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Ives, Charles (1874–1954)


The American composer Charles Ives learned a great deal from his bandmaster father, not least a love of the music of Bach. At the same time he was exposed to a variety of very American musical influences, later reflected in his own idiosyncratic compositions. Ives was educated at Yale and made a career in insurance, reserving his activities as a composer for his leisure hours. Ironically, by the time that his music had begun to arouse interest, his own inspiration and energy as a composer had waned, so that for the last thirty years of his life he wrote little, while his reputation grew.

Orchestral Music

The symphonies of Ives include music essentially American in inspiration and adventurous in structure and texture, collages of Americana, expressed in a musical idiom that makes use of complex polytonality (the use of more than one key or tonality at the same time) and rhythm. The Third Symphony, for small orchestra, reflects much of Ives’s own background, carrying the explanatory title ‘The Camp Meeting’ and movement titles ‘Old Folks Gatherin’’, ‘Children’s Day’ and ‘Communion’. The Fourth Symphony includes a number of hymns and gospel songs, and his so-called First Orchestral Set, otherwise known as ‘A New England Symphony’, depicts three places in New England.

Chamber Music

The first of the two string quartets of Ives has the characteristic title ‘From the Salvation Army’ and is based on earlier organ compositions, while the fourth of his four violin sonatas is titled ‘Children’s Day at the Camp Meeting’.

Keyboard Music

Much of the earlier organ music written by Ives during his student years, when he served as organist in a number of churches, found its way into later compositions. The second of his two piano sonatas, ‘Concord, Mass. 1840–60’, has the characteristic movement titles ‘Emerson’, ‘Hawthorne’, ‘The Alcotts’ and ‘Thoreau’, a very American literary celebration.

Vocal and Choral Music

Ives wrote a number of psalm settings, part-songs and verse settings for unison voices and orchestra. In his many solo songs he set verses ranging from Shakespeare, Goethe and Heine to Whitman and Kipling, with a number of texts of his own creation. Relatively well-known songs by Ives include ‘Shall We Gather at the River’, ‘The Cage’ and ‘The Side Show’.


