Charles Ives, IVES: Three Quarter-Tone Pieces / Five Take-Offs / Hallowe’en / Sunrise

Gavin Borchert

By Gavin Borchert

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Continuum takes on one of America’s most inventive composers.

This atmospheric song, sensitively performed by members of the new-music group Continuum, is Ives'wistful remembrance of a Massachusetts stream he and his wife Harmony loved to stroll along. (It was later reworked as one of the movements in his orchestral Three Places in New England.) In this song we hear lapping waves and gently dissonant glints of light on the water's surface; Ives's experiments in unprecedented harmonic and rhythmic complexity are here used in the service of delicate landscape painting — in a style not far removed from the overtly avant-garde works also on this disc, like the exuberant chaos of his In Re Con Moto et al or the strange, tart new flavor of his Three Quarter-Tone Pieces.