his work during the first years of his physically imposed "retirement" than has been generally assumed). And indeed, when he had returned from Europe in July 1933, Ives submitted, as announced, his "old scores" to Slonimsky; this is evident from the latter's message of October 26, 1933, to Ives: "I am having a great time looking over your fragments, and putting things together in your orchestrations of the songs." Ultimately, however, these efforts did not lead to a performance of the songs originally chosen, but rather to the above-mentioned New York concert of April 15, 1934, in which "The New River" and "December" were presented in versions for chorus and instrumental ensemble, along with "In the Night" for chamber orchestra. No performance of the instrumentations sketched in Slonimsky's copy of the 114 Songs is known, nor do we have fully executed orchestral scores for them.

Nevertheless, the instrumentation directions in Slonimsky's copy of the print and in Copy E deserve our attention, for there is more involved in Ives's later efforts than merely "retroactive realizations" of songs originally derived from ensemble or orchestral works. (Especially in the case of "From 'Paracelsus'," which while being arranged was to a large extent newly composed, such a reuse of an earlier orchestral score would not even have been possible.) Despite their sketchy notation, the new arrangements in fact represent more or less fully valid "alternative versions" which go beyond the "original" instrumental scores as well as the songs with piano accompaniment derived from them. This may not be evident from the beginning of "From 'Paracelsus'" (drawn almost exclusively from the Robert Browning Overture), where a comparison of the entries in the Slonimsky volume and in Copy E with the Overture shows only slight departures in instrumentation. The opening measures, for instance, are orchestrated in the three sources as follows:

  Slonimsky Copy Copy E Overture
M.1 "starting full" "starting with full orchestra" full orchestra fl. w. starting
M.2,1.h "brass" -- horns 1-4
M.5 "brass dies out" "brass dies out" horns 3-4
trbs. 1-2 and trpts. 1-2 omitted
M.6 "only strings + "some piano?" Bassn. 1-2, horns 1-2 and strings
  "some piano" "piano with low strings"  

(Such concordances do not necessarily suggest that Ives may have had the Overture score at hand when he annotated the two editions of 114 Songs, since certain figures or the general tendency toward relaxation beginning in measure 5 seem virtually to require a particular orchestration.[24])

The special quality of the instrumentation directions in Slonimsky's copy and in Copy E becomes apparent when we look at the newly composed sections of the song, for here they seem to indicate that Ives was not just trying to provide coloristic variety, but to clarify the music's formal design. This can be seen especially in the treatment of the vocal part. While in the passages taken over from the Overture (measures 8 and 13) it is assigned to the same instrument as before, namely the trumpet (in fortissimo passages always doubled at the octave by one or several trombones[25]), it moves to other instruments in the second (newly composed) section of the song. The following four "tone colors" are used, resulting in a timbral "decrescendo" which corresponds to the general decrease in dynamics:

Trb./Trpt. Trpt. Eng. horn Flute[26]
(Mm. 8/13) (Mm. 11-12/14-15) (M. 16) (End M. 17)

The most striking feature of this instrumental arrangement, however, is that is is unclear whether the vocal part is supplanted by the wind instruments or merely supported by them; the direction "Trumpet only on Tune" in measure 10 suggests the former, whereas the notation "Tr. & Trombone in octs. with voices" in measure 8 of the Slonimsky volume points to the latter. Apparently it was Ives's intention to leave the exact designation of the vocal part open, and thus to take up his earlier practice as described by him in Memos: "I got to making short pieces as songs, but played by two, three, or more instruments--with the idea of giving the listener or audience the words, and letting them put them in, or follow along with them, as the solo instrument played (a kind of 'songs without voices')."[27] Even within the limited scope of this later arrangement, therefore, Ives adhered to the "open-ended" conception of his work which, in a more radical form, had governed the change from the original orchestral composition to a song with piano accompaniment. "Open­endedness" no longer manifests itself here in the sense that a given work exists in various forms of composition; the concept is reduced to the choice of alternative scorings. Yet it is remarkable enough that one of the possibilities envisaged is an instrumental version with an implicit text, merely to be imagined by the listener in a "song without voice." For such a conception not only illustrates once again the typically Ivesian interaction of instrumental and vocal music, it also shows the extent to which Ives viewed his works as fundamentally "unfinished" and in want of the listener's active participation.

