Jennie A. Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth (1914)
—for Kyle Gann
Thanksgiving and Forefathers’ Day is the last of the four pieces included in Charles Ives’s A Symphony: New England Holidays. Ives provided no program note for the piece, but the score does bear a dedication to his brother-in-law, Edward Carrington Twichell (“Uncle Deac”): Continue reading
Fourth of July Parade by Alfred Cornelius Howland, c. 1886
A doctor in the sanitarium looked at [the score] strangely, and assumed I was a patient.
—Charles Ives John Kirkpatrick, ed., Charles E. Ives, Memos 104] Continue reading
A Rainy Day in Camp (Winslow Homer, 1871)
Decoration Day is a masterpiece, with an ending that is the loneliest and one of the most touching I know of.
—attributed to Igor Stravinsky
Charles Ives wrote of his piece Decoration Day, the second of the four pieces included in his A Symphony: New England Holidays, that it “started as a brass band overture, but never got very far that way.” [John Kirkpatrick, ed., Charles E. Ives, Memos 101] Continue reading
Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge, John Ward Dunsmore (1907)
Charles Ives wrote of his piece Washington’s Birthday:
The first part of this piece is but to give the picture of the dismal, bleak, cold weather of a February night near New Fairfield [Connecticut] . . . . The middle part and the shorter last part are but kinds of refrains made up of some of the old barn-dance tunes and songs of the day . . . . As I remember some of these dances as a boy, and also from father’s description . . . there was more variety of tempo than in the present-day dances. In some parts of the hall a group would be dancing a polka, while in another a waltz, with perhaps a quadrille or lancers going on in the middle. . . . Sometimes the change in tempo and mixed rhythms would be caused by a fiddler who, after playing three or four hours steadily, was getting a little sleepy–or by another player who had been seated too near the hard cider barrel. [John Kirkpatrick, ed., Charles E. Ives Memos 96-97] Continue reading