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Malvina and other English songs View larger

Malvina and other English songs


Orpheus Music


Composer: Thorn - Benjamin

Instrumentation: 2 Descants - Treble - Tenor - Bass

Period/genre: Australian Contemporary

Grade: Easy - Moderate

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*Contemporary Pieces.* Three English Folksongs in attractive arrangements. First descant part uses five notes.

1. Malvina
2. Drive away the cold
3. The four seasons

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_Score 8 pp. Parts 4 pp. Downloadable PDF file._

  • Reviews
  • Audio Sample
  • Benjamin Thorn
    Malvina and other English Songs
    For massed recorders SSATB
    Orpheus Music, OMP 197
    One of the problems of finding music for a mixed ability group of players is that the less experienced players usually only play descant, and often the descant part is not the easiest part. Benjamin Thorn has solved this by writing two descant parts in his arrangement of 'Three English Songs'. The first descant part only uses left-hand notes, but cleverly always plays the melody, whilst the second descant part is really the principal descant part.
    The three songs in this set of arrangements are not known to me, but the beauty of folk songs is that they have survived because they have some sort of universal appeal. The first song in the set, 'Malvina', is in the simple key of G major and in a straight forward 4/4 time. The first descant plays the melody  supported by the second descant, which as the piece progresses begins to elaborate it. The lower parts get some rhythmic interest as the melody is repeated. The second song, Drive Away the Cold', had to be played 'slowly and frostily'. This melody is in 6/8. Here again the first descant part is assisted by the second descant part at the beginning, but increasingly has to stand on its own as the second descant joins the accompaniment. The first descant also has some practice at counting rests in this song The Four Seasons' is the third folk song in the set. Again, this is a song that only uses the left hand notes of the descant, so the first descants can play the melody throughout. It is a lively 6/8 tune in G major, but enthusiastic first descant players would soon learn to play it up to speed.

    The bass part in this arrangement is not very demanding and could be tackled by beginner bass players, but there is some interest in the inner parts although all the rhythms are straightforward. I am sure that these arrangements will be useful for mixed ability groups and that the players will enjoy playing them.

    Janice Ormerod Recorder Mail Summer 2009 p.73.

    1. Malvina 

    2. Drive away the cold 

    3. The four seasons

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