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Charles Ives: "Overture and March '1776'"

April 1, 2016

Overture and March “1776”

Charles E. Ives

Born: October 20, 1874, Danbury, Connecticut

Died: May 19, 1954, New York, New York

Original Instrumentation: Theater Orchestra

Duration: 3 minutes

Composed: 1903-1914

Arranged: James B. Sinclair, 1975


Program note from the printed score:


Overture and March “1776” was originally conceived for a play by Ives' uncle, Lyman Brewster. The plan of making an opera from Major John Andre never materialized, so Ives’s overture was never performed. The sketches are complete and show two dates, Christmas 1903 and July 4, 1904. Like its companion piece, Country Band March, “1776" was eventually used in the Putnam’s Camp movement of Three Places in New England, and is full of musical jokes. The “Trio” middle section is particularly riotous as the “2 Cornets-Bb A shanks get mixed up” and the wind players drop an eighth-note every four bars. At the return of the opening material, Ives gives an early example of his use of stratified poly-tonality and poly-tempo. The noisy closing features the incept of the Star-Spangled Banner and a Fourth of July explosion.


Additional Resources:

 - UMWO Ives Posts

 - Ives Biography, from the Charles Ives Society

 - "Charles Ives' America" Album and Resources from "The President's Own" United States Marine Band

 - Three Places in New England Program Note from the San Francisco Symphony


Charles E. Ives, Overture and March “1776," arranged by James B. Sinclair

"The President's Own" United States Marine Band, Col. Timothy W. Foley, conductor


Charles E. Ives, Three Places in New England (Orchestral Set No. 1)

BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Nicholas Collon, conductor



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