Ye Olde Carol-Singers' Compendium - Once in Royal David's City

By: H. J. Gauntlett
For: Wind quartet
page one of Ye Olde Carol-Singers' Compendium - Once in Royal David's City

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Composer
H. J. Gauntlett
Arranger
Year of arrangement
2002
Lyricist
none
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
1 minute
Genre
Other
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

The first of a set of ten traditional carols and Christmas music arranged for two flutes, clarinet and alto saxophone under the general title "Ye Olde Carol-Singers' Compendium". This collection came into being when our daughters and their schoolfriends went carolling around a small village in Lancashire. The arrangements sought to give them each an interesting part, without making too many technical demands.

Some practical points for performance:

  • Each arrangement has a brief lead-in to ensure the singers come in together, on time and in key.
  • The arrangements are designed to accompany at least two verses of each carol – if the group wishes to sing and play succeeding verses, agree this beforehand or utter chaos will reign…..
  • Plasticizing the pages is a sensible precaution against the music dissolving in the rain!
  • Test your lighting and music stands before you start – reading sheet music by street lamps in the wind and rain is an acquired skill.
  • The alto sax can easily dominate the group. The player should be placed towards the back of the quartet and take care to follow the dynamic markings.
  • Tuning alters dramatically with changes in temperature - if invited indoors (as our groups often were), a quick check before launching into the next carol can avoid a disastrous lurch into bitonality!
  • Pubs, nursing homes and retirement accommodation usually extend a warm welcome to carol-singers but do contact them beforehand to get permission and fix a date and time. With luck, they may have mince pies and mulled wine waiting!!
  • Finally, I’ve included 8 bars of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in the set to round off each visit on a suitably high note.

I hope these arrangements help promote and preserve the ancient and joyous tradition of neighbourhood carol-singing.

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