We Three Kings of Orient Are for String Quartet

We Three Kings of Orient Are for String Quartet – ‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’ is the second carol on the Manor House String Quartet‘s first disc of string quartet Christmas carol arrangements, entitled ‘I Saw Three Ships and other carols’. It’s a Christmas carol which first appeared in a book called ‘Carols, Hymns and Songs’ of 1863 – written by Reverend John Henry Hopkins Jr. It seems likely that this carol was actually written earlier in 1857 and it has endured in popularity to remain one of the most well loved pieces of Christmas music, performed every yuletide.

string quartet Christmas carol arrangements
The Manor House String Quartet in festive mood, performing a Christmas concert in Buckinghamshire

Violinist Vaughan Jones‘s arrangement for string quartet starts with a motif that is passed around the instruments and acts as a small introduction to the melody. When the tune does arrive, it has a flowing accompaniment that gives a sense of movement despite the slow, minor melody. When he began arranging this piece, there were several possibilities of how it could be brought to life for strings and he chose a more contemplative, gentler sound in slight contrast to the opening track ‘I Saw Three Ships’, which is more rousing in nature.

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

We Three Kings of Orient Are – Music Score