I'm reading A Union of Diversities: Style in the Music of Charles Ives by Larry Starr as well as Essential Cowell: Selected Writings on Music by Henry Cowell 1921-1964 edited by Dick Higgins. And today, not coincidentally, I was listening to the Christoph Von Dohnanyi recording of the music of Ives, Carl Ruggles, and Ruth Crawford Seeger. While listening to Sun-Treader and Men and Mountains by Ruggles, I was thinking how Ives and Cowell and their music are, relatively speaking, well-known and yet, who knows much about Ruggles?
Then, I find out that the first edition of Cowell's New Music Quarterly, published to promote modern music at the time, contained the score for Ruggles' Men and Mountains. And as we know, Charles Ives helped subsidize the publication from his insurance industry wealth.
To continue the circle, Cowell and his wife Sidney went on to write the book about the music of Charles Ives. And to return to the early days of Henry Cowell, he studied at age seventeen with Charles Seeger, the husband of Ruth Crawford Seeger (mentioned above), at UC Berkeley.
Appropriately, Michael Broyles has a thesis that the American musical mavericks greatly benefited from a community of like-minded composers, despite the stereotype of them being rugged individualists.
To conclude, Thomas Herlin's Ruggles web site has a good quote:
Charles Ives is said to have said to a heckler of Ruggles's music: "When you hear strong masculine music like this, get up and use your ears like a man!"
Disclaimers: I never finished reading Cowell's seminal New Musical Resources. I did finish Broyles' Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music. I just read that Cowell taught George Gershwin and Alan Hovhaness; I knew he taught John Cage, Lou Harrison, and Burt Bacharach. Today's post originated in San Jose .