Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Burkholder, J. Peter. “Ives and the Nineteenth-Century European Tradition.” In Charles Ives and the Classical Tradition, ed. Geoffrey Block and J. Peter Burkholder, 11-33. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

Charles Ives is as much a part of the European art music tradition as are his progressive European contemporaries. Ives’s adoption of European genres, ideal of music practiced for its own sake, penchant for program music, nationalism, and desire to express new things in music all show the influence of European Romanticism, which Ives learned in large part from his composition teacher, Horatio Parker. When analyzing the idea of allusion and quotation through Ives’s compositions in chronological order, a clear pattern of development emerges. Ives began by imitating musical models; for example, his early Polonaise in C is modeled on the sextet from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. His First Symphony continues this practice of modeling, but now in the spirit of competition. The second movement theme is an elegant condensation of the second movement theme of Dvořák’s New World symphony, and as such it can be read as a sincere challenge to the famous tune. In his Second Symphony, Ives begins to claim a distinctive voice as a composer by using borrowed material to celebrate American music within the European symphonic tradition. This process of self-assertion continues in the Third Symphony, which includes the first instance of Ives’s new “cumulative form,” borrowing the principles of development that underlie the European tradition. The Fourth of July, a symphonic poem also using cumulative form, exemplifies Ives’s mature style and an extraordinary complexity of quotation used to evoke the process of memory. Still, the nationalism and programmaticism underlying The Fourth of July are rooted in European Romanticism. While Ives certainly deserves his avant-garde reputation, he is also a composer whose music is rooted in the European tradition and a worthy peer to his European contemporaries.

Works: Ives: Polonaise in C (15-18), Ich grolle nicht (19-22), Symphony No. 1 in D Minor (22-26), Symphony No. 2 (26-28), Symphony No. 3 (28-31), The Fourth of July (31-32)

Sources: Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (15-18); Robert Schumann: Ich grolle nicht from Dichterliebe, Op. 48 (19-22); Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74, Pathétique (22); Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 (22); Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759, Unfinished (22); Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, From the New World (22-25); Henry Clay Work: Wake Nicodemus (26-27); William B. Bradbury: Woodworth (28-31); C. G. Gläser, Lowell Mason (adapter): Azmon (28-31); David T. Shaw (or Thomas A’Becket): Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean (31-32)

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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