• Charles Ives
  • Symphony No. 4 - performance edition

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)

Purchase the critical edition score & reference files (downloadable for on-screen reading) from Classical on Demand
realized and edited by Thomas M. Brodhead

  • 3+pic.2.3.tsx(barsx)[=tsx+barsx].24.6(cnt).4.tbatimp.5perc.[opt xyl]solo pf.quarter-tone pf.orch pf(4-hand).cel.org.[opt ether org]str(min 12.12.12.10.8 players); distant choir ensemble (hp.5vn); B.U. ensemble (5perc in mvt 4).
  • SATB chorus
  • 30 min

Programme Note

This new performance score seeks to address every quantifiable performance problem confronting conductors and performers of the Ives Fourth. Here, for the first time, the bedeviling problems that have vexed interpreters of the score in the past are addressed directly, and every new issue unearthed and made plain in the new Critical Edition score has been harnessed and accounted for.


The previous performance score, the now time-worn "blue" score of 1965, was provisional from its inception. Its editors, Theodore Seder and Romulus Franceschini, worked against a daunting deadline to provide performance materials for the American Symphony Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski to premiere the work on 26 April 1965. The resulting score was a patchwork of hand copying and Cowell-era plate engraving (for bits of the 2nd movement), and the parts — in use up to now — contained no cues for the players! Seder and Franceschini must still be given credit for an admirable job making sense of the manuscript sources at a time when so much in them was poorly understood.

The prime directive guiding this new Performance Edition — based on the scholarly Critical Edition — has been to realize Ives's intentions without compromise. Whenever possible, the graphics of the score reinforce the composer's intentions (e.g. the horizontal spacing of nonsynchronous events visually suggest the effect that is to be achieved.) The parts likewise clarify all polytemporal events through the use of intelligent coordination cues and alternative notations that preserve Ives's rhythms. Most importantly, this edition does not force this piece into the Procrustean bed of one particular viewpoint on how it should be conducted and performed. Rather, through the clarification of Ives's intentions and through the transparent presentation of Ives's performance options for conductors and players, this edition will allow conductors to make informed individual interpretations that may be executed in any number of ways.

The work on this edition would not have been possible without the help of James B. Sinclair, whose editorial suggestions and proofreading were invaluable in the course of the evolution of the score and parts. Special thanks to Gunther Schuller, who acted as editorial consultant in the production of this Performance Score. And, finally, special thanks must also be given to Allen Edwards, whose careful proofreading of the 4th movement cleared the way for its apotheosis, as Ives intended all along.

— Thomas M. Brodhead

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