Context, Ideology, and Performance in Charles Ives's Symphony no. 4
Jacko, Michael Alexander
Ross, James E
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Symphony No. 4 by the American composer, Charles Ives (1874-1954), represents a monument in Western music. This was Ives's signature work composed for his grandest medium, the symphony orchestra with chorus, marking the most ambitious musical endeavor that the composer ever completed. Realizing Ives's achievement, however, presents a unique set of challenges to the performer. The piece consists of four movements largely disparate in musical style and content. Since its full premiere in 1965, the Fourth has proven as difficult to comprehend ideologically as it is to perform. Set in two chapters, this study begins by presenting a context for the Fourth Symphony, composed of relevant musical examples from Ives's oeuvre. The second chapter focuses exclusively on the Fourth Symphony, rendering a performance-based analysis of the work. This document serves primarily as a performance guide, confronting a conductor's obstacles in rationalizing and disarming a conceptually and logistically intimidating piece.