‘O Tannenbaum’ is a beautiful Christmas carol from Germany which is included on the Manor House String Quartet‘s second album of Christmas Carols entitled ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’ and although it is often translated as ‘O Christmas Tree’ a more accurate rendition of the title would be ‘O Fir Tree’ (you can hear a sample of us playing this by clicking on the link). This evergreen tree has inspired many songs in Germany and it seems that this particular version was written in 1824 by Ernst Anschutz, an organist, composer and teacher from Leipzig. The words are an ode of appreciation to this tree, ending with the words ‘O fir tree, O fir tree, You fill my heart with music’.
In this version for string quartet the arranger Vaughan Jones tried to conjure up a feeling of close harmony singing with a warmth and restraint that would allow the melody to speak for itself.
You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here: