A son of a Gambolier

 

 

A son of a Gambolier - (2008)   

Charles E. Ives

for baritone and piano


 

Come join my humble ditty,
From Tippery town I steer,
Like ev'ry honest fellow,
I take my lager beer,
Like ev'ry honest fellow,
I take my whiskey clear.
I'm a rambling rake of poverty,
And a son of a Gambolier.

I wish I had a barrel of rum,
And sugar three hundred pound,
The college bell to mix it in,
The clapper to stir it round;
I'd drink the health of dear old Yale,
And friends both far and near.
I'm a rambling rake of poverty,
And a son of a Gambolier.

[ 3 pages, circa 1' 15" ]


Charles E. Ives

 

This text was noted as by Ives, but his source for the lyrics come from an old English and Scottish drinking song of the same name. It was intended once as a lament to one's own poverty, the character of the gambolier being "a worthless individual given to carousing, gambling, and general moral depravity." The song lyrics became reasonably popular in the 1800s to several musical settings at the end of the nineteenth century, and finds its way in newer versions to even being the the fight song of the Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, as one example of several.

 

 

The setting is simply a wrong-note piece, in which the right hand and vocal line exist in a solid G flat major, while the left hand rests mostly on the white keys with the small exception of D flat for cadential purposes. As the coincidence of naturals against flats in close proximity would have necessitated many accidentals anyway, I chose to leave the key signature essentially blank and note all the accidentals throughout. The tessitura lies in the upper range of the baritone voice and the setting is meant to be a bawdy sing-song affair for both singer and pianist.

 

 

 

 

The score for A son of a Gambolier is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.

 

A son of a Gambolier