Charles Ives’s Music is my #QuarantineVibe

The Music of Charles Ives | Department of Music at Sonoma State University

The most interesting man in…Connecticut.

A man locks himself away in a New England cottage and spends all his spare time doing creative sh*t: is it a sad Wes boi during quarantine? No! It’s LeGEndArY American composer Charles Ives.

Who’s Charles Ives, you ask?

Allow me to perform the initiation.

Charles Ives was born in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1874, to a family of DiTsinGishEd WASPs that arrived a few years after the Mayflower. He went to Yale, played baseball, was inducted into a prestigious fraternity, etc. etc. He was set to have prominent career in classical music, but when he was twenty-eight he stepped away from public life, for mysterious reasons. He spent the rest of his days making a living as an insurance salesman and writing music on weekends and evenings, in this house in Danbury, CT:

Charles Ives House - Wikipedia

It’s a museum now. You should totally visit when it’s safe again.

Anyway, little of Ive’s music was performed during his lifetime. But today he’s considered the first “serious” American composer (if you believe distinguishing between serious and not serious music). Apparently he did a lot with keys…and um…notes? I don’t effing know.

I’ve been listening to this dude’s music a lot in recent weeks. Why? Mostly because his locked-away-in-your-house-doing-work-while-slowly-high-key-LOOSING-IT energy is like, my energy right now (and probably yours too, let’s be honest). So just in case you’ve been looking for a soundtrack to the dissolution of the self, I thought I’d share with you a few of the Connecticut hermit’s trippiest tracks. Enjoy.

The Unanswered Question

Explanatory note:

  1. Trumpet = Ordinary people, asking important questions about the meaning of life.
  2. Wind Instruments = Experts trying to answer those questions, failing, and becoming increasingly exasperated (get it? The u n a n s w e r e d question? HA! Genius!).
  3. Strings = The indifference of nature.

“A Son of a Gambolier” (from 114 Songs)

Adding Kazoos to the classical c a n o n.

Should be clear by now that this man was effing INSANE.

The Fourth of July

Current election vibe.

This piece is a mishmash of march tunes and other patriotic paraffinalia. Meant to parody what it’s like to be a spectator in a military parade. Sort of mocking jingoism (yay).

“The Childrens’ Hour” (also from 114 Songs)

Smells like Satie.

The Concord Sonata

Warning: no key signatures. Or time signatures, for the most part. lolololol I’m lost

“Three Places in New England”

For the record, the three places are: the Dunkin’™ on route six, a strip mall in Hartford, and an empty lot in Waterbury.


Ok fam, that’s it. Imma go fade off into the ether.

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