Of course, and mercifully, music does have its leading and outstanding interpreters and analysts, and Alex Ross is a distinguished name in this pack. In an essay for the New Yorker from June 2004 he said of Charles Ives’s first orchestral set Three Places in New England that “no American wrote music more momentous than this.” I’m not qualified to comment on that, but instinctively I’d like to agree.
If I was allowing myself the fantasy of a ‘Theme From Doctor Forrest’…? It’s probably this: the third movement from Three Places… entitled ‘The Housatonic at Stockbridge.’ Ives was moved to write the piece after a walk he took with his wife by the banks of the Housatonic River. First drafts were written in the summer of 1908, final scoring completed in 1914. Alex Ross describes it as ‘a mystery in sound.’ I’ll concur, and say no more.