Composers Datebook®

Serebrier assists Stokie (and Ives)

Charles Ives (1874-1954) Symphony No. 4 Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, cond. DG 4839505 Jose Serebrier (b. 1938) Partita (Symphony No. 2) London Philharmonic; José Serebrier, cond. Reference 90


Composer's Datebook - April 26, 2021

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April 26, 2021

Synopsis

On today’s date in 1965, the first complete performance of the Fourth Symphony of American composer Charles Ives took place in New York.

38 years earlier, in 1927, also in New York, the British conductor Eugene Goossens had performed the first two movements of Ives’ Fourth Symphony, after many a sleepless night trying to figure out how to perform certain sections of Ives’ score where the bar-lines didn’t jibe—parts where more than one rhythm pattern happened simultaneously.

“I remember,” Goosens said, “that I wound up beating two with my stick, three with my left hand, something else with my head, and something else again with my coat tails.”

For the 1965 premiere and first recording of Ives’ complete symphony, Leopold Stokowski solved this problem by enlisting the aid of two assistant conductors, David Katz and Jose Serebrier—all three men working simultaneously at times to cue the musicians in the trickiest passages of the score.

One of conductors who assisted Stokowski in 1965, Jose Serebrier, went on to recorded Ives’ Fourth again—this time without the aid of assistant conductors, coat tails, or the surgical addition of another set of arms.

Music Played in Today's Program

Charles Ives (1874-1954) Symphony No. 4 Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, cond. DG 4839505

Jose Serebrier (b. 1938) Partita (Symphony No. 2) London Philharmonic; José Serebrier, cond. Reference 90

On This Day

Deaths

  • 1951 - American composer John Alden Carpenter, age 75, in Chicago;

  • 1991 - French-born American composer and arranger Leo (Noël) Arnaud, age 86, in Los Angeles; His tune "Bugler's Dream" (written for a Felix Slatkin LP) became used as a familiar theme for the Olympic Games;

Premieres

  • 1738 - Handel: opera "Serse," (Julian date: April 15);

  • 1899 - first version of Sibelius: Symphony No. 1, by the Helsinki Philharmonic, with the composer conducting; A revised, final version of this symphony was performed by the same orchestra on tour in Stockholm on July 4, 1900, conducted by Robert Kajanus;

  • 1915 - Hindemith: String Quartet No. 1 in C, Op. 2, at Dr. Hoch's Conservatory in Frankfurt;

  • 1959 - John Cage: "Fontana Mix," in New York City;

  • 1965 - Ives: Symphony No. 4, at Carnegie Hall by the American Symphony Orchestra, with Leopold Stokowski (assisted by David Katz and José Serebrier);

  • 1970 - Broadway premiere of Sondheim: musical 'Company"; A trial-run in Boston preceded the Broadway premiere;

  • 1990 - John Harbison: Concerto for Double Brass Choir and Orchestra, in Los Angeles, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, André Previn conducting;

  • 2002 - Michael Hersch: Symphony No. 2, by the Pittsburgh Symphony, Mariss Jansons conducting;

Others

  • 1891 - Tchaikovsky arrives in New York to take part in the May 5, 1891, opening concert at New York's newly-constructed "Music Hall"(later known as "Carnegie Hall”).

  • 1926 - American premiere of Monteverdi's 1642 opera "L'Incoronazione di Poppea" (The Coronation of Poppea), at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.