Carol of the Bells for String Quartet

Carol Of The Bells for String Quartet – The Manor House String Quartet included an arrangement by Vaughan Jones of the ‘Carol of the Bells’ on their second CD of string quartet Christmas carols called ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’. This increasingly popular carol was written by a Ukranian composer called Mykola Leontovych in 1904 – like many carols, it has it’s origins in a traditional folk melody. The lyrics ‘Ring Christmas bells’ etc were added in 1947 and although Leontovych himself was shot dead in 1921, this piece has grown in worldwide popularity to become a mainstay of Christmas music.

In arranging the piece for part of a collection of carols for string quartet, one challenge was to keep the repeating figure fresh as the absense of words means that interest and texture has to be maintained and developed through the orchestration.
In the middle of the carol, I have written a violin solo in a Ukrainian folk fiddle style, to take the piece back to it’s roots. It’s a dramatic piece that comes towards the end of the album and is placed between two more contemplative carols to add contrast.

You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here:

Carol of the Bells – Music Score