O Come, All Ye Faithful for String Quartet – ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ appears on the Manor House String Quartet‘s first album of string quartet Christmas Carols, entitled ‘I Saw Three Ships and other carols’ and was arranged by Vaughan Jones, one of the violin players on the recording. Also known as ‘Adeste Fidelis’, this is one of the most recognisable carols of them all and dates back to the 18th century. The music was thought to be written by John Reading in the early 1700s with the words written by John Francis Wade in 1751 (published in a collection called ‘Cantus Diversi’).
As ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ is so well known it was good to inject a little freshness into it by giving it a witty and lively rendition. This was achieved by allowing the second statement of the theme to have all the parts in a sprightly pizzicato before a virtuosic variation given by the first violin. The violist Adrian joked that it was almost as if Ernst had written a ‘Variation on O Come All Ye Faithful’ and he had a point!
When we played it recently at a church concert it put a smile on a few faces with members of the audience citing it as their favourite string quartet carol of the evening!
You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here: