Past Three O’ Clock For String Quartet

By vaughan • 25th November 2011 • Posted in: Manor House Music Recordings

This melody works perfectly in the Manor House String Quartet‘s rendition on their second album of Christmas Carols ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’. The words to this splendid Christmas carol were written by George Ratcliffe Woodward for the ‘Cambridge carol book’ of 1924. He based them on the cry of the city night watchman and added them to an existing refrain that has it’s origins in Playford’s ‘Dancing Master’ of the 17th century. The tune is a traditional melody named ‘London Waits’ , the ‘waits’ being musicians who oftened performed at night for gifts and charitable donations. One critical observer from 1837 wrote: ‘These are a set of men that goe about the streets playing musick in the night after people are in bed and a sleepe. Some people are very fond of hearing them, but for my own part, I don’t admire being aroused from a sound sleep by a whole band of musick and perhaps not get to sleep again for an houre or two’.

The carol is unusual in that it begins with the refrain; here, in an arrangement by Vaughan Jones it is given a very staccato feel before giving way to a more languid verse. The instrumentation varies with each rendition before a fragment of the theme in canon leads to a rousing ending!



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About Manor House Music

Manor House Music is a wedding string quartet and duo consisting of some of the UK’s finest musicians. Founded in 2005, and based on the borders of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, we’ve now performed for over 800 weddings, corporate events and private functions. We combine a high quality of musical performance with a large repertoire of dynamic arrangements and a desire to work closely with clients to ensure that every detail is just right for your event.



Tel: 07870 171194