Believe it or not, the recordings of the Ives songs continue. This month we'll be wrapping up the songs that David Barron and I did on the Ives Vocal Marathon. And just for kicks we're going to do a few more — songs that we did back in the day at the University of Illinois and in the early 1970s ("In the Alley" for example).
We have three sessions scheduled at Systems Two later this month. Very exciting. When we're done I'll start figuring out how to finish the rest of the job, with the other singers. At the rate we're going, I figure it will take fourteen more years to complete this project! Obviously none of us has that kind of time, so we have to speed up.
The order of events will be to finish up with Elizabeth Saunders (mezzo), then Johana Arnold (soprano), and finally Gary Harger (tenor). When we're done with all the voice and piano stuff we'll get cracking on the pieces with other instrumental combinations.
In some ways it is frustrating to have this project drag out. In other ways, however, it is very satisfying. I'm never far from the Ives songs, and that is a great thing. Since I am convinced that Ives is at least as good as any other song composer who ever lived, returning to these pieces is like returning to an ever-renewing spring of clear, refreshing water. One always gets ideas from Mr. Ives, and one always finds something new to admire in his music.
Earlier this year I met Stephen Budiansky, the author of Mad Music: Charles Ives, the Nostalgic Rebel. The book is out now, and I've ordered a copy. We'll see what Steve has to say about the songs! There are so many Ives books coming out now I've fallen behind in my reading...