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Happy Independence Day from Charles and Greta

My parents-in-law have a long tradition of enthusiastic photography. Greta the golden retriever is less than a year old, but she’s already an accomplished model.

To those readers in the United States, I’d like to wish you a safe and happy Independence Day. While there’s a lot of music played on this holiday that is arranged to be “broadly appealing,” Charles Ives was never one to compromise. “Fourth of July” (1904), from the Holidays Symphony, complexly layers a number of patriotic tunes, which move a different speeds and simultaneously appear in different keys.

No one will mistake this piece for John Philip Sousa anytime soon, but it’s Ives’ way of paying tribute to the complex and multifaceted portrait that he saw both as America in the modern age and as the epitome of the American dream. Michael Tilson Thomas leads the Chicago Symphony in the embedded video below.


Comments

Comment from zeno
Time: July 5, 2011, 11:16 am

I heard the Philadelphia Orchestra give its first performance of Ives’s full Holiday Symphony back in the autumn of 1974 (in the old Academy of Music) while I was an undergraduate.

Michael Tilson Thomas’s San Francisco Symphony “Keeping Score” program on Ives’s Holiday Symphony is also enthusiastic, magical, and well-executed; and is highly recommended to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet:

http://www.keepingscore.org/interactive/ives-holidays-symphony

And here is a list which includes some of the allegedly “broadly appealing” American classical music broadcast yesterday on public radio in the Nation’s Capital (no Charles Ives or George Crumb; although they did play a Lou Harrison piece for the first time a few days earlier – the Suite for Violin, Piano, and Small Orchestra):

http://www.weta.org/fm/playlists/classicalweta/2011/07/04