Señoras by Dan Jenkins was commissioned by Bones Apart in 2010 and is a set of variations on the sea song 'The Spanish Ladies'.
Dan writes; "Spanish Ladies is a well-known sea shanty that has versions all over the world. In Australia it is known as Brisbane Ladies; the American version sung in the film ‘Jaws’ is called Yankee Whalermen, and Canadians call it Rant and Roar. Being a hardy old sailing song, it is robust and in a minor key, yet when Henry Wood came to include it, as a trombone quartet, in his Fantasia on British Sea Songs, his beautiful arrangement is in the major.
This is a Theme and Variations, and incorporates both versions of the tune. The piece is bound together by fanfares, which link up the variations and introduce various characters along the way.
We set sail with Fanfare 1; the Ladies flutter their eyelashes and a virile Don Juan (whose main interest was Spanish Ladies, after all) appears almost immediately, the Ladies giggle and scatter. He insists, but the Ladies are not to be trifled with, at this stage anyway, and a Straussian cadence leads to the Theme. This is the major Henry Wood tune, and is simply played very quietly, with a barely-audible echo up in the crow’s nest.
Then we’re off into Variation 1, a Polka. This is basically the theme upside down, with a dance-like feel. We’re soon into a much mellower Habañera, before the second Fanfare bursts in. Don Quixote’s sidekick Sancho Panza waddles along, and his heroine Dulcinea gets a bit soppy. We zoom off again, this time to a Zortziko, a Spanish dance form in 5/4. This builds to a lively crescendo before dipping and leading directly into the Solenelle, Variation 4. This is the minor theme but I’ve given it Henry Wood-like treatment. At the end of this, the Ladies slip into murky waters, adrift on the high seas perhaps.
They’re rescued by Fanfare 3, Don Juan is still there, and getting more insistent. But his passion is confused and diffused by a spooky slow Variation 5, called Muerte Blues. This mood gets more dramatic before giving way to the final Tarantella, in which all sorts of Spanish references come and go, and the piece ends with a final burst of the Fanfare.”
This is a fantastic addition to the trombone quartet repertoire and we are very proud to have commissioned it from Dan. We hope you enjoy playing it as much as we do!
Difficulty level: Advanced
Duration: 10 minutes