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(1987). Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 56:607.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:607

Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society


Dr. Feder endeavored to explore certain early memories of the composer, Charles Edward Ives. At the heart of these memories were his earliest experiences with his father, George Edward Ives, who was a village musician, Charles's most important teacher, and, indeed, the most important object in the composer's life. These memories were registered prominently in the auditory mode appropriate to a musician, in addition to the more usual ways. At a later period, they were incorporated into innovative works. Dr. Feder analyzed Ives's The Pond and Calcium Light Night musically and then discussed them from a psychoanalytic point of view. He supported his thesis with biographical material and contemporary newspaper accounts of local events. From this study he drew conclusions about the early development of an exceptional musical talent, the enduring effect of important objects who may nurture such talent, and one of the earliest roots of later creativity. Conflict with and ambivalence toward his father, related to the oedipal constellation, were strong motivating elements in Charles Ives's choices in life, not the least of which was his decision to become the kind of private composer that he did, independent of art for income. However, Dr. Feder focused on the relatively ambivalent, precompetitive, preconflictual phase of life characterized by the preoedipal, idealizing, dyadic bond with father as described by Peter Blos.

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