-- Felix Meyer

Notes

  1. Robert P. Morgan, "Ives and Mahler: Mutual Responses at the End of an Era," 19th Century Music, vol. 2, no. 1 (1978): 71-81, esp. 78. [Return to text]
  2. Cf. especially Wolfgang Rathert, The Seen and Unseen: Studien zum Werk von Charles Ives (Berliner musikwissenschaftliche Arbeiten, 38) (Munich/Salzburg: Musikverlag E. Katzbichler, 1991), Part I ("Geistesgeschichtliche und ästhetische Grundlagen"), pp. 15-122. [Return to text]
  3. In particular, Ives's version of the dichotomy shows a moral accentuation not found in the older concepts. "Manner" here is extended to mean not only "external appearance" but "superficiality"; it thus functions as the negative counterpart of the spiritual values embodied by "substance." See especially the Epilogue of Ives's Essays Before a Sonata, reprinted in Charles Ives, Essays Before a Sonata and Other Writings, 3rd ed., ed. Howard Boatwright (London: Calder & Boyars, 1969), pp. 70-102. [Return to text]
  4. Charles E. Ives, Memos, ed. John Kirkpatrick (New York: Norton, 1972), pp. 79f. [Return to text]
  5. A survey of the pieces from which the 114 Songs were derived is given in Memos (see note 4), pp. 167-77. In 1918 Ives suffered a serious collapse, as a consequence of which he felt compelled to reduce, and finally give up, both his business activities and his activities as a composer. This memento mori seems to have prompted him to strike an artistic balance and to resume contact with the public, so long renounced, by publishing the 114 Songs, as he had already done with the Concord Sonata and the Essays Before a Sonata (1920, under the composer's imprint). Insofar as Ives compiled the 114 Songs with a view toward publication--choosing, by no means accidentally, the readily "accessible" medium of the song with piano accompaniment--his revision was therefore guided by practical considerations. Just as important, however, was Ives's autobiographical motivation for compiling the collection, i.e., the wish to represent his life's work within a "single" composition, as is suggested both by the special sequence and the textual substance of the songs. The order and content of the 114 Songs are discussed by H. Wiley Hitchcock, "Charles Ives's Book of 114 Songs," in A Musical Offering: Essays in Honor of Martin Bernstein, ed. Edward H. Clinksdale and Claire Brook (New York: Pendragon Press, 1977), pp. 127-35; and Dietrich Kämper, "Die 114 Songs von Charles E. Ives," in Amerikanische Musik seit Charles Ives: Interpretationen, Quellentexte, Komponistenmonographien, ed. Hermann Danuser, Dietrich Kämper, and Paul Terse (Laaber: Laaber-Verlag, 1987), pp. 135-48. For an interpretation of the 114 Songs as an "autobiographical act" (based mainly on the song texts), see Stuart Feder, Charles Ives: "My Father's Song," A Psychoanalytical Biography (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1992), pp. 309-22. [Return to text]
  6. Cf. Memos (see note 4). The dating is based upon "A Temporary Mimeographed Catalogue of the musical manuscripts and Related Materials of Charles Edward Ives, 1874-1954," comp. John Kirkpatrick (New Haven 1960), p. 32. Aside from the Browning Overture (published 1959 by Peer International), works dealing with Matthew Arnold Henry Ward Beecher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and John Greenleaf Whittier had been planned. Sparse sketches made for these were again used by Ives for the collection of the 114 Songs. [Return to text]
  7. Cf. the table given by Rathert, The Seen and Unseen (see note 2), p. 251, as well as the (rather imprecise) survey in John McLain Rinehart, "Ives' Compositional Idioms: An Investigation of Selected Short Compositions as Microcosms of His Musical Language," (Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1970), p. 186. [Return to text]
  8. Slight deviations from Browning's text occur in the following places: measure 13 (reiteration of "I gazed on power"), measure 15 (omission of "for man" [after "I sought"]), measure 17 ("in man's right constitution" instead of "In his right constitution" and "Always preceding power" instead of "love preceding Power"), and measure 20 (repetition of "always"). [Return to text]
  9. The first sketches date from the year 1908 and might be taken to reflect Ives's creative response to reading the edition of Paracelsus which his wife Harmony had given him for his thirty-fourth birthday; cf. David Wooldridge, Charles Ives: A Portrait (London: Faber and Faber, 1975), p. 280. Ives's first acquaintance with Browning probably dates back to his studies with the Browning enthusiast William Lyon Phelps at Yale; cf. J. Peter Burkholder, Charles Ives: The Ideas Behind the Music (New Haven/London, 1985), pp. 72-76 [Return to text]
  10. Larry Starr speaks in this connection of "stylistic simplification." From the 114 Songs he lists "Majority" (No. 1), "Down East" (No. 55), and "Old Home Day" (No. 52), and contrasts their type of development with one more rarely occurring in Ives's work--one aiming at "stylistic complexifying" (for instance, "Maple Leaves" [No. 23] and "Remembrance" [No. 12]); cf. Larry Starr, A Union of Diversities: Style in the Music of Charles Ives (New York: Schirmer, 1992), pp. 132-43. [Return to text]
  11. Nevertheless, the breaks and discontinuities in the musical surface should not be readily dismissed. There are obvious caesuras, for instance, between measures 12 and 13, at the end of measure 13 (between "grew" and "blind"), and especially in the transition from measure 15 to measure 16, which latter clearly divides the song into two sections. Concerning the questions of discontinuity and continuity in Ives's work, see Lloyd Whitesell, "Reckless Form, Uncertain Audiences: Responding to Ives," American Music, vol. 12, no. 3 (1994): 304-19. [Return to text]
