String Quartet No. 2 “In Pythagorean Tuning” (1907-13)

Charles Ives

string quartet


  • 1. Discussions
  • 2. Arguments
  • 3. The Call of the Mountains


Program Notes

A better Second String Quartet was written in 1911 (Ives refers to an unfinished string quartet sketch from 1905 ) and is one of the best things I have, but the old ladies (male and female) don’t like it anywhere at all. It makes them mad, etc. (…) About that time (…) and even before it used to came over me - especially after coming from some of those Kneisel Quartet concerts - that music had been, and still was, too much of an emasculated art. Too much of what was easy and usual to play and to hear was called beautiful. (…) I started a string quartet score, half mad, half in fun, and half to try out, practice, and have some fun with making those men fiddlers get up and do something like men. (…) Only a part of a movement was copied out in parts and tried over - it made all the men rather mad/ I didn’t blame them - it was very hard to play - but now it wouldn’t cause so much trouble.

Charles Ives: Memo #27 (edited by John Kirkpatrick, New York 1972)