Growing up as the son of a bandleader, Charles Ives was always surrounded by music. He learned early on the power of popular tunes to bring back thoughts of people, places, events, even feelings. One of his favorite techniques was to quote bits of tunes his audience would know to evoke the memories they shared. But many found the way he quoted them quite shocking.
Coming of age at the dawn of the twentieth century, Charles Ives saw the halcyon days of his youth fading fast. Not willing to let them go, he invented a striking new musical language to enshrine the feelings and ideals of a simpler time. But many, shocked by passages like the “fireworks” in ‘Fourth of July,’ found his new-fangled methods at odds with the memories he was trying to preserve. Did Ives go too far? Or did he succeed in turning his memories into music?
Ranging from tender sentiment to savage chaos, the music of early 20th-century composer Charles Ives explores an essentially American riddle: how can we survive the relentless assault of our own success? Join Michael Tilson Thomas as he, the San Francisco Symphony, and Charles Ives belt it out over truth, beauty, and the American Way.