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Classical 101

Charles Ives' "The Camp Meeting" on Symphony @ 7

 Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony
Kristen Loken
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony.

As we head toward the Fourth of July weekend, the next Symphony @ 7 will feature the Third Symphony  of American composer Charles Ives,  a work from 11910 titled "The Camp Meeting," with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Ives is an American original, but his music was pretty much ignored during his lifetime.  He was considered too "modernist" if not downright eccentric as a composer for his use poly rhythms, dissonance, and more unusual effects.   He did have some admirers and began to get some public notice in the 1930s.

In 1946 Lou Harrison conducted the first performance of the  Third Symphony,  and the following year Ives received the Pulitzer Prize for music.

The Third Symphony is, in part, a nostalgic look back to Ives's childhood in Danbury, Connecticut in the late 19th century, quoting hymn tunes and popular songs.  The title, "The Camp Meeting," alludes to the religious revival meeting he remembers growing up, and each of the three movements has a suggestive title as well:  Old Folks Gatherin', Children, Day and Communion.

For the rest of the hour on Symphony @ 7, we'll hear Beethoven's Piano concerto No. 1 in C in a performance by pianist Evgeny Kissin and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Colin Davis, this evening on Classical 101.