A woman from Connecticut once called me up, a woman interested enough in Ives to be working at trying to save his old house, to have it moved to a park and thereby kept open, to contain the collections of papers and other reluctant objects, open to the interested public. We talked about performance--particularly of the songs, she saying that they must never be done as "art" songs but as "folk" music. I heartily agreed. I heartily agree. Neither either are art-songs to be "arty"--but it seems that our definition of culture is too limited. We understand "art" music as narrowly as what is pleased to be called "folk"--misunderstanding them both.
It's another point in Ives' transcendence that this false and snobby antithesis is wiped out. What she meant (and how right) was that we simply make the music how great it is and none of us put on any airs about it.
--Philip Corner, "Thoreau, Ives, and the 'Folk'" in Soundings: Ives, Ruggles, Varèse
edited and published by Peter Garland, Spring 1974.