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The Extraordinary Music of Mr. Ives: The True Story of a Famous American Composerby Joanne Stanbridge
Synopses & Reviews
"His music was as busy as a city street. There were train whistles in it, and football games and rowdy picnics and cars hurrying past. And all this music lived like a friend inside him, and he carried it with him wherever he went." After the attack and sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, the news "hung over the city of New York like smoke, and it tasted of war. When the news reached Mr. Ives…his heart stretched out across the ocean - out into a dreadful silence." American composer Charles Ives shaped the experience of this shocking news reaching NYC into a musical piece, which begins with a jumble of city noises, against which the thin strains of the hurdy-gurdy swell into the beautiful old hymn "In the Sweet By-and By." In spare text and tender art, this picture book reveals a composers conviction that everyday music can become associated with profound emotion - and can help heal a city. Young readers will understand that if they listen, music can be heard in the unlikeliest of places, from the happy chatter of a picnic to the commanding blare of a fire engine.
"This startling biography of Charles Ives centers on a historical tragedy and its impact on the composer, whose work was unappreciated during his lifetime. 'People don't listen to his music,' writes Stanbridge (My Four Lions). 'They want familiar tunes and beautiful harmonies — not songs that are as bold as a city or as noisy as a traffic jam.' In 1915, when Ives hears news of the Lusitania sinking, the music that 'lives inside him like a friend' goes silent. Five successive, wordless spreads depict the foundering vessel and panicked passengers evacuating. Stanbridge's doll-like figures contrast uncomfortably with the silent scenes of disaster, as terrified individuals in a small boat look back at those clinging for life. Ives begins to hear music again when mournful New Yorkers join in song together: 'In the sweet bye and bye,/ we shall meet on that beautiful shore.' Stanbridge's work is its own curious, yet quietly inspired composition, a meditative ode to an artist whose work lives on 'in everyday sounds — in the rumble of a motorcycle, the wail of a fire engine, or the busy chatter of a market.' Ages 4 — 8. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A tender account of how Charles Ives came to compose the music that expressed the grief and shock of the whole city of New York after the sinking of the Lusitania.
The honk of a car horn. The roar of a crowd. The hum of city streets. To some these sounds were noise, but to Charles Ives, they were a symphony. A businessman by day and a composer by night, the melody of everyday life was music to his ears.
When tragedy strikes, the world falls silent. Even Charles loses his music. Will he be able to find the sounds of hope in so much sadness and shape them into music that heals a city?
With spare text and tender illustrations, Joanne Stanbridge brings to life a shocking event in world history and reveals the beauty and power of artistic conviction.
When the Lusitania was attacked in 1915, the American composer and New Yorker Charles Ives transformed the experience of this heartbreaking news into a musical piece. It begins with a jumble of traffic noises, then the hurdy-gurdy swells into the lovely old hymn “In the Sweet Bye-and-Bye.” In lyrical text and watercolors—sometimes in dramatic wordless spreads—this thoughtful picture book reveals not only a wartime tragedy, but a composers conviction that everyday music can convey profound emotion—and help heal a city. Young readers will understand that if they listen, music can be heard in the unlikeliest of places, from the busy chatter of a market to the wail of a fire engine.
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