Songs my mother taught me
was written in 1895: the text is a translation by Natalie Macfarren of the Czech poem by Adolf Heyduk that had already been set (rather famously) by Dvorák. Around 1903 Ives made a chamber-ensemble version of this song under the title An Old Song Deranged
—in his ‘psychological biography’ of the composer Stuart Feder takes this to imply that Ives’s mother Mollie could have suffered from dementia, but there is no hard evidence: the title may have been a passing word-play.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008