Repertoire Search

Charles Ives

Publisher: AMP

Symphony No. 4 - performance edition
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
realized and edited by Thomas M. Brodhead
30 Minutes
SATB chorus
Programme Note
Charles Ives Symphony No. 4 - performance edition

Related items:
   critical edition score & CD-ROM
   performance edition score & parts


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.

This edition begins with four written documents that clarify Ives's intentions, both those of a singular nature and those supporting a plurality of performance options:
  • Survival Guide:
    view note
    read PDF
    This is a comprehensive listing of every issue that must be apprehended by the conductor before the first rehearsal. This includes issues of instrumentation, seating location, conducting requirements, polytemporal or non-synchronized events, and other details in the score that must be accounted for.

  • "Consult Conductor" Questions in Parts:
    view note
    read PDF
    This is a listing of every orchestration option that Ives leaves to the conductor and that appears in the parts as a conductor's choice. It serves as a checklist for the conductor to pass on to the orchestra librarian to reproduce in the parts.

  • The Program of Movement II: The Celestial Railroad:
    view note
    read PDF
    This outlines the lively program behind the "Comedy" movement, which is a tone-poem of Straussian dimensions. Conductors may wish to explain the extra-musical meaning of the movement to the players, who in turn will undoubtedly respond even more sympathetically to the music.

  • Ives's 'Conductor's Note' to Movement II:
    view note
    read PDF
    This note by Ives now glosses all of the asterisks in the second movement, something the original publication regrettably failed to do. It concludes with a substantial essay by Ives ostensibly explaining the "Prominence Indicators" (encircled letters) in the second movement, but in reality addressing musical modernism and the future of music itself.

  • Instrumentation:
    view note
    read PDF
    Solo Piano, Choir, Orchestra, Distant Choir Ensemble (instrumental), B.U. Ensemble (percussion)

  • Synthesizer setup and performance guidelines:
    view note
    read PDF
    A synthesizer can perform the parts for 1/4-tone piano and the high and low bells.

  • Synthesizer Patches and Information:
    download note
    download ZIP
    Bells and 1/4-tone Piano Synthesizer Patches for Apple Mainstage 3 Software


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

  • Ensemble
    Seattle Symphony
    Ludovic Morlot
    Seattle Symphony Media:
  • 28 FEB 2020
    Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

    Other Dates:
    29 February - Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA

Close X

Newsletter Signup

Enter your email address to keep up to date with the latest news and special offers from Music Sales Classical.
Your data is secure and you can unsubscribe at any time. Read our Privacy Policy

Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2019 Music Sales Classical. Part of the Music Sales Group.