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The Light That Is Felt - Songs of Charles Ives


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Audio CD, October 1, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Charles Ives composed nearly 200 songs throughout his life. Wiley Hitchcock, in the thorough introduction to his 2004 critical edition 129 Songs, described the Ives song canon as "the contents of a kind of scrapbook or commonplace book or chapbook, or even a desk drawer. Into such a receptacle Ives tossed irregularly, if not casually, his reactions - in the form of songs - to memories, personalities, places, events, discoveries, ideas, visions, and fantasies in his life." Whether popular tale or personal reflection, this concept of the songs as memorabilia is realized in a most powerful way: the songs emotionally and viscerally evoke memory. Captured memories real or idealized, distant or near are the materials for the music. From cosmopolitan incident (Ann Street) to pastoral stroll (The Housatonic at Stockbridge) Ives's songs describe a range of experience: a child's playtime, a commuter's observations, a courter's hope. His songs exhibit reverence for the populace and pop culture, daring adventure, and family devotion; life and death. This new recording of 27 songs features soprano Susan Narucki, renowned for her authoritative interpretations of contemporary American music, and Donald Berman, whose recordings of Ives's piano music have been critically acclaimed.

Review

The painterly details of Ives's songs are vividly conveyed by the bright-voiced Susan Narucki and the pianist Donald Berman on a new disc whose 27 diverse selections (most from H. Wiley Hitchcock s 2004 critical edition) highlight Ives's multiple influences. Those included European Romanticism and religious and secular American tunes, which he meshed with his own inventive, radical harmonies. Like Bartok, Ives used both simple folk melodies and dissonance, sometimes blending them. Gentle, melodic songs are interspersed here with more tumultuous works, demonstrating the wide spectrum of Ives's emotional and musical palette. The spare and evocative "Where the Eagle Cannot See" is followed by the theatrical, astringent intensity of "General William Booth Enters Into Heaven." The heavy weariness of "Like a Sick Eagle" is aptly conveyed by Ms. Narucki and Mr. Berman, before they plunge into the violent waters of "Swimmers," whose wildly turbulent piano part underpins a soaring vocal line. -Vivien Schweitzer --The New York Times

1. Songs my mother taught me
2. Tom Sails Away
3. The Housatonic at Stockbridge
4. The Greatest Man
5. West London
6. The "Incantation"
7. Du bist wie eine Blume
8. Down East
9. The Children s Hour
10. Where the eagle cannot see
11. General William Booth Enters into Heaven
12. The Things Our Fathers Loved
13. Two Little Flowers
14. August
15. September
16. December
17. The Light That Is Felt
18. Ann Street
19. Evening
20. The Sea of Sleep
See all 27 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Susan Narucki, Donald Berman
  • Composer: Charles Ives
  • Audio CD (October 1, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New World Records
  • ASIN: B001EUEOCU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,787 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris Speaks on December 11, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Grammy Award-winning soprano Susan Narucki and accomplished pianist Donald Berman have released this disc - their interpretation of 27 songs by Charles Ives extending from his time as a student at Yale to his virtual retirement from composition some 20 years later. Recorded over the span of three days during March 2008 at the Purchase College recital hall in New York City, the songs, ranging from Ives' pre-1902 "nice" period to his white hot maturity, convey the immense span of change which Ives underwent as a composer.

This isn't either performer's first time working with Ives' material. Narucki has previously appeared on Decca's fabulous "Ives: When The Moon, Songs Set for Orchestra," where she earned great praise for her performance, and Berman has released "The Unknown Ives, Volume 1 and 2," featuring Ives' lesser known piano pieces. Both performers, being strong advocates of twentieth-century and contemporary music, bring that certain "contemporary" flare to Ives' songs as the angular qualities of the songs are more pronounced - but not at the expense of the more transcendental aspects of the music. Even the track listing has the effect of heightening the inner drama: the more traditional, reflective "Where the Eagle Cannot See" (from 1906) is followed by the alarming dissonance of Ives' work of genius "General William Booth Enters Into Heaven" (from 1917). Regardless, I must say that I find the interpretation on a majority of the tracks, even Ives' less traditional work, to be wholly successful.
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The Light That Is Felt - Songs of Charles Ives
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