It Came Upon The Midnight Clear…..
The fourth carol on the album ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’ is the title track itself. The words of this carol were written in 1849 by the Unitarian minister Edmund Sears from Massachusetts and these words spawned two separate melodies. In the United States it is widely known set to a tune called ‘Carol’ written in 1850 by Richard Storrs Willis which is in 6/8 time and has the quality of a lullaby. In England it is better known by the tune ’Noel’ which Arthur Sullivan arranged in 1874 and this is the version used on our disc.
It is a peaceful melody that evokes a starry sky and I was careful to try to bring out it’s radiance allowing the sonority of the string quartet to illuminate the harmonies. The first and second halves of the melody are given contrast between a legato feel and a slightly more articulated one, but apart from this the melody is allowed to emerge without much embellishment …and a lovely melody it is too!