Romanzo (di Central Park)
was composed in 1900. The title is Ives’s own: the text is a concoction which Leigh Hunt called ‘A Love Song’—he used it in his essay ‘Rhyme and Reason’ as an illustration of a poem ‘of which we require no more than the rhymes, to be acquainted with the whole …’. In an after-note Ives mentions that ‘the above collection of notes and heartbeats’ shows ‘the influence, on the youthful mind’ of an unnamed composer, much admired at the time he was writing the song. The Ives scholar John Kirkpatrick found a jotting which identifies this figure as the once-popular Victor Herbert. Romanzo (di Central Park)
is also one of a number of settings in 114 Songs
which, Ives noted: ‘have little or no musical value—(a statement which does not mean to imply that the others have any too much of it). These are inserted principally because … they are good illustrations of types of songs, the fewer of which are composed, published, sold or sung, the better it is for the progress of music generally. It is asked—(probably a superfluous request)—that they be not sung, at least in public, or given to students as examples of what not to sing.’ Despite this eloquent disclaimer, the Romanzo
is a real charmer.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008