On this day in classical music: Charles Ives’ Fourth Symphony was given its premiere in 1965, nearly 50 years after it was composed and 11 years after his death. Leopold Stokowski conducted the premiere. The massive forces required to play it, including an assistant conductor, has severely limited its performances. The U.S. Postal Service issued a first class stamp honoring Ives in 1997.
On this day in the musical theatre: “The Life,” a gritty musical about pimps, hookers and other lowlifes who once populated New York’s Time Square, opened on Broadway in 1997. Cy Coleman’s jazzy score and Ira Gasman’s lyrics kept the show running for just over a year. Listen to the female cast of “The Life” perform “My Body” on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkQ0RvfwIQY
Musical musings: Ives was really radical, a terror to the “ladybirds” and “Rollos” (his code words for unambitious concertgoers) who couldn’t believe their ears. “You gdddarn sissy-eared mollycoddle,” he told a hissing conservative after a performance of Carl Ruggles’ “Men and Mountains.” “When you hear strong masculine music like this, stand up and use your ears like a man!” – A Guide to Orchestral Music by Ethan Mordden.