The music of Charles Ives—one of the most important composers in the history of the United States—fuses his native country’s popular and urban music with Western classical art’s formal architecture. The result is music that combines mastery and extroverted simplicity in a way that recalls Ives’s father’s wise advice when they once heard a farmer singing out of tune: “Don’t pay much attention to the sounds. If you do, you may miss the music”. Ives’s first mature work, the String Quartet No. 1, took shape over the course of several years and multiple revisions, and foreshadows the bold and expressive style that would become the composer’s signature.
In describing his Twelve Angry Men, Australian composer Brett Dean explains “Henry Fonda [who stars in the eponymous film] is extraordinary. [The story] all takes place in one room and the twelve men are the twelve members of the jury. And they are deciding the fate of a young Puerto Rican kid who’s been accused of murdering his father.” Originally composed for the twelve cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker, each of whom represents a character from the classic American film, the work explores the story’s human dynamics and succeeds in translating the many exciting plot twists into music with impressive clarity.