Hyperion Records

In the Alley
First line:
On my way to work one summer day
composer
1896
author of text

Recordings
'Ives: Romanzo di Central Park & other songs' (CDA67644)
Ives: Romanzo di Central Park & other songs
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Details
Track 10 on CDA67644 [1'58] Please, someone, buy me …

In the Alley
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One of a group that Ives described as ‘Street Songs’, In the Alley, to a text of his own, is a song rife with autobiographical associations and jokes. Ives composed it in 1896, ‘after a session at Poli’s’—a reference to Poli’s Theatre in New Haven, where Ives used to go to hear the seven-piece orchestra and their pianist George Felsberg accompanying vaudeville shows and blackface minstrels. Felsberg was legendary for being able to improvise and accompany while reading a newspaper—one bar in In the Alley designates the right hand to turn the newspaper while the left hand takes the right hand part. In 114 Songs it is proclaimed as ‘Not Sung by Caruso, Jenny Lind, John McCormack, Harry Lauder, George Chappell or the Village Nightingale’, and Ives added a note: ‘This song (and the same may be said of others) is inserted for association’s sake—on the grounds that that will excuse anything; also, to help clear up a long disputed point, namely:—which is worse? the music or the words?’

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008

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