Ludovic Morlot / Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Ives: Symphony No. 4; The Unanswered Question; Central Park in the Dark; Symphony No. 3

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Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony have released a string of impressive albums on their home label, Seattle Symphony Media, and most of these recordings have included masterpieces of 20th century music. This 2015 album is devoted to the music of Charles Ives, offering a balanced program of two symphonies and two short orchestral pieces. The challenging Symphony No. 4 is regarded by some as Ives' definitive masterpiece, and despite its massive forces (which make performances infrequent) and the complexity of its polymeters, multiple tempos, and dense textures, it has enjoyed a devoted following since its first complete performance in 1965. In contrast, the Symphony No. 3, "The Camp Meeting" for chamber orchestra represents Ives at his most approachable and direct, and the quotations of hymns and the rustic feeling of the music give this symphony a nostalgic appeal that has endeared it to audiences. Between these symphonies are two of Ives' most enigmatic but popular pieces, The Unanswered Question and Central Park in the Dark, and Morlot and his orchestra give their performances an atmospheric feeling appropriate to their soft dynamics, wispy textures, and haunting orchestral colors.

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