AWAY IN A MANGER FOR STRING TRIO
An arrangement for three Violins with optional Viola
Running time: 1 min 38
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Your download will contain the score and parts in PDF format and an audio file in MP3 format of a full performance of the piece, to aid rehearsal and preparation for performance!
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About the piece
'Away in a manger,
No crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus,
Laid down his sweet head'
There has been some confusion in the past over who wrote the words to ‘Away in a Manger’. Originally it was thought that it had been written by the German reformer Martin Luther, and that he had written it as a poem to read to his own children. It had been known as ‘Luther’s Cradle Song’.
But the feeling now is that the words first appeared in an Evangelical Lutheran Sunday school collection called ‘Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families’ in 1885 and that it had in fact been written for Martin Luther’s birthday.
The music I have arranged is a tune known as ‘Cradle Song’ and was originally composed by Jonathan Spilman in 1837. It was then adapted by an American composer called William Kirkpatrick who published it as the Christmas carol we know it today, in 1895.
There are so many arrangements available of this beautiful tune, I decided to arrange it for a slightly different ensemble and wrote it for three violins, with an alternative viola part which can replace the third violin. Of course, any number of violins can play this arrangement, it’s not just for three players.
The first violin part is pitched quite high, in the top first position octave and that is why I have graded it ‘Moderate’. Tuning in this register is always tricky and because this arrangement would benefit from being played with soul and expression, I felt that slightly more experienced and advanced beginners might find it easier.