The New River
(1921) paints a dissonant waterscape polluted by the din of modern man. Ives wrote this first in 1906 as a wordless ‘ensemble song’ with the title The Ruined River
, then – after a visit in 1911 to one of his favourite rivers, which prompted the angry scrawl ‘Gas machine kills Housatonic!’ – into a piece for chorus and chamber orchestra, and finally into a song.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2005