“Varied Air” – Charles Ives Piano Music



Catalogue No: MSVCD 92037
EAN/UPC: 5019148632061
Release Date: June 2002
Genres: ,
Discs: 2
Total Playing Time: 133:16

The solo piano music of Ives represents an extraordinary achievement. “Experimental” is a word often associated with it. But “experimental” in what sense? Certainly he was exploring a wholly unique and personal style. Ives’ music is by turns, exploratory, powerful, sensitive, eccentric and transcendental always wholly consistent within its own, sometimes highly unusual terms.

These qualities are there in abundance in his two crowning achievements the first and second sonatas. The studies and others orbit round these like planets to twin suns.
GramophoneMagazine: best recording of the ‘Concord Sonata’

Track Listing

    Charles Ives:

  1. I. Piano Sonata no. 2 – Emerson (15:34)
  2. II. Piano Sonata no. 2 – Hawthorne (11:37)
  3. III. Piano Sonata no. 2 – The Alcotts (5:16)
  4. IV. Piano Sonata no. 2 – Thoreau (11:30)
  5. Three-Page Sonata (6:25)
  6. Study no. 2 – Varied Air and Variations (5:29)
  7. Study no. 9 – The Anti-Abolitionist Riots (2:25)
  8. Waltz-Rondo (6:16)
  9. I. Piano Sonata no. 1 – Section 1 (8:41)
  10. II. Piano Sonata no. 1 – Section 2a (1:41)
  11. III. Piano Sonata no. 1 – Section 2b (4:10)
  12. IV. Piano Sonata no. 1 – Section 3 (7:06)
  13. V. Piano Sonata no. 1 – Section 4a (1:18)
  14. VI. Piano Sonata no. 1 – Section 4b (2:53)
  15. VII. Piano Sonata no. 1 – Section 5 (12:37)
  16. Study no. 20 (8:36)
  17. Study no. 21 – Some South-paw Pitching (2:35)
  18. Study no. 22 (1:56)
  19. Study no. 23 – Baseball take-Off (4:46)
  20. I. Five Take-Offs – The Seen and Unseen? (2:41)
  21. II. Five Take-Offs – Rough and Ready et al (2:39)
  22. III. Five Take-Offs – Song Without (Good) Words (3:37)
  23. IV. Five Take-Offs – Scene Episode (2:26)
  24. V. Five Take-Offs – Bad Resolutions and Good Wan (1:02)



Philip Mead re-energised ideas about the Concord Sonata with an off-the-leash recording that leaves the thrills multiplying. Philip Mead’s performance is loud, rude and jammed with idiosyncratic corners. Charles Ives would have been hugely appreciative and admiring. GRAMOPHONE’S TOP CHOICE RECORDING

” —Philip Clark
The Observer

Perhaps providing the finest interpretation of the two piano sonatas on disc… Philip Mead is in his element, dexterously flying through those glittering dissonances and freely enjoying Ives’s unstilted ragtime motifs. CLASSICAL CD OF THE WEEK

” —Tarik O'Regan
The Sunday Times

The performances are superb – and so is the recording

” —Paul Driver
BBC Music Magazine

This is a most desirable disc… these two discs contain just about all of Ives’s best-known and most significant works for piano. … Mead would be hard to beat.

” —Christopher Dingle
The Guardian

Mead has no problems with the formidable technical difficulties many of these pieces present; the massive accumulations of notes, the cross rhythms and lightning switches of mood

” —Andrew Clements
Musical Opinion

… very well recorded. Above all, each disc contains a good selection of lves’ smaller items.

” —Unknown reviewer
La Folia

impressive two-CD set

” —Grant Chu Covell