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Charles Ives: Universe, Incomplete

Accentus Music will film Charles Ives‘ unfinished „Universe Symphony“ in a new production of the Ruhrtriennale at the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum.

  • Charles Ives © Accentus Music

  • Jahrhunderthalle Bochum © Frank Rogner

“In case I don’t get to finishing this, somebody might like to try to work out the idea, and the sketch that I’ve already done would make more sense to anybody looking at it with this explanation.” Inspired by these tempting words, stage director Christoph Marthaler, conductor Titus Engel and the stage designer Anna Viebrock develop their own highly individual perspective on an uncompleted project by the American composer Charles Ives (1875–1954): the „Universe Symphony“, which is one of the great utopian works of the 20th century.

It is utopian because Charles Ives conceived it as a sonic event that would explode all classical forms of performance. It is also utopian because he never completed it – instead continually composing it anew. It is an unfinished jumble consisting of notes, sheets of sketches, and pages of score.

Using only sections of the work that were actually composed, Christoph Marthaler, Titus Engel and Anna Viebrock create a scenic and musical environment in the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum in which the instrumental soloists, together with the Bochumer Symphoniker and an ensemble made up of actors, dancers and singers, will look back from a distant future on our life today and fantasize a future out of the present. Other compositions by Charles Ives independent of the Universe Symphony will occupy the lacunae within the incomplete universe.

This project was still initiated by the late Lothar Mattner. We miss him very much - as a colleague, as a friend, and as one of the strongest fighters for high quality music programs on TV ever.

Production Company Accentus Music GmbH
Co-Production Company WDR/Arte
Assoc. Prod. Company Ruhrtriennale
Composer Charles Ives

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