106 works by Ives, Charles

  • 10 Songs
  • 114 Songs
  • 12 Songs
  • 13 Songs
  • 14 Songs
  • 3 Quarter-Tone Pieces (arr. A. Stout)
  • 3 Quarter-Tone Pieces: No. 3. Chorale
  • 3-Page Sonata
  • 4 Songs (arr. K. Singleton for chamber ensemble)
  • 40 Earlier Songs
  • 9 Songs
  • A Set of 3 Short Pieces (version for string orchestra)
  • A Set of Pieces
  • A Set of Three Short Pieces (version for string quartet)
  • [+] A Son of a Gambolier
    • A Son of a Gambolier (arr. A. Dashnaw for choir and piano 4 hands)
    • A Son of a Gambolier (arr. K. Singleton for orchestra)
  • A Son of a Gambolier, March (arr. J. Elkus for wind ensemble)
  • [+] A Symphony: New England Holidays
    • A Symphony: New England Holidays
    • A Symphony: New England Holidays (arr. J. Sinclair for orchestra)
    • A Symphony: New England Holidays: II. Decoration Day (arr. J. Elkus for wind ensemble)
  • A Symphony: New England Holidays: II. Decoration Day
  • Allegretto Sombreoso, "Incantation"
  • An Old Song Deranged (arr. K. Singleton for chamber ensemble)
  • Berceuse (arr. H. Haufrecht for choir and piano)
  • Celestial Country
  • Central Park in the Dark
  • [+] Country Band March
    • Country Band March
    • Country Band March (arr. J. Sinclair for concert band)
  • Crossing the Bar
  • December
  • Emerson Overture for Piano and Orchestra
  • Flag Song
  • [+] From the Steeples and the Mountains
    • From the Steeples and the Mountains
    • From the Steeples and the Mountains
  • Fugue in C Minor (arr J. Sinclair for wind ensemble)
  • Fugue in Four Keys on The Shining Shore
  • General William Booth Enters into Heaven (arr. J.J. Becker for voice, choir and orchestra)
  • Gyp the Blood or Hearst!? Which is Worst?!
  • Hallowe'en
  • Ilmenau
  • In Flanders Fields (arr. D. Del Tredici for voice and orchestra)
  • In Re Con Moto et al
  • Largo (arr. P. Zukofsky for violin and piano)
  • Largo for Violin, Clarinet and Piano
  • Largo risoluto No. 1
  • Largo risoluto No. 2
  • Lincoln, the Great Commoner
  • March in F Major and C Major with Omega Lambda Chi (arr. K. Brion)
  • March Intercollegiate with Annie Lisle (arr. K. Brion)
  • March No. 6 with Here's to Good Old Yale (arr. J. Elkus fir wind ensemble)
  • Mists I
  • Nature's Way (arr. H. Haufrecht for choir and piano)
  • Old Home Day (arr. G. Smith for choir and piano)
  • Old Home Days Suite (arr. J. Elkus for wind ensemble)
  • [+] Orchestral Set No. 1
    • Orchestral Set No. 1, "3 Places in New England"
    • Orchestral Set No. 1, "3 Places in New England" (version 1, ed. J.B. Sinclair)
  • [+] Orchestral Set No. 2
    • Orchestral Set No. 2
    • Orchestral Set No. 2 (arr. J. Sinclair for orchestra)
  • [+] Overture and March 1776
    • Overture and March 1776
    • Overture and March 1776 (arr. J. Sinclair)
  • Overture in G Minor (realization by D.G. Porter)
  • Piano Marches
  • Piano Sonata No. 1
  • [+] Piano Sonata No. 2
    • Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord, Mass., 1840-60" (arr. H. Brant as A Concord Symphony)
    • Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord, Mass., 1840-60", "Concord Sonata"
  • Piano Trio (arr. J. Kirkpatrick)
  • Postlude in F Major (ed. K. Singleton)
  • Processional, "Let There Be Light"
  • Psalm 67, "God be merciful unto us"
  • Ragtime Dance No. 1 (arr. J. Sinclair for orchestra)
  • Ragtime Dance No. 2 (arr. J. Sinclair for orchestra)
  • Ragtime Dance No. 3 (arr. J. Sinclair for orchestra)
  • Ragtime Dance No. 4 (arr. J. Sinclair for orchestra)
  • Remembrance (arr. K. Singleton for chamber ensemble)
  • Robert Browning Overture
  • Sacred Songs
  • Scherzo for String Quartet
  • Scherzo: All the Way Around and Back
  • [+] Scherzo: Over the Pavements
    • Scherzo: Over the Pavements
    • Scherzo: Over the Pavements (arr. M. Bon for 6 pianos)
  • Serenade
  • Set of 5 Take-offs
  • [+] String Quartet No. 1
    • String Quartet No. 1, "From the Salvation Army"
    • String Quartet No. 1, "From the Salvation Army": I. Chorale (arr. M. Sintchak)
  • String Quartet No. 2
  • Study No. 2
  • Study No. 21
  • Study No. 9
  • Symphony No. 1
  • Symphony No. 2
  • Symphony No. 2: II. Finale (arr. J. Elkus for wind ensemble)
  • Symphony No. 3, "The Camp Meeting"
  • Symphony No. 4
  • [+] The Circus Band
    • The Circus Band (arr. A. Dashnaw for choir and piano 4 hands)
    • The Circus Band (arr. G.F. Roberts for choir and orchestra)
  • The Circus Band, March (arr. J. Elkus for wind ensemble)
  • The General Slocum (realization by D.G. Porter)
  • [+] The Gong on the Hook and Ladder
    • The Gong on the Hook and Ladder, "Firemen's Parade on Main Street"
    • The Gong on the Hook and Ladder, "Firemen's Parade on Main Street" (version for chamber ensemble)
  • The New River
  • The Pond
  • The Rainbow, "So May It Be!"
  • The Side Show (arr. H. Haufrecht for choir and piano)
  • [+] The Unanswered Question
    • The Unanswered Question
    • The Unanswered Question (arr. P. Echols and N. Zahler for chamber ensemble)
  • There is a Lane (arr. H. Haufrecht for choir and piano)
  • [+] They are There!
    • They are There!
    • They are There! (arr. J. Sinclair for choir and orchestra)
  • They Are There! (arr. A. Dashnaw for choir and piano 4 hands)
  • Tone Roads et al
  • Tone Roads No. 3
  • [+] Universe Symphony
    • Universe Symphony (arr. D. Porter for orchestra)
    • Universe Symphony (completed by L. Austin)
  • Variations on America (arr. W. Schuman for orchestra)
  • Variations on Jerusalem the Golden, "Fantasia on Jerusalem the Golden" (arr. K. Brion)
  • Violin Sonata No. 1
  • Violin Sonata No. 2
  • Violin Sonata No. 4, "Children's Day at the Camp Meeting"
  • Vote for Names! Names! Names!
  • Waltz (arr. G. Smith for choir and piano)
  • Washington's Birthday
  • Yale-Princeton Football Game (realization by J.B. Sinclair)