If You Think You Hate Charles Ives On His Birthday

Not that I’m referring to anyone in particular who might have mourned the anniversary of Ive’s birth today on social media. But if you don’t do quarter-tones and all those other “intellectual” aspects of Ive’s instrumental music, there could be hours of pleasure in store for you in his deceptively simple songs.

I’m sitting in a search marketing conference right now, so I can’t say much. But the songs are catchy, melodic and walk a tightrope between the satirical and the sentimental.

Preview - Charles Ives: Songs by Jan DeGaetani and Gilbert Kalish - Rhapsody lets you listen to 20 full tracks per months without joining or paying. This wonderful album is a worthy use of those freebies.

For a totally free Ives song session, here is a wonderful playlist where you can listen to some of the songs and watch a scrolling score. The singing on this playlist is not always ideal (Ives songs are a student recital staple) but it’s a convenient way to get familiar with these songs.


 

“The Circus Band” is a favorite. I like it better as a song (and PLEEZ, pianists, DO shout “Hear the trombones” at the appointed time - really) but some prefer this totally raucus orchestra/chorus arrangement by Ives, performed here by a school group under the helm of Michael Tippett: