The Unanswered Question
by Charles E. Ives
We recently played this work at an orchestra concert in our hometown. I thought it would be fun to see if Finale could realize the music. Though the program crashed several times in playback (because of my attempts to create different tempi within a given tempo) I was able to render this recording of the Unanswered Question. For those that don't know the work, it was written by Charles Ives in 1908 and is a clear example of his unique ability to look for new and unusual ways to create music. The string choir represent "The Silences of the Druids - Who Know, See and Hear Nothing." The trumpet asks "The Perenial Question of Existence", and the hunt for the "Invisible Answer" is taken on by the woodwind choir representing man's search for the answer. The woodwinds try to answer but get hopelessly lost and in the end, mock the question. The question is stated one final time (the seventh time as a matter-of-fact) and the strings are unperturbed by it all.
It's amazing that it actually reminds me of most orchestras that I have played in. The brass state the obvious, the winds argue about the obvious and the strings don't even know we are around. Ives was a genius!
Here is: The Unanswered Question