Charles Ives, James Sinclair, Northern Sinfonia - Symphony No 3

Tuesday 1st July 2003
Charles Ives, James Sinclair, Northern Sinfonia - Symphony No 3
Charles Ives, James Sinclair, Northern Sinfonia - Symphony No 3

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Naxos 8559087

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Charles Ives (1874-1954) is an interesting composer. His father, George, was a bandmaster who gave Charles a thorough musical education yet also encouraged him to experiment. At Yale Charles continued in his “classical” training, learning much about the European tradition but as the century ended he began moving in Modernist circles. He quit his post as church organist in 1902 and sold insurance to make ends meet. In his Third Symphony (1904) Ives found his voice. Using hymn and gospel tunes he painted a musical picture of an old-time camp meeting. I spent a pleasant 20 minutes listening for favourite tunes and, before I knew it, the symphony was over. It is short, it is unique, it is worth investigating. There are four other pieces by Ives in this addition to the ‘American Classics’ series. None of them are specifically religious but all are worth hearing. Regular readers will not need reminding that Naxos releases are astoundingly good value.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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