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<<  -- 3 --  David Wilkins    TIME TRAVEL


In 1922 a wealthy insurance businessman with a sideline in musical composition had a collection of his songs, dating from over thirty years, privately published and distributed. He called it a 'house-cleaning' exercise. Whatever was left was, 'hanging on the clothes-line'. What was one to make of this hotchpotch other than the confusion that Aaron Copland wrote about eleven years later? 'There's no order here,' he wrote, ' -- either of chronology, style, or quality. Almost every kind of song imaginable can be found ... All thrown together helter-skelter, displaying an amazing variety and fecundity of imagination, but without the slightest key or guide for the unsuspecting recipient.'

Susan Graham's selection encompasses a fair range. She begins with one of the key-works to Ives' psyche, The Things Our Fathers Loved [listen -- track 1, 1:12-1:57]. There's no space here to go into the significance of George Ives, the composer's father, in everything that became him as a man and as a musician -- silly inseparability in that conjunction, but Charles found himself dried-up as a musician long before he could relinquish the need to be a worthy man. It's an opportunity for me to recommend Stuart Feder's biography -- a book I find myself more in awe of every time I return to it -- where most of the story is unravelled with extraordinary care and attention.

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Copyright © 19 May 2004 David Wilkins, Eastbourne UK


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