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1965 Twenty-five Years Ago

April 2024
1min read

NASA launched the first commercial satellite from Cape Kennedy on April 6. The Communications Satellite Corporation, a privately owned company that paid the government to put its eighty-five-pound Early Bird satellite into orbit, predicted the Comsat and others like it would revolutionize telephone, television, and teletype communications between distant parts of the world. “My goodness, now we’ll be able to call everybody!” said Vice-President Hubert Humphrey. “I don’t know if this is a good thing or not. We have enough telephone calls in the office already.”

∗Jack Nicklaus won the Masters golf tournament on April 11 in Augusta, Georgia. His score of 271 was a tournament record.

∗On April 26 at Carnegie Hall, Leopold Stokowski conducted the American Symphony Orchestra in the premiere performance of the Fourth Symphony of Charles Ives, who had died in 1954. The symphony, written between 1910 and 1916, had been reconstructed over the course of eleven years from fragments of rough manuscript that Ives had left to the Yale University Library. Further complicating the process was the complexity of the music itself, which at one point had twentyseven different rhythms going simultaneously and required the assistance of two subordinate conductors. Harold C. Schonberg’s review of the performance in The New York Times described a work of “wild polyrhythms, clumps of tonalities that clash like army against army, Whitmanesque yawps and—suddenly— the quiet of a New England church.”

Ives was an insurance man who wrote mercilessly complex music in his free hours and on weekends. Some of his compositions were simply unplayable. “Is it the composer’s fault that man has only ten fingers?” he once asked. An unabashedly American sensibility shone through all of Ives’s music, no matter how experimental; his most atonal pieces integrated themes from the hymns, folk songs, and patriotic marches he had grown up with.

—Arthur Nielsen

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