Charles Ives: "My Father`s Song": A Psychoanalytic Biography

Charles Ives: "My Father`s Song": A Psychoanalytic Biography

Charles Ives: "My Father`s Song": A Psychoanalytic Biography

"A sound of a distant horn

O'er shadowed lake is borne

—my father's song."—Charles Ives

 

Charles Ives, perhaps the quintessential American composer of the twentieth century, drew on his childhood experiences in a small New England town in his music. Through his close relationship with his father, George, a Civil War bandmaster, Ives developed a powerful feeling for nineteenth-century rural America. This book—the first full-scale psychoanalytic biography of a major composer—examines the lives of the two men and shows how a knowledge of their relationship as father and son, teacher and pupil, is central to an understanding of Ives’s work.

 

Stuart Feder, a psychoanalyst with training in musicology, demonstrates that George exerted so pervasive an influence on Charles’s creative life that Ives’s music may be seen as the result of an unconscious fantasy of posthumous collaboration between father and son. The music bears George’s mark, not only in its incorporation of hymn tunes, parlor ballads, Civil War marches, and other homely sources that derived from his...

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