Instrumentation

String orchestra: 5.5.3.3.1

Availability

Score and parts in preparation

Programme Notes

A shanty is a song in many verses sung by a group of sailors at work. The melody is sung many times, never the same, with a strong rhythmic pulse but not necessarily literal unanimity. 
A shanty, along with any folk song in the English-language traditions, creates depth through repetition of the melody and variation of the story.
In this Shanty fifteen individual voices, sometimes together and sometimes divergent, create a widening seascape.

In a Shanty, the cyclical verses build a story of the harsh, mechanical routine of the petty captain’s rule, and accumulate a longing for mutiny. As in a Slave Spiritual, there is an implied yearning for liberation, freedom from the false, arbitrary regime of the petty masters, and a dream of a safe harbour beyond.

Shanty is written for the musicians of the orchestras who play it.