Charles Ives: The Unanswered Question

Wow! Wow! And Wow again. I just listened to this piece for the first time tonight and was completely blown away. How did I miss this gem? Starting out stately with a sense of inexorable direction, every so often, its sonority and solemnity is periodically punctured, at first by a questioning horn, but increasingly by little explosions of woodwinds.

Written in 1906, “The Unanswered Question” serves as a kind of gateway between the traditional classical era and the flood of modernism that would soon sweep through the world. 1906. Think about it–7 years before Rites of Spring. My late best friend David Hendrickson told me 35 years ago about the wonders of Charles Ives, but I completely ignored him. Now I see I have a lot of catching up to do. Ain’t it wonderful?


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

6 Responses to Charles Ives: The Unanswered Question

  1. Gallivanta says:

    After listening to that I have had to revise my opinion of insurance salesmen. And his wife was named Harmony!


  2. Wow. I normally don’t care for modern music, but this is definitely an exception. I love the pppp at the end and the words “actual notes”! For some modern pieces, you really do wonder if what they wrote was actually supposed to be played! But I need to research Charles Ives more. Like you, I’ve heard about him, but have ignored it. He’s good.


  3. I had the same feeling when I listened to it the first time.


  4. Diana says:

    I am always watching data-consumption, so I usually listen to vids over wi-fi, later….
    Wanted to tell you I just ordered a dvd made by Leonard Bernstein, at Harvard, called “The Unanswered Question”. (Few days ago- synchronicity !) Will let you know if it pertains to this. 🙂


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