The Fourth Sonata for Violin and Piano, "Children's Day at the Camp Meeting" by Charles Ives: Contextual, structural, and stylistic considerations
Thompson, William Curt
Bailey, Walter B.
Doctor of Musical Arts
Though complex, the Fourth Sonata for Violin and Piano is one of Ives' most accessible works. For this reason, it serves as a particularly useful starting point, not only for one interested in the four violin sonatas of Charles Ives, but also as an initiation to the subtleties of his style in general. The purpose of this paper is to provide contextual information necessary to affect a sympathetic performance of the sonata. Following the presentation of pertinent biographical information, a discussion of three important influences on the development of Ives' music and thought will follow: the development of American gospel hymnody; political currents during the period in which the sonata was written; and attitudes towards the use of vernacular music as compositional material in the late nineteenth century. The subsequent analysis of the Fourth Violin Sonata will demonstrate in each movement Ives' uses of borrowed material in the formal procedure called cumulative setting by J. Peter Burkholder. Finally, suggested stylistic techniques and considerations for performers of the work will be provided.