‘Don Oiche Ud I Mbeithil’ (‘That Night in Bethlehem’) for String Quartet – This ancient Irish carol is loosely translated from its original Gaelic as ‘That Night in Bethlehem’. The words tell the nativity story – speaking of the events on the night of Jesus’s birth and end with a message of peace from the angels. In Ireland, there remains a tradition of leaving a lit candle in the window on Christmas Eve, in symbolic welcome of the holy family.
The arrangement by Vaughan Jones on the Manor House String Quartet‘s disc entitled ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and other carols’ has much original material in it¬†and starts with a¬†rising arpeggio figure which¬†lends it¬†a lilting feel. I’ve tried to capture an Irish folk feeling so many of the notes are bent upwards in a traditional way. The whole carol has a warmth and insistence about it which builds into a rousing end section nonetheless it finishes with a gentle resolution. You can hear a sound sample of this carol by clicking on the above link ‘It Came Upon The Midnight Clear…’.
You can also purchase the sheet music of Vaughan’s arrangement for the combinations of string quartet and string orchestra here: