Charles Ives (1874-1954) has long been a favourite of mine. His music isn't for everyone, it can be quite challenging on the ears, but I love it in all its zany glory because it has so much life in it.
He was an incredible man that lived a double life of composer and businessman. In business hours he was the director of a very successful insurance agency; the rest of his time was spent devoted to music.
Amazingly, he kept the two sides of his life completely separate, so that almost no one at the agency was aware of his musical talent, and his musical associates were oblivious to the changes he was bringing to the insurance business.
So here's to Mr. Ives - Happy 135th!
"A song has a few rights, the same as other ordinary citizen. If it feels like walking along the left-hand side of the street, passing the door of physiology or sitting on the curb, why not let it? If it feels like kicking over an ash can, a poet's castle, or the prosodic law, will you stop it? ...Should it not have a chance to sing itself, if it can sing? - to enjoy itself without making a bow, if it can't make a bow? - to swim around in any ocean, if it can swim, without having to swallow 'hook and bait,' or being sunk by an operatic greyhound? If it happens to feel like trying to fly where humans cannot fly, to sing what cannot be sung, to walk in a cave on all fours, or to tighten up its girth in blind hope and faith and try to scale mountains that are not, who shall stop it?
- In short, must a song always be a song!"
- Charles Ives
from the postface to 114 Songs