Gaudete for String Quartet – ‘Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus Est Natus’ is included on ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’ (click on the link to hear us playing a sample from it), the second CD of string quartet Christmas Carols from the Manor House String Quartet. It is another melody that appeared in the celebrated collection of sacred songs¬†of 1582 ¬†entitled ‘Piae Cantiones’. The manuscript does not contain any melody for the verses and the standard version comes from other liturgical sources. The folk rock outfit ‘Steeleye Span’ did it a huge service by releasing a version in 1973 that appeared in the British charts – their version is sung with a distinct authenticity which captures the medieval flavour perfectly.
Our version (arranged by violinist Vaughan Jones) tried to evoke a¬†feeling of being played¬†by a¬†consort of viols and the harmonisation was based on the original descant, alto, tenor and bass parts which appeared in the 1582¬†manuscript. ‘Gaudete’ provides a welcome contrast as it’s peculiarly Medieval feeling remains intact.
You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here: