I Saw Three Ships
- Composer: Traditional English
- Arranger: Edward Henderson
- Publisher: Cypress Choral Music
- Cat No: CP 1097
- Canadian Composition: Yes
- Duration: 2:52
- Sample Track:
This classic carol from the British Isles combines the fire of a Celtic jig with a choir of angels. Sometimes the choir is singing ‘call and answer’ and at other times imitating cascading bells – all the while the accompaniment is cooking along with its joyful Celtic-drive – great fun!
SSAA and piano. This is a spirited and very successful arrangement of a sprightly traditional English carol. Vancouver composer and arranger, Edward Henderson, has made this piece available in two voicings (SSAA and SATB) and with several choices for accompaniment. The published version, and the one on Elektra’s “Child of Grace” recording, is for SSAA choir with piano. (If you have “world” instruments available, I suggest you contact Ed Henderson directly about the options for alternate accompaniments. Check out the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s SATB recordings as well). For the published SSAA arrangement, you will need an accomplished pianist, but they will probably love digging into something not so sweet and slow in a Christmas program! For most of the piece, the choir parts are not too difficult and sing well. Be prepared to invest some time getting the choir to understand and then relax on an unexpected rhythmic challenge that pervades the arrangement – a bar of 3/4 that shakes up the traditional 6/8 melody in each phrase. If your choir can master that, they are well on their way. Henderson has also created some building “bell sound” chords in a couple of spots, that also demand confident singers who can find their note and tuck it in neatly in a very fast tempo. Our singers and audiences all love this arrangement!
November 2011 update: Because we were performing this work in a concert with string quartet, Ed provided a version of the accompaniment that includes quartet while still relying principally on the piano to deliver the drive and rhythm for this piece. If you would like to consider performing it this way, please contact Ed directly.
Composer / Arranger Notes:
This classic carol from the British Isles combines the fire of a Celtic jig with a choir of angels. Sometimes the choir is singing ‘call and answer’ and at other times imitating cascading bells – all he while the accompaniment is cooking aong with its joyful celtic-drive – great fun!
This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.