Twelve Songs by Charles Ives

Twelve Songs by Charles Ives

by Theo Bleckmann

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Overview

As much as the music industry has evolved over the years, one thing has never changed: even some of the most talented musicians and composers find it necessary to have jobs outside of music. That remains true in the 21st century, and it was certainly true during the lifetime of Charles Ives (b. 1874, d. 1954). Ives did a considerable amount of composing in the 1890s, 1900s, and 1910s, but he also had a successful "day gig" in the insurance industry for many years. Ives' songs were underappreciated when he was alive; some of his biggest admirers are people who discovered his music long after his death -- and one of them is New York singer Theo Bleckmann, who pays tribute to the American composer on Twelve Songs by Charles Ives. This 2008 recording could have easily become blatantly nostalgic, but Bleckmann (who is joined by the group Kneebody) doesn't sound like he is longing for the days of acoustical recordings and cylinders. Combining avant-garde jazz with elements of cabaret and avant-garde classical, Bleckmann puts his own spin on Ives' compositions and gives them 21st century makeovers. Twelve Songs by Charles Ives opens with a song that Ives wrote in 1895 ("Songs My Mother Taught Me"), but Bleckmann never pretends that this is anything other than a 21st century recording. In fact, someone who heard this 58-minute CD without knowing anything about Ives' life might be surprised to find out that "Weil auf Mir" goes back to 1902 or that "At the River" was written in 1916; Bleckmann puts a lot of effort into making the material sound contemporary by 2008 standards, and it works. Twelve Songs by Charles Ives is not only one of Bleckmann's most intriguing albums -- it is also one of his most consistent.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/10/2009
Label: Winter & Winter
UPC: 0025091014729
catalogNumber: 147
Rank: 150004

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