Rare Charles Ives recordings now available

Ives Yale Graduation photograph, 1898. MSS 14, The Charles Ives Papers in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University.
September 6, 2018

The Irving S. Gilmore Music Library is pleased to announce the completion of an 18-month project, generously funded by a grant from the Grammy Museum, focused on preserving approximately 335 hours of unique non-commercial audio, predominantly from 1937-1956, featuring music by Charles Ives (1874-1954). The 436 recordings, that now make up the Charles Ives Rare and Non-Commercial Sound Recordings Collection (MSS 14 HSR), many on highly fragile legacy recording formats, were digitized during the project and are now available for research. A finding aid for the collection is now available, which includes links to streaming access for each recording. 

In addition to preserving these important recordings, Yale University Library was also able to successfully secure the necessary rights to make one of the most important sets of recordings in the collection available to stream globally. These publicly available recordings include one of Ive's most noted works, his Piano Sonata No.2, "Concord, Mass, 1840-1860,” performed by the renowned Ives interpreter, John Kirkpatrick. The recordings capture six different performances of the work by Kirkpatrick at different stages of his career, from the World Premiere at New York Town Hall on January 20th, 1939, to the first radio broadcasts on WABC in New York on March 24th and 31st 1939, through to a performance at Yale University in 1969. The 1939 performances are particularly notable as they are the earliest known complete recordings of the work, predating the first commercial recording, also performed by Kirkpatrick, by nine years. None of these recordings have been available until now. As the various parts of these performances are spread across multiple items in the collection, the following playlists are available for each performance:

1939-01-20: World Premiere, New York Town Hall. Includes encore of last movement.

1939-03-24: CBS Music Hour, Keyboard Concerts, WABC. First radio broadcast. Emerson and Alcotts only.

1939-03-31: CBS Music Hour, Keyboard Concerts, WABC. First radio broadcast. Hawthorne and Thoreau only.

1939-09-28: Composers Forum, WNYC. First complete radio broadcast.

1959-10-19: Emerson only.

1969-02-07: Sprague Memorial Hall, Yale University.

All other materials in the collection are available when connected to the Yale network (all networks except Yale Guest).  

This project increases access to the Gilmore Music Library's renowned special collections related to Ives, which includes the Charles Ives Papers, consisting of original music manuscripts, literary writings, correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks and photographs. 

Photo: Ive's Yale graduation photograph, 1898. MSS 14, The Charles Ives Papers in the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University. Photographer unknown.