program notes by composition > A > After Fairest of the Fair

After Fairest of the Fair

Ira Hearshen

After Fairest of the Fair is Movement III of Hearshen’s Symphony on Themes of John Philip Sousa . It is presented in a light, scherzo-like form, with quick interplay between many voices, key changes, and rhythms.

Stirred and fascinated by the music of John Philip Sousa since childhood, the composer began the first movement of his symphony with the trio of a familiar Sousa march, slowing the tempo by half and casting it in the style of the Finale of Mahler’s Third Symphony. Subsequent movements related to different marches. For unifying melodic material to bring them all together he used a four-note fragment (in C Major: C-B-C-A) common to the “Dies Irae” portion of the Catholic Requiem Mass, “Hands Across the Sea,” “Washington Post” and “Fairest of the Fair, as well as the first notes of “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Ira Hearshen (b.1948 ) played proms with his high school dance band. He received his Bachelor of Music degree at Wayne State University. He played trumpet gigs in Detroit and arranged for bands doing Motown. In Los Angeles he became established as a film music arranger/orchestrator. He has been nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Last updated on May 7, 2023 by Palatine Concert Band