To Drive The Cold Winter Away For String Quartet – This wonderfully evocative melody appears in an arrangement by Vaughan Jones on the Manor House String Quartet‘s second compilation of string quartet Christmas Carols entitled ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’. is also known as ‘In Praise of Christmas’ or ‘The Praise of Christmas’.¬† A version of this song dating from the early 17th century¬†has the interesting title of¬†’A Pleasant Country New Ditty: Merrily Shewing How to Drive the Cold Winter Away’.¬† The song¬†is also included in that classic collection of¬† folk music called¬†Playford’s ‘The English Dancing Master’ of 1651 .
The tune of this carol is so strong that it was a joy to arrange. It’s strong harmonic basis¬†meant that additional passages could be seamlessly connected to it to create a rounded whole and there¬†is much scope for florid instrumentation. ‘To Drive The Cold Winter Away’ certainly is a gem that deserves to be heard much more often and makes a lovely addition to any String Quartet Christmas music¬†collection.
You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here: