Charles Ives humor at age 17: London Bridge on Liszt organ

Published on Nov 19, 2012

Artis Wodehouse performs Charles Ives’ (1874-1954) Burlesque on London Bridge live on the Melodeon concert 11/11/12 at Church of the Epiphany, NYC. This humorous piece, a
bitonal, rhythmically-displaced and vaudevillian version of the popular song, was reconstructed by Kenneth Singleton from sketches of the 17-year-old Charles Ives. It is now published by Presser as part of a collection of the complete organ works of Charles Ives. Wodehouse plays on her restored 1889 Mason & Hamlin Liszt organ. This foot-pump reed organ was considered a top-of-the-line instrument during its heyday in the latter 19th century. Ives was 17 in 1891.
The piece is remarkable in that by age 17, so many pieces of the Ives puzzle are already apparent. Humor, vernacular styles, referencing iconic, well-known tunes, stream-of-consciousness (the interruption of a strange chord — “Sunrise over Mirey Brook” — a beautiful stream located in new Hampshire – Ives’ must have been along it’s banks at some point) and multiple, simultaneously sounding keys.

Melodeon is a chamber group founded by Artis Wodehouse that centers on American music of the 19th and early 20th century. Wodehouse places special emphasis on performing music from this period on restored antique American instruments from her collection.
This recording and video was captured by Whitney Slaten. Restoration work on Wodehouse’s Liszt organ was done by Randolph Herr, with tuning and adjustments by Louis Huivenaar.

About admin

Pianist and harmoniumist ARTIS WODEHOUSE has devoted her careeer to preserving and disseminating neglected but valuable music and instruments from the past, with an emphasis on American music. Cited by the NYTimes as “savior of the old and neglected”, she received a National Endowment grant that propelled her into production of CDs and published transcriptions of recorded performances and piano rolls made by George Gershwin, Jelly Roll Morton and Zez Confrey. Her best-seller, “Gershwin Plays Gershwin”, on the Nonesuch label has sold over 500,000 copies. Beginning in 2000, Wodehouse began performing on a representative group of antique reed organs and harmoniums, toy pianos and an 1823 English square piano and an 1860 Steinway square piano that she had painstakingly restored and brought to concert condition. She founded the chamber group MELODEON in 2010 to present little known but valuable music from 19th and early 20th Century America, using her antique instrument collection as the basis for repertoire choice. Wodehouse has a BM from the Manhattan School of Music, an MM from Yale, and a DMA from Stanford.
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