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Program Notes

Variations on "America"

(1891)

Charles Ives, composer

Variations on "America" is a witty, irreverent piece for organ composed in 1891. According to Ives’ biographers, Henry and Sidney Cowell, it was played by Ives in organ recitals in Danbury and in Brewster, New York, in the same year. His father would not let him play some of the pages at the Brewster concert because they had canons in two and three keys at once that proved unsuited to performance in church: they made the boys "laugh out and get noisy." This is the earliest surviving piece using polytonality. William Schumann wrote a remarkably effective orchestra transcription of this work in 1964 and it is this version upon which William Rhoads based his equally effective band transcription.

—Franko Columbo Publications

INDEX


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