Cover for Magee: Charles Ives Reconsidered. Click for larger image

Charles Ives Reconsidered

Awards and Recognition:

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2009

An engaging reassessment of the seminal American composer

Charles Ives Reconsidered reexamines a number of critical assumptions about the life and works of this significant American composer, drawing on many new sources to explore Ives's creative activities within broader historical, social, cultural, and musical perspectives. Gayle Sherwood Magee offers the first large-scale rethinking of Ives's musical development based on the controversial revised chronology of his music. Using as a guide Ives's own dictum that "the fabric of existence weaves itself whole," Magee portrays Ives's life, career, and posthumous legacy against the backdrop of his musical and social environments from the Gilded Age to the present. The book includes contemporary portraits of the composer, his peers, and his teachers, as seen through archival materials, published reviews, and both historical and modern critical assessments.

"This is in every way an exemplary interpretive study of Ives's aesthetic and compositional career as considered against the background of his biography. . . . A first-rate exposition of current knowledge and thinking about Ives, and Magee's own views are a welcome contribution. Essential."--Choice

“Magee’s book is a model of contemporary musicology, sympathetically sober in its judgments and interdisciplinary in its methods.”--The Nation

"Magee's provocative and insightful new biography of Charles Ives examines the man, his legend, his music, and its reception. An important work."--Journal of the Society for American Music

"Anyone looking for new windows into the life of this unique composer will find here a rich source, clearly written and abundantly illustrated with photos and copies of musical transcripts."--American Record Guide

“’Reconsidered’ is exactly the word here. Magee takes on the idolators and the revisionists with equal vigour, and in doing so, restores Charles Ives to a more nuanced and realistic place in the American canon: a man of his times, to be sure, but also an artist who continued to evolve and create. . . . Magee hasn’t just written a very good book about Ives, but a very good book about what Harold Bloom calls 'the anxiety of influence.'”--The Wire

"This informed study deftly separates facts about Ives, the composer and man, from mere conjecture."--The Star-Ledger

"At once assiduously researched and passionately engaged, Gayle Sherwood Magee's book clears away many of the hoary myths that have long surrounded Charles Ives. What emerges is a picture not of an isolated visionary but of an artist keenly and cannily aware of the currents of his time, both musical and political. The man himself roars off the page--proud, prickly, contradictory, more than a little troubled, but moving implacably toward a towering musical goal."--Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker and author of The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

"Accessible, insightful, and filled with new information and original perspectives, Charles Ives Reconsidered will be appreciated by seasoned Ivesians and young initiates alike. Magee demonstrates that there is still more to learn about this enigmatic and thoroughly human creative spirit."--Denise Von Glahn, author of The Sounds of Place: Music and the American Cultural Landscape

"In clean, confident prose, Magee has given us a persuasive new account of Ives's life and work, nicely reassessing the dates of his manuscripts and, more important, the far-flung influences that guided his style."--Michael Hicks, author of Henry Cowell, Bohemian

Gayle Sherwood Magee is an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the author of Charles Ives: A Guide to Research.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Bluegrass Generation - Cover
Bluegrass Generation

A Memoir

Neil V. Rosenberg

Music and the Moving Image - Cover
Music and the Moving Image

Edited by Gillian B. Anderson & Ronald H. Sadoff

Beyond Bach - Cover
Beyond Bach

Music and Everyday Life in the Eighteenth Century

Andrew Talle

Los Romeros - Cover
Los Romeros

Royal Family of the Spanish Guitar

Walter Aaron Clark

Black Opera - Cover
Black Opera

History, Power, Engagement

Naomi André

Sounds of the New Deal - Cover
Sounds of the New Deal

The Federal Music Project in the West

Peter Gough

American Music - Cover
American Music

Edited by Gayle Sherwood Magee

Black Music Research Journal - Cover
Black Music Research Journal

Edited by Gayle Murchison

Dixie Dewdrop - Cover
Dixie Dewdrop

The Uncle Dave Macon Story

Michael D. Doubler

The Man That Got Away - Cover
The Man That Got Away

The Life and Songs of Harold Arlen

Walter Rimler

Just One of the Boys - Cover
Just One of the Boys

Female-to-Male Cross-Dressing on the American Variety Stage

Gillian M. Rodger

Banjo Roots and Branches - Cover
Banjo Roots and Branches

Edited by Robert B. Winans

The Social Worlds of Nineteenth-Century Chamber Music - Cover
The Social Worlds of Nineteenth-Century Chamber Music

Composers, Consumers, Communities

Marie Sumner Lott