This suite of folk songs is scored for woodwind quartet and a single unpitched drum. Although the nominal scoring is for flute, two clarinets, and bassoon, the piece has considerable inbuilt flexibility of scoring.
The options for instruments on each part are as follows:
Part 1: Flute, oboe, or soprano saxophone
Part 2: Bb Clarinet or alto saxophone
Part 3: Bb clarinet, alto saxophone, or tenor saxophone
Part 4: Bassoon, bass clarinet, or baritone saxophone
The piece may be played by any combination of these instruments. Where necessary, some passages have been transposed down an octave in the soprano, alto, and tenor saxophone parts. Where this occurs, the lower pitch is also included in the score. There are also a few notes in the bass clarinet part of the March which have been taken up the octave through necessity; similarly, this is indicated in the score.
The drum should be unsnared and of medium low pitch. A bodhran, tenor drum, low tom-tom or floor tom are suggested, although in the end it is up to the performer!
The folk songs used in the piece are not particularly well known these days. "Gan to the Kye" is an example of the rich culture of traditional music from Northumbria. The title means "Go to the cows", and is a love song in which the herdsman asks his lover (in a gesture possibly lacking somewhat in romance) to accompany him whilst he tends his herd of cattle.
The second movement is a setting of "Rosemary Lane", a beautiful Somerset song. It tells of a serving girl ill-used by a sailor; as so often in traditional music, the beauty of the tune is quite at odds with the unpleasant circumstances related.
"Gently Johnny" is a good-humoured song in which the enthusiastic suitor is teased by the object of his affections: he is asked to cool his ardour whilst at the same time being left in no doubt that his attentions may be as bold as he wishes! The middle section uses another song, this time from Middlesex, called "Jack Williams".
Individual parts for all Spartan Press ensembles are available separately, quickly and inexpensively. DO NOT PHOTOCOPY.