“The idea behind arranging the carols on this disc was to capture the spirit of these memorable melodies whilst unlocking their musical potential. In each case (with the exception of the two Charpentier Noels), I have taken the single line melody as the starting point. All harmonisations and variations have been approached from scratch with many original counter melodies and other such material written as an extension to the original source. In this way, they are more ‘re-creations’ than ‘arrangements’ in the traditional sense.”
Vaughan Jones 2010
“Just to say how much we’ve enjoyed the CD. The arrangements and the playing are so fresh in amongst all the other Christmas music on the menu. We’ll certainly be keeping our ears open for more “Manor House” offerings…”¬†- Classic FM listener
“I heard a piece on Classic FM yesterday and thought it was so ebullient, sprightly and GOOD that I pulled the car over to write down your name before I forgot. I very rarely do that, so thank you very much and more power to your busy elbows!” – Classic FM listener
“…a release for all seasons, and one that is great fun too…” – Classical Source
“…the cd came to my attention at around 10.30pm the other evening when a track from it was played on Classic FM. I was bowled over!” – Classic FM listener
“It is superbly done…” – Music Web International
“…The playing is both lovely and spirited on the 23 selections, and the arrangements–all by violinist Vaughan Jones–take full advantage of the capabilities and sonorities of these very fancy wooden boxes with strings attached” – ‘Dr. Christmas’, Appleton Post Crescent
“The Manor House Quartet play with elegance and skill and the sprightly arrangements give a fresh charm to some of the season’s best-loved music – the perfect accompaniment to present wrapping or to wake up to on Christmas morning.” – New Classics
“this disc should definitely get it’s share of turns in your CD player this holiday season… Vaughan Jones (Violin), Louise Bevan (Violin), Adrian Smith (Viola) and Julia Graham (Cello) are all accomplished musicians and perform these seasonal tunes with the right blend of ensemble discipline and festive flair…” – Classical Music Sentinel
Vaughan Jones (Violin and Arranger)
Vaughan is a prolific string arranger who began learning the violin at the age of 8, going on to play with many of the leading London Orchestras before concentrating more fully on chamber music. Latterly he has studied with Hungarian violinist and teacher Kato Havas and plays on a modern hand made violin by luthier Martin McClean¬†of Northern Ireland. In 2008 he released a critically acclaimed disc of works for violin and viola by Spohr, Rolla and Kalliwoda with the violist Reiad Chibah (Manor House Music 001). He has been inspired to arrange string quartet Christmas carols after finding a lack of good quality arrangements were available.
Louise Bevan (Violin)
Louise also composes and arranges music alongside a busy career as a violinist working frequently with The Royal Shakespeare Company, the CBSO and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Louise plays on a modern violin, made in 1982 by luthier William Luff and has worked with several contemporary composers, touring extensively within the UK and abroad.
Adrian Smith (Viola)
As a soloist Adrian has performed much of the Viola repertoire including London performances of pieces such as the Bartok concerto and Hindemith Trauermusik while maintaining a busy life as a chamber musician. He has recently begun playing on a modern American Viola made in 2007 by Morell of New York City.
Julia Graham (Violoncello)
Having held positions with English National Opera, English Sinfonia and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, apart from playing with the quartet, Julia currently enjoys an active career as a freelance cellist – playing regularly with the English Chamber Orchestra and the London Chamber Orchestra amongst others. Julia is in demand as an orchestral and chamber musician, appearing on many classical and West End recordings. Julia’s cello is an instrument made in 1830 by William Booth.
The disc of classical Christmas carols was recorded in August 2010 at MBJ studios, with the help of engineer Ben Jones
Cover artwork and graphics for the disc are by Richard Bamsey