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Charles Ives' Musical Universe HBW

by:
Antony Cooke (Author)

ISBN: 1-4958-0476-3 ©2015
Price: $49.95
Book Size: Landscape 11" x 8.5" , 582 pages
Category/Subject: MUSIC / General

In this landmark volume on Charles Ives, the largest ever published, detailed analyses are provided across his output, from Variations on America to the Universe Symphony, revealing much of the structural “code” that underlies his music. There is no comparable volume in existence that provides a similar level or breadth of insight about the composer’s music. Forensically answering the challenges of revisionism, the real Charles Ives re-emerges for the first time in three decades—no longer of an invention and captive of an alternate universe. Ives and his music emerge taller and more remarkable than ever.

Abstract:
In this landmark volume on Charles Ives, the largest ever published, detailed analyses are provided across his output, from Variations on America to the Universe Symphony, revealing much of the structural “code” that underlies his music. There is no comparable volume in existence that provides a similar level or breadth of insight about the composer’s music.
Forensically answering the challenges of revisionism, the real Charles Ives re-emerges for the first time in three decades—no longer of an invention and captive of an alternate universe. Ives and his music emerge taller and more remarkable than ever.

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Customer Reviews

  Extraordinary Analysis of Charles Ives' Influence via His Many Great Works , 06/05/2015
Reviewer: Don Dobrenski
Having been fortunate enough to obtain access to an advance copy of Antony Cooke's expansive tome ("Charles Ives's Musical Universe") on Charles Ives just prior to its wide availability, I was able to pour over its pages for several weeks before surfacing for breath. This book offers a fascinating and provocative account of Charles Ives' personal and musical development; I will need to focus even more attention on its technical observations in coming weeks and months, but I am already suitably impressed. Wow, this book represents quite a scholarly undertaking! The combined scope and depth of Mr. Cooke's treatment of Ives' life and creative works verges on overwhelming in its incredibly supportive references and extensive analytical exposition. In this new text, Mr. Cooke builds on the facility and refreshing coverage he previously provided in his earlier work on Ives' world and the development of his music ("Charles Ives and His Road to the Stars," Estrella Books). In all candor, this new book is not a quick read; nor do I believe it could or should ever be seen as as such. This book not only challenges many status quo beliefs about Ives, his motivations and his work, but goes on to dash many unfounded myths with well documented facts and new analyses. In terms of commitment, breadth and complexity I find myself treating Cooke's "Universe" book akin to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy in much the same way as I might compare "Charles Ives and His Road to the Stars" with the deceptively simple story-telling of Tolkien's "The Hobbit." If this analogy is not immediately clear then I can only observe that "Charles Ives and His Road to the Stars" offers any reader a solid springboard for undertaking Mr. Cooke's more complex and definitive "Charles Ives's Musical Universe." Cooke offers a hybrid notation system in this latter "Universe" book that musicology students should well appreciate. Moreover, with his current text Mr. Cooke offers insights well beyond the frequently cited superficial detections of notable tune fragments incorporated into much of Ives' compositions. Particularly fascinating is Cooke's discovery of what he terms the "Trinity Code," an apparently pervasive mechanism that he exposes astonishingly well throughout much of Ives' body of work. It is amazing that such an underlying system and compositional language or at least some of its elements and apparent evolution were not detected or well enough understood to begin to appreciate previously let alone publish. I find myself asking whether and to what degree some previous Ives scholars might have been aware of such mechanisms or other significant attributes buried in Ives' compositions. Indeed, Mr. Cooke appears to be the only scholar to significantly further specific research observations and theories offered in detail by Carol Baron and Philip Lambert more than twenty (20) years ago! Mr. Cooke observes that other books seem to have discounted, misinterpreted or simply ignored such research and related findings. Without distracting from other impartial observations and analyses Mr. Cooke appears quite justified in asking why this might be so. Mr. Cooke also acknowledges that some researchers' works may have been in effect suppressed in favor of derogatory findings so often espoused by certain prevailing scholars. Notably, Mr. Cooke provides in the current text a rigorously applied validation of Carol Baron's forensic system for dating Ives' works. Interestingly, Ms. Baron published her forensic system observations more than 25 years ago; perhaps more interesting is how her system has been cited and acknowledged but just as quickly ignored by certain predisposed revisionists when drawing their more disparaging conclusions about Ives and his music. In this book, Mr. Cooke strongly asserts that specific Ives scholars have failed to offer substantive and detailed insights into Ives' methods and have therefore resorted to an easier pattern of reinforcing each other's false claims and innuendo against the man and his music. Again without detracting from his comprehensive analyses of Ives' many works, Mr. Cooke directly discredits evident biases and limitations exhibited by such Ives scholars and the unsupportable results of their individual and collective studies to date. Whether you personally enjoy some or all of Ives' music, I suggest that Mr. Cooke's pivotal text represents the new standard for both studying and otherwise enjoying Ives' real world and his music. If you are a student of Ives or wish to become one then you really must commit to reading this book in depth.

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