When the USA entered the Great War in 1917, Ives wrote a number of ‘war songs’. The barnstorming They are There!
(subtitled Fighting for the People’s New Free World
) is composed to a text of his own. (Strictly speaking, in 1917 the song was He is There!
: They are There!
is the revision Ives made of it in 1942 for use in World War 2.) This is a quick march in 4/4 time, and over a dozen patriotic songs are quoted in the piano part and voice, including The Battle Cry of Freedom
, The Star-Spangled Banner
. For all his pacificism, Ives was pugnacious in his defence of democracy, which shines through in his own privately recorded performance of this song, singing to his own accompaniment.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008