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Start of filming for “The Unanswered Ives”

Author: Accentus Music GmbH

In co-production with WDR/Arte a new Accentus Music documentary portrays Charles Ives, America’s most famous “weekend composer”.

  • Charles Ives | Copyright: © Accentus Music

    Charles Ives © Accentus Music

  • Charles Ives | Copyright: © Accentus Music

    Charles Ives © Accentus Music

As a teenager, he composes dance melodies as well as church hymns, becoming the youngest organist of all Connecticut at age 14. As a natural talent in sports, he is appointed captain of the football team at the elite Yale University before the former music student becomes the most successful life insurer in the United States.

Charles Ives (1874-1954) is perhaps the most famous “weekend composer” of musical history – and is regarded today as the first composer of the modern age in America whose works are long ignored by the music world.

Born only one month after Arnold Schoenberg, Ives is the first in America to write twelve-tone music. He composes atonal and polyphonic works, uses quartertones and invents tone clusters.

Ives links popular music with classical, crosses ragtime and folk music with experimental or traditional European sounds. His Fourth Symphony is a wild sonic pandemonium, while in The Unanswered Question he blows up the concert hall and bans parts of the strings behind the stage. His unfinished Universe Symphony was to be played completely outdoors, with the musicians standing in valleys and on mountains.

The Unanswered Ives is the first film about Charles Ives and a profound exploration of this extraordinary, multi-faceted personality. The 60-minute documentary will shed light on Ives' life and work in all its facets and inconsistencies.

Composer Charles Ives
Production Company Accentus Music
Co-Production Company WDR/Arte
Director Anne-Kathrin Peitz
Executive Producer Paul Smaczny

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