By the Blue Hawaiian Waters

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By the Blue Hawaiian Waters
Light music by Albert Ketèlbey
Key C major
Published 1927 (1927)
Scoring orchestra

By the Blue Hawaiian Waters is a piece of light classical music for orchestra by Albert Ketèlbey. He composed the "tone-picture" in 1927. The piece was published by Bosworth the same year.


Some of the music of By the Blue Hawaiian Waters had been incidental music in a play Ye Gods in 1916. Ketèlbey wrote the "tone-picture" in 1927. It was probably first performed in Harrogate the same year, and published that year, also in versions with piano.[1][2]

Theme and music[edit]

A synopsis of scenes by the composer mentions that after a short introduction and a vigorous hula dance, a lover plays his "native love-call", followed by the "Song of the Hula Girl".[2] The work is concluded by a lively dance at a betrothal ceremony.[2]

The piece in C major and common time is marked Allegretto dolce (with flowing movement).[3] The melody of the love-call is played by the clarinet.[2]

In 1929, it was recorded, conducted by the composer.[4] He made only minor cuts, and added a Hawaiian guitar, played by Len Fellis, "a star of many a dance band".[5] Ketèlbey replaced the clarinet by an alto saxophone for the love-call, making it "one of the earliest recordings of a standard orchestra to include a saxophone".[2] It was reissued in 2002 in a collection of his light music.[6] A review notes that the work "treads a dangerous and ultimately unsuccessfully schizophrenic path between the hula and urbane romanticism."[5]

A recording with Frieder Weissmann (de) conducting the Berliner Symphoniker, possibly in March 1931, also used the saxophone and Hawaiian guitar, but additionally gong, xylophone and a men's chorus singing without words, because it was coupled with In a Chinese Temple Garden which requires the larger ensemble.[2]


  1. ^ McCanna, Tom. "Works for orchestra". Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f McCanna, Tom. "By the Blue Hawaiian Waters". Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  3. ^ By the Blue Hawaiian Waters. Bosworth. 1927. 
  4. ^ Manheim, James. "Albert Ketelbey: In a Monastery Garden; In a Chinese Temple Garden; Sanctuary of the Heart; Will You Forgive? / By the Blue Hawaiian Waters, Tone Picture". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Woolf, Jonathan (2003). "British Light Music / Albert Ketèlbey (1875–1959) / In a Monastery Garden". Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ketelbey: In a Monastery Garden (Ketelbey) (1924–1932)". Naxos. 2002. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 

External links[edit]