IVES AND THE ESTABLISHMENT
JENNIFER PAULL compares the American visionary composer with Spanish architect Antonio Gaudí
<< Continued from last week
He said 'No genius ever stopped creating because he never could make
a million dollars'.
Ives made his million. His passion for originality applied to his knowledge
of insurance. One of his inventions was a strategy for preserving wealth
that we now know as 'Estate Planning'. His business assured his financial
well-being and freed him to write whatever kind of music he pleased. That
was brilliant 'Life Planning' !
Ives married a lady who delighted in the glorious name of Harmony Twitchell.
They adopted a daughter called Edyth, owned a horse, a dog and a cat, Christofina,
who ate asparagus.
Strangely, the general public criticise artists for being comfortable.
They seem to prefer the suffering of the impoverished creator in the face
of the cruel world. This, many have blindly epitomised for their own generation
with their mistrust of contemporary music. Hypocrisy is not to see that
Mozart too was once a 'contemporary' composer !
Ives as the highly successful businessman ran an insurance company. He
divided his time between this and his music. He worked such long hours that
he damaged his health.
We have no shows of sympathy for the poor man trying to fit everything
into 24 hours. Sympathy is reserved for a Schumann who damages his finger
trying to force himself to play better, or a van Gogh whose rejection causes
such suffering that in self-mutilation, he becomes insane.
Forcing one's self to make money in order to allow for artistic liberty
and freedom of expression was not socially acceptable in Charles
Ives' time. We may ponder -- is it today ?
Copyright © 15 March 2001
Jennifer Paull, Iowa, USA
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