Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

A Sea Shanty Shake-Up for Violin & Cello Soloists and Symphony Orchestra


A Sea Shanty Shake-Up is a work based on British sea shanties for violin and cello soloists with symphony orchestra. It is in three sections, each one being based on a separate shanty. The first is ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’, full of rhythmic energy and spicy harmonies. A contrasting middle section is based on ‘Lowlands’, a sad and nostalgic song, presented here in a tender and sustained duet for the violin and cello soloists. Finally, there is a short series of variations on ‘The Sailor’s Hornpipe’. The music is witty, surprising, virtuosic and fun, with unpredictable harmonies and occasional jazz influences. Unlike the famous Henry Wood arrangement, the Hornpipe theme is played at a fast tempo throughout, with rough energy and abandon.  


Duration: 7.5 mins


Instrumentation: violin solo, cello solo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, percussion (tambourine, whip, snare drum, triangle), strings


First performed 26th October 2018 at Maida Vale Studios, and then on a concert tour of China.

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank (violin) Benjamin Hughes (cello), BBC Concert Orchestra, Barry Wordsworth (conductor)


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