With her use of English folksongs, nursery rhymes, quotations from Beethoven’s fifth symphony, and a rewriting of her own March for Women, it is no wonder that Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate achieved such immediate popularity. First performed in 1916, highlight recordings were released as early as 1917 by music giant HMV.
In contrast to The Wreckers, with its sweeping Romantic score and desperate lovers, The Boatswain’s Mate is a farcical comedy for a small cast and male chorus. The original scoring is for a large orchestra, but Smyth wrote a reduced version to suit chamber orchestras,
The Boatswain's Mate guide sections