Malcolm Arnold - Sea Shanties (Movement 1)

There are a lot of jobs to do on a ship, and most of them are boring. Men on board ship-and this was a male preserve at the time we're thinking of, a hundred to two hundred years ago-therefore got in the habit of singing, and the songs they sang are generally known as 'shanties', a word related to 'chant'. Malcolm Arnold liked using old tunes, and you may know the one that skips around this piece: 'What shall we do with the drunken sailor?' It isn't a very serious song, and this isn't a very serious piece. Music doesn't have to be. It can be funny-though it may be hard to say just what the joke is.

Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006)

Malcolm Arnold started out on a career as an orchestral trumpet player before he turned to composition, in his late twenties. He got to know the orchestra from inside, and he wrote for it brilliantly, in works that include nine symphonies. Symphonies, though, don't earn you very much money, and to make a living he also composed film scores. His music for The Bridge on the River Kwai won him an Oscar.