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When Jerome Robbins choreographed Ives, Songs in 1988, he was in a period of retrospection, and he considered the ballet a “farewell piece” of sorts. The music of Charles Ives has a complicated emotional depth that appealed to Robbins, who fell in love with the composer’s remarkably diverse songs, which create a range of moods, from joy to nostalgia to dreaminess to despair. The ballet includes a solitary male character, who could be a stand-in for the composer observing the world he has created, or an outsider watching the goings-on in a small American town, or a man looking back over the important scenes of his life.
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