Joy To The World for String Quartet – The third carol on the Manor House String Quartet‘s second disc of Christmas Carols ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’ is a bit of a curiosity. I had always assumed that this universally loved Christmas song was written by George Frideric Handel. It contains many of his traits with more than a touch of the ‘Messiah’ about it and yet it is a pastiche concocted by the 19th century American hymn writer Lowell Mason in 1839 (you can hear us playing a sample of it by clicking the link above).
This quartet version arranged by violinist Vaughan Jones is generally faithful to the original, however it is given a ‘lift’ by the addition of an energetic semiquaver countermelody as well as ornamentation which hopefully enhances the tune’s joyful qualities!
After the ‘Sussex Carol’ and ‘Il Est Ne, le Divin Enfant’ this completes an opening trio of lively Christmas carols which make up the beginning of our second string quartet Christmas CD.
You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here: