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Three Places In New England/Su


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 3 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000042D4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

1. Three Places In New England: The 'St. Gaudens' in Boston Common
2. Putnam's Camp, Redding, Connecticut
3. The Housatonic at Stockbridge
4. Orchestral set no.2: An Elegy to our Forefathers
5. The Rockstrewn Hills Join in the People's Outdoor Meeting
6. From Hanover Square North....
7. Sun-treader
8. Men
9. Lilacs
10. Marching Mountains
11. Andante for strings

Product Description

Amazon.ca

You'll probably find this filed under Charles Ives, since his Three Places in New England leads off the disc. However, while that's enough to recommend the disc, it's the music of Ruggles and Seeger that deserve our attention here. Ruggles (1876-1971) was a contemporary of Charles Ives and as much of an experimenter. He pursed atonality more directly than Ives, as in Sun-Treader (1935), much to his credit. Seeger (mother of Pete Seeger) is also a much-neglected American Modernist, and her Andante for Strings just isn't enough here. I highly recommend all this music. --Paul Cook

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Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful CD with powerful, committed performances of works by some of the most forward thinking composers this country has ever produced. And while there is alot of competition for the Ives Orchestral sets on the disc, the Ruggles and Crawford Seeger are relative rarities and make this a disc to treasure.
The ives Orchestral Sets lead off the disc, and they are great performances. Of the two, the First Set is the more familiar. St. Gaudens is a lovely study in atmospherics, in Ives typical blend of Imressionism, quotation, polytonatlity and shimmeringly atonal chords. Putnam's Camp is one of Ives' cacaphonous marches, littered with quotes from patriotic songs and the effects of several bands playing at once. This piece in particular seems almost a study for the stunning 2nd movement of the 4th symphony. The Set concluded with the justly celebrated Housatonic at Stockbridge. Slowly, out of the dense polyphony of the opening, a hymn tune gradually emerges in a blazing glory. Ives proves a master of impressionistic sound painting, but you never confuse him with his French counterparts...or even those like Griffeths or Delius, who are influenced by the French so highly. Ives take Impressionist gestures and makes them his own.
The Second Set is less well known, but equally striking. The Elegy to our Forefathers is dominated by beautiful and unusual instrumental timbres, including the harpsichord. It is a lovely, well shaped work. The Rockstrewn Hills is another of Ives' Camp Meeting pieces. Similar in ways to General Putnam, but this time using American Revival Hymns, the work is powerful and individual. The work finishes with Hanover Squart North, which features a significant choral part in the misdst of Ives' typical murky textures.
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Format: Audio CD
This is an amazing work, powerful and burning. Everyone should get a chance to listen to Ruggles' greatest work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
American Iconoclasts Oct. 4 2002
By Christopher Forbes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful CD with powerful, committed performances of works by some of the most forward thinking composers this country has ever produced. And while there is alot of competition for the Ives Orchestral sets on the disc, the Ruggles and Crawford Seeger are relative rarities and make this a disc to treasure.
The ives Orchestral Sets lead off the disc, and they are great performances. Of the two, the First Set is the more familiar. St. Gaudens is a lovely study in atmospherics, in Ives typical blend of Imressionism, quotation, polytonatlity and shimmeringly atonal chords. Putnam's Camp is one of Ives' cacaphonous marches, littered with quotes from patriotic songs and the effects of several bands playing at once. This piece in particular seems almost a study for the stunning 2nd movement of the 4th symphony. The Set concluded with the justly celebrated Housatonic at Stockbridge. Slowly, out of the dense polyphony of the opening, a hymn tune gradually emerges in a blazing glory. Ives proves a master of impressionistic sound painting, but you never confuse him with his French counterparts...or even those like Griffeths or Delius, who are influenced by the French so highly. Ives take Impressionist gestures and makes them his own.
The Second Set is less well known, but equally striking. The Elegy to our Forefathers is dominated by beautiful and unusual instrumental timbres, including the harpsichord. It is a lovely, well shaped work. The Rockstrewn Hills is another of Ives' Camp Meeting pieces. Similar in ways to General Putnam, but this time using American Revival Hymns, the work is powerful and individual. The work finishes with Hanover Squart North, which features a significant choral part in the misdst of Ives' typical murky textures. The work undulates through these mists before it finally shines forth in a glorious brass band climax before it recedes again into murk.
Carl Ruggles has been severly neglected by the CD era. In the early 80s, Michael Tilson Thomas put out a double LP containing all of the work of this cranky yet brilliant composer, but this recording has been lost in the rush to CD technology. As a result, there are only a handful of Ruggles pieces to found in the catalogue. Luckily, one is the Sun Treader, which is probably Ruggles greatest piece of music. The work is tightly constructed around a strong repeated timpani stoke, and built of hard lines in uncompromising dissonant counterpoint. Ruggles music is like granite, chiseled and hard, yet strangely moving. The Sun Treader is only 14 minutes long, and yet it packs more in those 14 minutes than many composers pack into entire symphonies.
Men and Mountains is a slightly earlier piece. It shares the same strong, chiseled quality, but the counterpoint is not quite as highly developed. Lilacs in particular is a wonderful movement. Quiet and written for strings alone, this movement builds a tense chorale like texture, that increases in tension without exploding. The effect is stunning.
The Crawford Seeger Andante for Strings is also an undiscovered masterpiece. Crawford Seeger was one of the most radical composers of her generation, embracing the logic and atonality of the 2nd Viennese school during the time most Americans were under the spell of Boulanger and Stravinsky. This small work is a great introduction to this negelcted composer.
The Cleveland Orchestra under Dohnanyi is marevelous in this material, rivalling the Tilson Thomas Set with the BSO. This CD gets a slight edge for me, because of Men and Mountains and the Seeger Andante. It is outstanding.
Essential American Music Aug. 12 2015
By Personne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Charles Ives--while never quite invisible--endured a long period of relative obscurity. As his centennial approached in the 1970s, interest in this unusual composer began to increase. Young musicians found a kindred soul. More established musicians found good reason to program Ives's music (this was before the days when orchestral boards demanded pablum). This was the time that I first encountered Ives. His music has been an occasional companion ever since.

It should be said that a little Ives can go a long way. He was prolific and perhaps not particularly disciplined as a composer, and left us many pieces in varying condition. His style--a casserole of sentimental music, layered with abrupt changes and discordances, often makes it hard to distinguish one piece from another. But among all of this music are some real gems. The Piano Sonatas and the 4th Symphony are solid and serious pieces. So is "Three Places in New England". The St. Gaudens movement (inspired by a powerful bas relief on the Boston Common) is a slow march of ghosts. There is supreme irony in the use of "Old Black Joe" as primary material. "Putnam's Camp" gives us a tangible feel for an army campsite, with marching soldiers, campfires, caissons and onlookers. "Housatonic" interweaves long horn and string lines with the fog of string tremelos. This is really effective tone painting. The second orchestral set, also on this CD, is less successful although the opening movement has much to recommend it.

I've often thought of Carl Ruggles as something of a one-hit wonder. But oh what a hit! "Sun-Treader" has one of the most breathtaking introductions of any piece I know. It's a fortissimo timpani beat with a searing brass crie du coeur. After decades it still makes me sit up straight. The overall sensibilities of the piece are quite German. It is a sonata form, but virtually all development is contrapuntal. There are inverted canons, retrograde canons, bits of counterpoint long and short. There's a quite logical sense of the long line throughout these 15 intense minutes. The coda mixes the original material with a powerful recitativo in the strings. This is a stunning piece of music.

Ruggles wrote only a handful of pieces and destroyed most of those. The other piece included on this CD is "Men and Mountains". While it has its moments, the dissonance feels gratuitous and the form is disjunct. It feels like all of his other music pointed the way to "Sun-Treader"

There was a pleasant surprise for me on this CD. That's the "Andante for Strings" by Ruth Crawford (Seeger). I'd heard the String Quartet from which this movement was derived, but it made little impression on me at the time. I'm going to have to rethink that. The Andante in its orchestral form has a pulsating and needful urgency. If you were told it was Ligeti or Lutoslawski, you wouldn't have any trouble believing it. It's a single phrase that builds to a logical peak and then dies away. Ruth Crawford had just begun to make a name as a composer when she turned away and began editing collections of folk music. That is our loss.

This CD is twenty years old, and I'm sorry I'd missed it until now. Dohnanyi gets to the core of the music and the recording is quite good. These are essential pieces for any collection.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Ives; Excellent Ruggles July 4 2008
By Kevin Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
An excellent recording; style and content reflect the heritage of the two composers. Sun Treader is a little-known, powerful, unique compositional and orchestral statement.
12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The suntreader rages. Oct. 10 1999
By Thomas Hempel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is an amazing work, powerful and burning. Everyone should get a chance to listen to Ruggles' greatest work.

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