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Ives Fourth Symphony


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“Consult Conductor” Questions in the Parts

Thomas M. Brodhead

In addition to the broader issues addressed in the Survival Guide, there are a host of subtle orchestration options by Ives that also merit attention by the conductor. These options include the replacement of one instrument by another, the doubling of certain instruments, and, in some cases, the omission of certain lines. Please bear in mind that Ives’s understanding of each instrument’s sonic projection may have been imperfect, and, as discussed in the Survival Guide, his concern that one instrument might overwhelm another is often extreme.

In the parts, each option is marked “Consult Conductor.” Below is a complete listing of these options. The conductor should use this page as a checklist (consulting both the full score and Ives’s Conductor’s Note) and then ask the orchestra librarian to mark the parts appropriately.

Movements I, II, IV

  • Should Cymbals be rim-mounted on the Bass Drum? (This question applies to the Bass Drum and Cymbals in the Main Orchestra and in the BU.)

Movement I

  • Throughout: Should Clarinet in A replace Solo Viola?
  • mm. 5–16: Which should play solo, Violin or Cello?
  • mm. 10–16: Should Violin II Desk 1 replace Flute 1? (It’s not clear here and later if Ives intended the Flute to be optional throughout the movement or if Ives is simply providing Flute cues in the Violin sections should the orchestra not have a Flute.)
  • mm. 17–26, 30–33: Should the Flute or the Violin I section play the quartuplet melody? (Violin I parts have instructions on how to divide the material appropriately if the Flute does not play.)
  • mm. 30–33: Should the Trombone play?
  • mm. 39–40: Should the Celesta play? (See the entry in the Survival Guide on its interplay with the Solo Piano.)

Movement II

  • Throughout: Should Extra Violin II and Extra Viola be performed by onstage players (Desk 6 in each section) or by offstage players (most easily by D.C. members moved to distinct locations)? (See the entry on pp. vii–viii of the Survival Guide for more information.)
  • mm. 19–30: Should Violin I Desk 2 double Violin I Desk 1? Ives indicates “2 or 3 soli”; Desk 1=2 soli, Desk 2=4 soli.
  • mm. 68–71: Should Clarinet 2 double Clarinet 1? (The Clarinet 1 part has full-sized notes with the memo “Tacet if string section is small.”)
  • mm. 107–111: Should Trumpet 4 double Trumpet 3?
  • m. 114: Should the Timpani and Gong play their ossias? (See Ives’s Conductor’s Note on this measure for clarification.)
  • mm. 115–122: Should Orchestra Piano II play the Bassoon line ossia? (See Ives’s Conductor’s Note for clarification.)
  • mm. 123–131: Should Trombones 2–3 double Trumpets?
  • mm. 123–138: Should the Saxophone replace Bassoon 1?
  • mm. 124–138: Should Trombone 4 omit the parenthetical notes?
  • mm. 141–142: Should the Primo Orchestra Piano omit its right hand part?
  • m. 153: Should the Strings play the triplet figures?
  • m. 161–167: Should 2 soli Violins (Desk 1) replace the Flutes here?
  • m. 173: Should the Contrabass section play 8va?
  • mm. 173–179: Should the Saxophone replace Bassoon 1?
  • mm. 194–197: Should Trumpets 1–3 & Trombones 1–3 play the bracketed material? (See entry in Ives’s Conductor’s Note.) If not, Indian Drum should also be tacet.
  • mm. 194–200: Should Celesta replace High Bells?
  • mm. 200–207: Should Clarinet 2 and 3 double Clarinet 1?
  • mm. 200–207: Should Trombones 3–4 double Trombones 1–2?
  • mm. 211–212: Should Trumpet 3 play 8va?
  • mm. 211–216: Should Trombones 3–4 double Trombones 1–2?
  • mm. 225–236: Should the Saxophone replace Bassoon 1?
  • mm. 225–265: Should Trumpet 6 double Trumpet 1 and Cornet to the end? (See Ives’s Conductor’s Note on m. 225 and m. 247. Note that Trumpet 5 plays Cornet exclusively in this movement, and Trumpet 6 only plays in movement IV otherwise.)
  • mm. 232–244: Should Clarinet 3 double Clarinet 1?
  • mm. 237–251: If Xylophone is used, should it double the Violins or the Piccolo here?
  • mm. 252–261: Should Trumpet 4 double Trumpet 3?
  • mm. 252–259: If Xylophone is used, should it double the Cornet or the Piccolo here?

Movement IV

  • mm. 12–14: Should Oboe 1 be omitted? (Unique line.)
  • mm. 34–39: Should Flute 2 or Oboe 1 play the lower notes on this melody?
  • mm. 35–39: Should Violin I Desk 2 double Violin I Desk 1? (Ives writes “2 soli, or 4 if many violins.”)
  • mm. 37–39: Should Bassoon 2 be omitted?