The Unanswered Ives
The first film about the most famous “weekend composer”: Charles Ives
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.
The phenomenon of the Yankee from is as paradoxical as his career: Ives decides to be a businessman and a “weekend composer”. While he is revolutionizing the insurance sector, his revolutionary compositions, which he creates in the evening and on weekends, 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.
The film explores the musical world according to Ives, with performances in churches, concert halls, out in the open or football stadiums. Extensive, staged music recordings form the matrix of the film. Because the artist and business man was strongly influenced by his native New England, impressions of landscapes, places and events weave through the documentary. Insurance brokers, musicologists, musicians and eyewitnesses give their own answers to the question which has hardly yet been answered today: who was Charles Ives?
|Directed by:||Anne-Kathrin Peitz|
|Sound Recording:||Christoph Wonneberger|
|Edited by:||Dirk Seliger|
|In co-production with:||WDR|
|In association with:||Arte|
|Supported by:||Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung|
|Executive Producer:||Paul Smaczny|