October 11, 2011 at 3:42 AM
Charles Ives wrote four violin sonatas, and Hilary Hahn and pianist Valentina Lisitsa make a strong argument that we ought to be playing, programming and studying these pieces more often with their release this week of Ives: Four Sonatas. For me the sonatas fall pleasingly in between being Romantic and being hard-core 20th c. (like, sorry, Schoenberg). It makes sense, given the time they were written and Charles Ives' life (1874-1954). Ives was the son of a band leader with some mad ideas about harmony, he was a church organist from the age 14, and he made his living as an insurance agent -- he was less part of the musical in-crowd during the early 20th c. His music goes its own way, occasionally happening on a church hymn, or going on a rhythmically asymmetrical romp. A cross-eyed, bitonal march might slide into an almost cheesy, Rachmaninov-like harmony. Yet it all tends to favor the violin's most melodious qualities. It's full of interesting discoveries, and I find it grows on me.
Happily, Hilary Hahn has given us three of these CDs to give to Violinist.com members this week; we'll have new questions on Wednesday and Friday. To enter to win, please go here: http://www.violinist.com/contest.
Congratulations to Aaron Smith of Omaha, Neb., who won the first CD! The next question is up, so enter to win!
Congratulations to Sam Choi of Buena Park, Cal., who won the second CD! The new question is up, if you'd like to take another try at winning!
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