Ann explicit ‘war song’ from 1917 – though entirely un-warlike in character – is Tom Sails Away
. Here the hallucinatory textures create a haze of childhood memories, shadowed by the consciousness of war in Europe. The popular song ‘Over there’ is referred to in the music, along with ‘Araby’s daughter’ and Ives’s great favourite, ‘Columbia, the Jewel of the Ocean’. The elegiac close suggests that the kid brother who has enlisted and taken ship for ‘over there’ will not return.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2005