This page lists all recordings of Symphony No. 2, by Charles Ives (1874-1954) on CD, SACD, DVD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.
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Bernstein conducts Gershwin & Ives
Introduction: Bernstein on Ives' Symphony No. 2
Recording Place & Date:
Royal Albert Hall, London, June 1976 (American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue, Unanswered Question)
Congress Hall of the Deutsche Museum, Munich, June 1987 (Symphony no. 2)
“An indispensable DVD. To watch Bernstein conduct these supreme masterpieces of American music is a joy and a privilege in itself...there is an authentically spontaneous command of idiom here; Bernstein is both a superb soloist and conductor in the Rhapsody and the New Yorkers respond in a proprietorial way.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition
In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.
Ives - Symphonies Volume 1
“Litton hits his stride in the Third - an evocatively Romantic, overwhelmingly lyrical, and dangerously expansive interpretation. The result is ravishing… Hyperion's engineers have got it absolutely right.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2006 ****
“Ives's symphonies were premiered almost 50 years after they were written – practically nothing was performed when he wrote it – but against all the odds they have achieved classic status. The composer was dismissive about the First Symphony, a student work, but this is now its eighth available recording. Litton has strong climaxes in the first movement, although there's a tendency for the woodwind to get swamped by the strings and brass, and sustains an almost Mahlerian passion in the Adagio. There's a magical pianissimo at the start of Central Park inthe Dark with no evidence of the audience at all – apparently they were warned that the performance was being recorded! Each recording of the Fourth is defined by the inevitably different balance of the dense textures in the second and fourth movements. For example Litton, supported by one associate conductor, rightly has the orchestral piano prominent in the shattering second movement and in the mystical finale the voices enter with unique effect. It's good to hear a little more than usual of the offstage players both here and in the first movement.
The spacious Second Symphony takes its pervasive popular melodies and makes them symphonic – again a completely convincing performance.
The only shock is the dissonant raspberry blown as the final chord – that's what folk fiddlers did to show the evening was over.
The Third Symphony is saturated in hymn tunes and anyone familiar with earlier recordings will notice the few extra bits in the latest edition of the score. The bonus is a gutsy delivery of Becker's orchestral arrangement of the song General William Booth Enters into Heaven.
Overall these two CDs are a winning representation of the Ives symphonies with the fine Dallas Symphony consistently impressive throughout.
One might want to look back at certain historic versions of individual symphonies, but as a package this is well recorded, fastidiously presented and deservedly pre-eminent.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“…these two CDs are a winning representation of the four Ives symphonies with the fine Dallas Symphony consistently impressive throughout.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2006
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Barber, Ives & Cowell: Orchestral Works
Linda Hohenfeld (soprano)
Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Somary
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(Sorry, download not available in your country)
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American Classics - Ives Symphony No. 2
- Peter Dickinson, Gramophone, January 2002
“Ives's Second Symphony isn't as well served on CD as might be expected. Bernstein gave the premiere in 1951 some 40 years after the work's composition. What's new about this Nashville release is that it uses Jonathan Elkus's edition made for the Charles Ives Society for both works.
The main difference for the listener is that the exposition of the second movement of the Symphony is repeated. That this helps the overall balance in this extended, somewhat repetitive movement is debatable. When it comes to Bernstein, he quite unnecessarily cut 16 measures from the last movement. His tempos may be considered slow in the third and fourth movements, but in both his recordings the work luxuriates in a way that nobody else achieves.
The Robert Browning Overture is one of Ives' most visionary pieces, with declamatory trumpet parts that make Scriabin's Poème de l'extase seem reticent. The mystical calm of the opening is memorably caught in the Nashville performance; the energetic passages are vivid, although some textures inevitably get submerged. It's a great relief to have the obvious errors in the score corrected. This puts earlier recordings such as Stokowski's beyond the pale and it's well worth buying this CD for the Browning Overture alone, although both works in these carefully considered editions make a bargain pair.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
(also available to download from $6.00)
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)