COLLOQUIUM SERIES: MATTHEW MCDONALD
Breaking Time’s Arrow: Temporality in the Music of Charles Ives
Presented by Matthew McDonald
Temporality in Western music of the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has been conceptualized in terms of an arrow moving continuously from past to present to future. In the music of many twentieth-century composers, however, this arrow is multiplied and broken. The American composer Charles Ives was one of the first to engage systematically with non-linear temporal structures. Ives’s treatment of musical time was informed by his characteristically modernist preoccupation with bringing the past to life in the present moment, primarily via the manipulation of musical memory fragments. Narrative cinema, whose emergence coincided with Ives’s main period of compositional activity, shared this desire to reinvigorate the past, and film’s animation of the “dead” images of photography provides a particularly useful means of conceptualizing Ives’s compositional strategies and their meanings. This lecture will explore these issues through Ives’s 1920 song “The Things Our Fathers Loved,” first offering a close interpretive analysis, and then considering the song in the context of modernist ideas about time and temporality, particularly as they were shaped and reflected by the cinema. The presentation will include a live performance of the song featuring Arthur Rishi.
Contact: Hilary Poriss 617.373.4249
Concert Coordinator: Arthur Rishi firstname.lastname@example.org 617.373.2671