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<<  -- 3 --  Peter Dickinson    A BRAVE PIANIST


Later Ives has two March versions of the theme. These too are followed by quiet protests so he gives up -- but only for the time being -- and offers: 'Sixteen nice measures, E minor just as much as possible! All right, Ladies, I'll play the rock line again and harmonise it nice and proper'. Here's what is virtually a hymn-tune version of the theme followed by applause -- chords of C major again [listen -- CD1 track 6, 2:52-4:28]. Those chords make it sound like a success story but of course it is not. The rough music returns and so do the quiet, smouldering protests to finish with.

Mead's dead-pan delivery in these pieces is exactly right for Ives' eccentric sense of humour. If you can't imagine a waltz by Ives then the Waltz-Rondo will put that right and show that Ives could be as idiosyncratic in three time as anything else [listen -- CD1 track 8, 0:00-1:14].

The First Piano Sonata, which was being composed around the same time as the Concord, is just as monumental and is not dependent on any literary associations. The main obsession is ragtime. Mead is again impressive in his sheer command of the notes but, as in the Concord, it is the mystical quiet moments which lack space to impress as they should. And they are not quiet enough.

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Copyright © 22 January 2003 Peter Dickinson, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK


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