Charles Ives (1874-1954) was probably one of the most psycho-intellectually brilliant, imaginative and flexible Americans to ever "walk the land of freedom." A graduate of Yale, he became a multi-millionaire in the American insurance industry, introducing brilliant innovations within that industry. He also, unlike a few composers, found the time and the money (being a shrewd and practical businessman) to get married and have children.
es into his pieces. In the "Concord," he attempted to project, within the music, the 19th century philosophical ideas of the American Transcendentalists, who obviously had a great impact on his world-view.
Thus, while other atonal composers such as Schoenberg or Berg attempted to infuse their music with "20th century" themes of hostility, violence and estrangement within their atonal music, the atonal music of Ives is, from a thematic standpoint, really quite "tonal."
Ives wrote the following essays as a (very big) set of program notes to accompany his second piano sonata. Here, he puts forth his elaborate theory of music and what it represents, and discusses Transcendental philosophy and its relation to music. The essays explain Ives' own philosophy of and understanding of music and art. They also serve as an analysis of music itself as an artform, and provide a critical explanation of the "Concord" and the role that the philosophies of Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and the Alcotts play in forming its