Christmas on The Downs (Clarinet Choir)

By: Traditional arranged Alun Cook
For: Clarinet choir
page one of Christmas on The Downs (Clarinet Choir)

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Traditional arranged Alun Cook
Alun Cook
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
5 minutes
Modern classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

(Scored for a minimum of 7 Bbs and 2 Bass Clarinets. Full scoring is for 1 Eb, 5 Bb, 1 Alto, 2 Basses, 1 Contra Alto and 1 Contra Bass. The Eb and Alto parts are covered by alternative Bb parts, and the Contras are optional)

This medley takes four traditional carols and adds a little modern Christmas spice.

In Sussex, a county on the south coast of England, the magnificent chalk cliffs named "The Seven Sisters" provide wonderful views of any approaching ships, although on Christmas Day in the morning one might hope that the sailors were all safely tucked up in bed. The words of "I Saw Three Ships" are from the 17th Century and as they claim to see ships sailing into Bethlehem, seeing them from the Sussex cliffs seems just as likely.

"Mummers" were seasonal plays performed by amateur actors and the Sussex Mummers' Carol has ancient origins but is now most usually heard in a gloriously rich instrumental version by Percy Grainger.

The melody of "The Sussex Carol" (On Christmas Night all Christians Sing) was noted down by Ralph Vaughan Williams (a notable collector of folk-songs) in Horsham in the 1900's but its origins are thought to be from the 17th Century.

All "Wassailing" involves singing and most probably involves drinking copious quantities of "Cider". The southern counties are home to cider orchards where the traditional ritual of "Wassailing" celebrated the apple harvest and the hopes for the coming year's crop. It also came to mean going from door to door singing carols. "Waes Hael" comes from the Anglo-Saxon and translates as "are you well" or "be thou hail".

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