By Georgiev, Henck, and Klemeyer. By Charles Ives. Listening CD. Wergo #WER 60080-50. Published by Wergo (NX.WER-60080-50).
Â€Concord, Mass., 1840-1860â€œ, this is the subtitle of Charles Ives's second piano sonata. It refers to the town of Concord in the American state of Massachusetts and to the years in which Concord was the focal point of an intellectual movement commonly called â€œTranscendentalismâ€œ, which continues to influence the spiritual life of America even today: In the battle against the dominance of Rationalism and Empiricism, Transcendentalism, with its mystical and philosophical characteristics as well as its social criticism, emphasized the self-reliance of the individual.
Charles Ives was familiar from childhood on with the teachings and literature of the Transcendentalists, shared many of their ideas, and sought to realize them as a businessman and composer in his public as well as private life. Artistically, politically, morally, and philosophically, these ideas represented his intellectual home; all his life, musically and in his literary essays, he dealt with the legacy of Transcendentalism. This is why he named the four movements of his 'Concord Sonata' after famous persons from the circle of the Transcendentalists: â€œThe whole is an attempt to present (one personÂ´s) impression of the spirit of transcendentalism. [...] This is undertaken in impressionistic pictures of [Ralph Waldo] Emerson and [Henry David] Thoreau, a sketch of the [Bronson Amos] Alcotts, and a scherzo supposed to reflect a lighter quality which is often found in the fantastic side of [Nathaniel] Hawthorne.â€œ (Charles Ives).
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