While I have to devote much time right now to getting my Rossini chops back into shape for my sojourn next month in Atlanta, I also have a set of Ives songs that I have to prepare for a small, private Salon concert next month with a very special and interesting organization that presents innovative and fascinating themed chamber music programs in New York. A year ago, the challenge I faced was fastiduously attempting to get my Rossini chops in some sort of order. Now, in many ways, the Rossini feels almost easy and like greeting an old friend, and these mysterious, eccentric, and intricate songs by Ives are proving to be the challenge this I face fall. In all honesty, I haven't even thought about Ives since my freshman music history class at U of M – odd, considering that I am an American musician. What is amazing about them is that they seem so accessible and familiar on one level and so challenging and strangely alien on others. Deciphering his musical landscape is proving to be a slightly slower process than I am used to or expected. Unexpectedly, I find myself being pushed into new musical territory that I, much to my surprise, never really explored.