Gertrude Stein once said, "Our children will not understand what we are doing, but our grandchildren will." Whether we understand the work of Charles Ives today or not is anybody's guess. But at least it is not ignored now as it was during most of his lifetime, which began on this day in 1874 in Danbury, CT, and ended on May 19, 1954, in New York City. In 1906, he composed The Unanswered Question, presented here by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. This seven-minute piece will go on feeding you long after you've left the table. But try not to leave before tasting Leonard Bernstein's 1973 response, given at the end of his Harvard Lecture Series, which he aptly named, "The Unanswered Question."
Born this day in 1853, most of his best poems were written before the age of 20. One wonders if they are as well known as his tempestuous affair with the Symbolist poet, Paul Verlaine, who left his wife for the 19-year-old Rimbaud, then shot him and went to prison for it. Here is a clip from the film, Total Eclipse, with Leonardo Dicaprio as Rimbaud.
Born today in 1890, he was a tireless self-promoter and brilliant virtuoso, whose seminal contributions to jazz and the blues - whether as great as he claimed them to be or not - are indisputable. Here is a beautiful reminiscence of what it was like to meet Morton and also "be" him in a TV program by the great Billy Taylor. If you don't have time for the entire seven-minute clip, go to 4:05 for a beautiful soliloquy on the deeply felt sources of Morton's inspiration and how he put it all together in a style that was uniquely his.