The Last Reader
was arranged for voice and piano in 1921, and furnished with a text by Oliver Wendell Holmes, but started life as a song without words for chamber ensemble in 1911. Ageing, the power of song, and memory are all eloquently celebrated here in Ives’s most refined mature idiom. The music quotes the hymn-tune ‘Cherith’, adapted from an oratorio by Louis Spohr and usually sung to the words ‘Remember, Lord, what Thou hast laid on us’.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008