Piccolo (doubling flute), 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion (three players), celesta, harp, accordion, strings

Chanteys, a celebration of ships and the sea, was inspired by the 1976 gathering of tall windships from around the world in honor of the U.S. bicentennial. Supported by a grant from the NEA.

The piece consists of two movements. The first is a fantasy on the beautiful capstan chantey Lowlands, while the second introduces four short-drag chanteys, develops them independently, and then combines them in a quodlibet finale.

Composed: 1976, revised 1979
Duration: 12:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Study Score, 0278
Full score and parts available for rental.


The final program of the ASUC (American Society of University Composers) conference presented the LSU (Louisiana State University) Symphony Orchestra in a program as varied stylistically as any we could have heard that weekend…. The most convincing works of the concert, however, were a taut, angular oboe concerto by Ursula Mamlock and a remarkably eclectic, coloristic study by Ronald Perera called Chanteys — integrating folk melody, minimalist repetition, many unsettling dramatic thrusts, and a sure hand for orchestration (including, appropriately, an accordion) into a satisfying whole.

Musical America 7/83



Score Sample:

View Score

Audio Excerpt: