Shakespeare’s Carol for String Quartet

By vaughan • 29th November 2011 • Posted in: Manor House Music Recordings

Shakespeare’s Carol for String Quartet – The Manor House String Quartet‘s second CD of Christmas carols for string quartet (entitled ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’) included a few rewarding rarities. The intriguingly named ‘Shakespeare’s Carol’ by the 18th century English composer Thomas Arne (1710 – 1778) is one such curiosity, being one of the songs written by Arne as incidental music for the Shakespeare play ‘As You Like It’. Like his other famous songs ‘Rule Britannia’ (from ‘The Masque of Althred’) and ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ (also from ‘As You Like It’) it is characterised by an extensive melody which is nonetheless made up of short phrases. It’s a distinctive tune which also has a faintly patriotic feel to it, yet the words are more concerned with inclement weather: ‘Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind – Thou art not so unkind, As man’s ingratitude’.

The arrangement on this disc by violinist Vaughan Jones remains faithful to the original and has two verses (you can listen to a sample of it by clicking on the link ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear’ above). It’s inclusion (amongst better known carols) will hopefully help it to be appreciated as a worthy Christmas carol in it’s own right!

You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here:

Shakespeare’s Carol – Music Score



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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. Based on the borders of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, we’ve now performed for over 800 weddings, corporate events and private functions all over the South East and Midlands. Available to play in Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Essex, Greater London, Hampshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and beyond.


Manor House Music

Tel: 07870 171194