3-4 Weeks
Universe Symphony

CRC 2205CD CRC 2205CD

1994 release. "Performed by the Cincinnati Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducted by G. Samuel, this includes several of Ives' compositions that have been re-constructed from his complex sketches and notes. The brilliant pianist John Kirkpatrick (largely responsible for Ives' initial fame through his performance of the Concord Sonata in the 1930s) worked on several of the pianoworks, and composers Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison collated and completed the score of the Symphony No. 4 in the 1950s, while composer Larry Austin spent over 20 years to realize and complete the myriad materials for the Universe Symphony. Ives actually left a note inviting other composers to add to the work following his initial ideas. Approximately the first 15 minutes of this almost 40-minute work is given to the idea of the slowly growing and evolving 'life pulse,' music in which 20 percussionists play to an elaborate electronic 'click track' fed to them via headphones in order to coordinate the simultaneous 12 different prime number meters -- a massive rhythmic sound (paced at long intervals by the sound of a solo chime) and the first of three musical macro-layers. The other two layers are the Heavens for four orchestras, each in different meters and tempos, and the Earth with its 'Rock formation' and 'Earth chord' orchestras. These orchestral layers appear in different combinations within the three sections or movements. The second and third movements are the most similar to the 'Ives sound' of orchestrally dense works like the Fourth Symphony or the Robert Browning Overture, and sweepingly dramatic with an almost indescribable emotional flow. In the climax of the work all of the material sounds rush headlong to the heavens into silence broken only by the sound of one solitary chime."