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Ives: Three Places In New England; Ruggles, Et Al / Dohnanyi


Release Date: 01/13/1998 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 443776   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Charles IvesCarl RugglesRuth Crawford Seeger
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland OrchestraCleveland Orchestra Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews


It’s hard to believe that this recording is nearly 20 years old (at time of writing). In 1995, when it was released, Decca—and the classical recording industry generally—was flinging product onto the market without a thought given to promotion or sales, junk being issued alongside great releases with no clue as to which was which. Dohnányi and Cleveland were getting particularly short shrift. Decca stupidly agreed to an entire Ring Cycle with these forces, only two installments of which were completed. Other titles, including this one, were dumped onto the international market without the prospect of a domestic release. It was insane.

But the recordings got made, somehow, for
Read more some reason, and this one is extraordinary. As far as the Ives Orchestral Sets go, they demonstrate that despite the composer’s disdain for precision, he really did write good music that benefits from being played with all the polish and virtuosity a great orchestra can bring to bear. The climax of the Second Orchestral Set’s final picture, From Hanover Square North…, proves that there’s much more to this music than a glutinous mass of congested tone (sound clip). The result has clarity, as well as a genuinely moving emotional impact. FYI, I used to work at Hanover Square–in the center of the Wall Street financial district. The elevated subway that Ives evokes at one point is no longer there.

Regarding the Ruggles pieces, these are just the best played, best conducted performances available, save perhaps for Michael Tilson Thomas’ first (Boston) recording of Sun-treader. The clarity of texture and easy flow that Dohnányi gets from the orchestra in this incredibly gnarly work is just astonishing (sound clip), and again, it doesn’t diminish the music’s intensity. Rather, it justifies it. Men and Mountains has had too few recordings to class this one as anything but the finest of them, while the brief Andante for strings by Ruth Crawford (Seeger) makes a thoughtful and expressively apt bonus. The sonics are completely at one with the performances: clean, clear, fresh and open. This is just a great disc.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. First Orchestral Set "Three Places in New England" by Charles Ives
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1912-1921; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 19 Minutes 6 Secs. 
2. Set no 2 for Small Orchestra by Charles Ives
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1911-14; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 15 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: English 
3. Men and Mountains by Carl Ruggles
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924/1941; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 9 Minutes 28 Secs. 
4. Sun-treader by Carl Ruggles
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926-1931; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 14 Minutes 9 Secs. 
5. Andante for Strings by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931/1938; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1994 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 

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