18 Dec 2020

MALCOLM ARNOLD: Three Sea Shanties

by Jennifer Rhodes

Malcolm Arnold’s Three Sea Shanties was composed in 1943 for woodwind quintet. It is one of the better-known quintet works, due to Arnold’s imaginative writing and quirky renditions. It is based on three well-known tunes.

Movement I – What Should We Do With A Drunken Sailor?
This movement depicts the sailor’s drunkenness through quickly varying tempos and wobbly-sounding atonality.

Movement II – Boney was a Warrior
This movement is slower and more introspective. A lovely melody is handed off between all 5 instruments – most notably the french horn which starts and ends the movement.

Movement III – Johnny Come Down to Hilo
This movement is creative, uniquely-composed, and exciting. You won’t hear a better written woodwind quintet piece. Each instrument gets to shine, with a rhythmic melody passed throughout the ensemble. This one is always a crowd-pleaser and we really hope you enjoy it!

Malcolm Arnold

Malcolm Arnold