Fall 1954 • Vol. XVI No. 4 NonfictionOctober 1, 1954 |

Music Letter: A Post-Mortem for Mr. Ives

In 1922, Charles Ives had written almost all of the music for which he later became celebrated, and it was during that year that he published, privately, a collection of 114 songs, with many footnotes and a grandiose prose postscript. The last paragraph of this essay contains something very close to a confession of faith: Some of these songs … particularly among the later ones, cannot be sung,—and if they could perhaps might prefer, if they had a say, to remain as they are,—that is, "in the leaf." … An excuse … for their existence, which suggests itself at this point, is that a song has a few rights the same as ordinary citizens. If it feels like walking along the left-hand side of the street-passing the door of physiology or sitting on a curb, why not let it? If it feels like kicking over an ash-can, a poet's castle, or the prosodic law, will you stop it? Must it always be a polite triad, a "breve gaudium," a ribbon to match the voice? Should it not be free at times

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