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‘An important piece of American history has been lost’

In a landmark essay in Die Tonkunst, Professor Robert Whitehouse Eshbach of the University of New Hampshire describes the struggle to save the house that Charles Ives built, a struggle that provoked international attention but no intervention whatsoever from cultural bodies in the US.

It’s a sad story with a wretched ending, and it illustrates just how integral  a visit to the house can be to an understanding of Ives’s music.

Read Bob’s essay here (in English), and send it to your senator.

charlesives3     charlesives1

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Comments

  1. Central Park in the Dark says:
  2. The Unanswered Question says:

    Had I known of this petition in time, I certainly would have signed it. Does anyone have an update as to the fate of this property?

  3. We really don’t have much of a sense of history over here, except for Baseball

  4. James Sinclair says:

    I’m awaiting the opportunity to meet the new owners. They are currently having the heating system replaced and doing some other upgrading, apparently all respectful of the property’s history. The year is brings the 100th anniversary of the Iveses moving into their West Redding home. I will report after I finally have a sit down meeting with the new owners.

  5. John Parfrey says:
  6. Thought bubble: “Charles Ives, Charles Ives, Charles Ives. That’s all I hear. ‘Aren’t you proud to be his grandson?’ Hah. What does that mean to me? Nobody cares who I am. He wrote music I can’t stand and all I got was this house. And constantly being pestered. You bet I’m selling it for the best price I can get. You think it’s important? Then pay up. Charles Ives, Charles Ives. Bah. I can’t wait to move out of this dump.”

  7. Well, the house is still there. Maybe some consortium can try again to buy it at a future date. In the meantime, the new owners are upgrading it. Perhaps they will grow tired of even the small amount of attention this has caused and want to unload it in the near future.

  8. This is too bad. Money talks and they couldn’t move fast enough. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Wall Street type picked it up. One could always try to have the building landmarked, though that is an iffy proposition and could spur a fight. Alternatively, it might be better to keep at it and try to develop a relationship with the new owner, so that if he were to sell at a later date, there would be a chance to acquire it then. However, one must remember that running museums and maintaining grounds are expensive propositions even if one can design festivals or concert series’ around them. That is they can become expensive toys. What will remain is Ives’ music which is more important.

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