Il est Ne le Divin Enfant for String Quartet – This popular French melody is the second carol on the Manor House String Quartet‘s second disc entitled ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’ (click on the link to hear a sound sample of the quartet playing it). It has a lively dance-like feel mixed with an elegance that makes it sound just as fresh for a string quartet as a choir. It has a two in a bar feel and my old music master Bill Llewellyn fancied that it would work equally well as a Gavotte.
This arrangement by violinist Vaughan Jones starts with a downward ripple of pizzicato which leads to the tune on the viola. Soon the mood turns slightly more jaunty when the second violin takes the theme, before the fanfare like quality of this carol becomes evident in the ornamentation offered by the first violin. All in all this is an uplifting rendition of a popular carol and makes an upbeat second track on this disc!
You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here: