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3 The Alcotts.flac
Piano Sonata No.2 "Concord, Mass., 1840-60"
Gilbert Kalish, piano
Samuel Baron, flute
John Graham, viola
3 The Alcotts
Elektra/Nonesuch 9 71337-2
On of the best recordings of Ives masterpiece for piano.
Some material in the piece dates back as far as 1904, but Ives began substantial work on the piece around 1911 and had largely completed it by 1915. It was first published in 1920 with a second, revised, edition appearing in 1947. It is this version which is usually performed today.
The sonata's four movements represent figures associated with transcendentalism. In the introduction to his Essays Before a Sonata (published immediately before the Concord Sonata) Ives said the work was his "impression of the spirit of transcendentalism that is associated in the minds of many with Concord, Mass., of over a half century ago. This is undertaken in impressionistic pictures of Emerson and Thoreau, a sketch of the Alcotts, and a Scherzo supposed to reflect a lighter quality which is often found in the fantastic side of Hawthorne."
The movements are:
1. "Emerson" (after Ralph Waldo Emerson)
2. "Hawthorne" (after Nathaniel Hawthorne)
3. "The Alcotts" (after Bronson Alcott and Louisa May Alcott)
4. "Thoreau" (after Henry David Thoreau)