  12. Cf. for instance the relationship of the beginning and ending tones in measures 7 and 15 (b'-flat) to that of the final tones in measures 12 and 13 (e'-flat) or to that of the final tone of the second verse in measure 10 (f'); also the distance between the first tones in measures 13 and 14 (f'-sharp and c''-sharp). [Return to text]
  13. A detailed analysis of "From 'Paracelsus'" appears in Rathert, op. cit. (see note 2), pp. 25-56. The discussion, rightly, contains a criticism of the superficial and misdirected analysis by Henry Cowell (first published in 1955) as both misdirected and superficial; cf. Henry and Sidney Cowell, Charles Ives: The Man and His Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1955), 2nd enl. ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969) (reprint: with a new foreword, and an updated list of works, bibliography, and discography, New York: Da Capo, 1983), pp. 182-90 [Return to text]
  14. These copies of the 114 Songs were inventoried in 1973 by Cathy Lacny, James Sinclair, and Kenneth Singleton, and were marked with a series of letters from A to H. They are in an incomplete state because Ives removed single pages when he turned to the work, or part of a work, for rearranging or other purposes. Since 1977 the Ives Collection of the Yale Music Library has also included Aaron Copland's dedication copy of the 114 Songs. Copland's autograph entries, however, do not go beyond verbal and directions for Ives's copyist Emil Hanke. [Return to text]
  15. A survey of these and later published collections drawn from the original volume of the 114 Songs is given by John Kirkpatrick in Memos (see note 4), pp. 167-77. [Return to text]
  16. Together with "From 'Paracelsus'," the following songs bear annotations: "Evening" (No. 2), "At Sea" (No. 4), "The Rainbow" (No. 8), "Charlie Rutlage" (No. 10), "Remembrance" (No. 12), "The Swimmers" (No. 27), "Walt Whitman" (No. 31), "Afterglow" (No. 39), "Mists" (No. 57), and "West London" (No. 105). In addition, Copy E contains instrumentation directions for some other songs; above all, however, many of the annotated songs are marked with corrections which to a considerable extent went into the partial collection of 34 Songs published 1933. [Return to text]
  17. See the reaction of the composer and violinist Henry Eichheim, related in a letter by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge to Harmony Ives, in Memos (see note 4), pp. 99f, note 7. [Return to text]
  18. Cf. Nicolas Slonimsky, Perfect Pitch: A Life Story (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 118ff. [Return to text]
  19. Boston: Birchard, 1935. The original version, for large orchestra, was not published until 1976. [Return to text]
  20. For details on these performances and on Slonimsky's writings on Ives, see Geoffrey Block, Charles Ives: A Bio-Bibliography, foreword by J. Peter Burkholder (New York/Westport, Conn./London: Greenwood Press, 1988) [Return to text]
  21. These and the following passages from the Ives-Slonimsky correspondence are quoted with the kind permission of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. [Return to text]
  22. It seems that Ives had envisaged an instrumentation of pieces from the 114 Songs even earlier, for the following "Suggested song-groups and instruments" were listed in a memorandum on the business stationery of Ives & Myrick with the address "38 Nassau Street" (which was valid only until 1923): "Three Poets & Human Nature" (three songs, among them "From 'Paracelsus'"), "The Other Side of Pioneering" or "Side Lights on American Enterprise" (four songs), "From the Side Hill" (four songs), and "Water Colors" (four songs). The complete wording appears in Kirkpatrick, Catalogue (see note 6, pp. 52f). The listed songs, however, correspond almost exactly to the ones marked in the Slonimsky copy and in Copy E, so that a connection with the project here described seems possible; cf. also Ives's remarks (though somewhat ambiguous) in the Memos (see note 4), pp. 117f. [Return to text]
  23. Cf. Harmony Ives's statement in Memos (see note 4), p. 279: "he came downstairs one day [in 1926] with tears in his eyes, and said he couldn't seem to compose any more--nothing went well, nothing sounded right." [Return to text]
  24. This conjecture is most readily confirmed by the slight changes in measure 4, left hand (marked "see sketch"), which in fact go back to the Browning Overture. Yet they may have been later, at the time Ives had found the "old scores" again. [Return to text]
  25. In Slonimsky 's copy both measures 7 and 13 are marked with the plural form "Trombones," whereas in Copy E only the singular form "Trombone" is used. [Return to text]
  26. The precise indication in the Slonimsky copy reads: "flute or some light wood that will stand out through strings." Copy E cannot be used for comparison here, as the third page of the song (p. 73 of the song collection) is missing. [Return to text]
  27. Memos (see note 4), p. 117. The wording "optional voice," contained in some of the editions of these arrangements published since, is based upon this remark; see, for instance, Kenneth Singleton's editions of "Charlie Rutlage" (New York, 1983) and "Remember" (New York, 1977), which, however, are based on some older sources as well as on the Slonimsky copy and Copy E of the 114 Songs. [Return to text]
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